Fed is Best!

Note: I started writing this awhile ago and honestly forgot about it, but in light of the recent story about the new mom who ended her life because of the pressure she felt to breastfeed, I decided I should actually finish and publish this one. Remember, if you are feeling the stress as a new mom to do what society dictates, that at the end of the day, FED IS BEST! Whether breast, formula, pump, however you can nourish your child without causing stress is the best way for you! I’m always here to talk too. Just send me a message if you feel there’s nowhere else to turn! I’ve done it all! 

~K


My take on the ‘normalize breastfeeding’ viral photo trend comes with a bottle. Why, you ask? Read on! 
 I’m sure I’ve already written it somewhere in a previous post, but in case I haven’t, I am an exclusive pumper (‘EP’er). This means that to nourish my child, my handy dandy breast pumps and I set to work to prep bottles for a ravenous little mouth.  Double, triple (quadruple?) the work…remove milk, put into bottles, sterilize pump parts, feed baby, sterilize bottles, repeat. Crazy as it sounds, this is what has decidedly works best in our house.

This crazy notion was certainly never my first choice (for any of the three kiddos). I was able to breastfeed our first for a few months until he refused…so I pumped and supplemented with formula when needed. Baby Bird was the laziest feeder ever so I pumped…up to 60oz a day and we donated unused milk to 9 other babies in need. Sprout started out so well but refused since she constantly choked due to crazy flow, so I pumped…this time maxing out at 120 oz every day. I donated to 5 other littles this time too and our freezer is full! This amounts to a collective 30+ months of being attached to my pump at the….well.


Baby bird  and ‘her pump’. She and her siblings have learned great patience with my pumping. Up to 4 hours a day is devoted to pumping activities.

It is  very real part of motherhood (at least in Canada) to feel the pressure to breastfeed. And rightfully so with all of the research hailing the benefits. I looked into everything before Moose was born, planning to EBF. There are supports in place, workshops, support groups, meetings, books, blogs, websites all hailing the importance of breastfeeding. But all of these groups focus on the au naturale version. I’ve tried to fit in with these groups, often greeted with looks of pity or or confusion.  Why wouldn’t I just naturally breastfeed my child? Wow, I must be crazy to pump for that long! Which formula do you supplement with? Maybe I should just try again, that I did a…b…c…. wrong the first thousand times I tried. No thanks. I don’t need to be greeted with the pity party. I’ll just lock myself away and pump over here, thanks. 

On that note, the HUGE normalize breastfeeding campaign that has taken the world and my social media feeds by storm, while well-intended, is a constant reminder to ‘other’ feeders, that they are considered second-rate. Or, it really comes off that way anyway. Formula feeders are generally accepted in public (aside from the similar pity looks). There are super cool gadgets for formula now and if you are out in public and you have to mix a bottle of formula? No problem. If you have to breastfeed in public? There is some backlash but that becoming less and less. No problem.  Is it considered normal or natural or acceptable for me to whip out my pump at the park? At a restaurant? Not on your life. Guess what? The lonely pumper is still sitting in a bathroom stall with a bag of sterilized gear if stuck out in public for an extended period of time. We are left sitting in vehicles while the rest of the family enjoys their time at the park. We are forced to excuse ourselves from events to take care of business Does anyone make a fuss or create positive memes about pumpers? Nope!  Not that I’m saying I really want to be all strapped in while at a formal event, but still. As well, workplaces are required to provide a place for breastfeeding moms to pump at work. Cool. I’m an elementary school teacher. Extra places to do such activities are pretty darned hard to come by, so I hide in my vehicle at recess. Good times. Glamorous even! 


If you are looking for a great on-the-go, supplemental pump, this little jobbie is fantastic! Wish I’d have found it years ago!

There are support groups, mail-in coupon programs, websites, even programs where special gifts are given for baby age milestones for formula feeders as well. It’s been tempting, especially this time with three littles needing my attention, to jump on the formula bandwagon, but since my body is still working to create ‘liquid gold’, and frankly, I’d rather not add the expense of formula to our budget, I’ve continued on.  Even my husband has asked why I don’t just quit. Anyone who has been down this road knows that cold turkey quitting isn’t really a good option, unless mastitis and blocked ducts sounds fun to you! No? I agree.


Fed is best, folks. Fed. Is. Best. 

I am supportive of every type of feeding. Feed your kids! That’s all! Do whatever is best for your family with no judgement! You don’t need to pity someone else for their feeding situation. Perhaps it was a choice they’ve made primarily without it being a last resort! Perhaps not! We are feeding our kids. Babies are growing and developing. Breastfed and bottle fed kids will grow up to be friends, do the same activities and reach milestones. You are doing what’s best for you! Take care of yourself! If you need support, whether breast, pump, formula feeding, I’m here in this venue! I will not judge, won’t give advice if you don’t want it, but I promise to listen! We all need support! I’m here for you!

~K

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I will always read to you.


We are a household of readers. We enjoy books; in fact, we have a pretty impressive collection of many genres that adorn shelves, baskets, magazine holders, totes and boxes around our house. I married a reader whose collection of series of novels would rival some of the local smaller libraries. We read to our kids before they were born. Storytime is a pivotal part of their bedtime routine and has been since our oldest came home from the hospital.

We visit bookstores, book sales, libraries (let’s end our local library strike!!!) as a family, and we always are able to find something new to enjoy. And we ALWAYS make time for reading.


Sharing one of his favourites with his little sister.

We’ve made an outdoor reading nook, Baby Bird has a little castle tent in her room that she’s converted to her ‘reading area’ (she’s 2), we make pillow forts for sharing books inside. And we never say no to reading to our kids. Never.


Outdoor reading nook.

It doesn’t matter what’s happening, (save for mealtimes and the middle of the night) if someone asks to be read to, we will oblige. We make sure that one of us is available at all times from after school until bedtime. Nothing connects us as a family more than sharing in a good book with each other. I’m already dreading the day that they will want to read their own books to themselves, by themselves. 

I’ve been asked so many times how we incorporate reading into everyday life with kids, outside of a formal story/reading time. I initially didn’t have a response since it’s just kind of how we live but once I actually thought about it, we kind of do reading things all the time! Here are but a few!

When we go out, we are reading. We play word games to pass the time at restaurants with menus (who can find the word ‘eggs’ first? Who can see an uppercase J? Et cetera). We spell words using Cheerios, sugar packets, crayons on the backs of kids menus, whatever we can get our hands on.

We compare prices on signs in stores, we read street signs, we have scavenger hunts during walks or shopping trips. We make reading a game, almost always.

While waiting at the dentist or doctor’s office, we write messages to each other on paper or the iPad. We search for sight words in magazines. We do MadLibs. We LOVE MadLibs! 


MadLibs on the iPad. Ridiculous reading fun!

When we go grocery shopping with the kids, the asking for frivolous things is brought to a minimum by only allowing things on the list we make to be purchased. If they want something, they need to put it on the list before we leave the house. 

We read books with silly words, books that use words like ‘fart’ and ‘stupid’. Always a big hit!

 

Little boys love their potty humour! Haha!

Now that our oldest is 5, he’s a pretty great reader. He loves reading to his sisters and will drop everything if they ask for a story. It’s one of those things that make a Momma swoon. I can only hope this continues. He’s already asked if he can be the one to read his sisters their bedtime stories now. Absolutely, buddy! 


Bedtime reading that makes this Mum’s heart skip a beat.

Reading is, quite literally, everywhere. It is engrained in our world. For some, reading is a daunting task but if you turn anything into a game, even struggling readers will be more interested! We have tested out some amazing apps that showcase reading at different levels and they can be an incredible tool also! The Endless Reader app, for example, taught our oldest, then 2, to read all of his basic sight words! We were amazed! You never know what you might find!

Let me know in the comments how you use simple fun activities to incorporate reading into your lives. I love to hear new fun ideas to try with our troupe! 

K.

A Crunchy Traditional Helicopter? Insert Label Here.


I’m not really into labels. I’ve never been one to fit into one particular group. In school, I was never popular, a jock, a nerd (ok I was but in my own way so I still didn’t fit into that group), part of the artsy crowd, a brown-noser, or whatever other crowds we were lumped into. I’ve always liked being my own group and I’m starting to see the same traits forming in my own kids, which (in a way) is kinda great.

But who was to know that when I had my first child, I needed to become a member of one of the coveted Mamma labels…was  I going to be a traditional Mum? Perhaps a crunchy Mum? A (heaven forbid) helicopter or tiger Mum? Attachment Mum? Free-range Mum? I didn’t realize this was the expectation and once again, I find myself a outsider, dabbling in each group, dipping a toe into the World of one group with one child, disregarding that same group with the next child. Parenting is crazy.

Do we cloth diaper? Yes. Do we use disposables? Yes. Do I breastfeed? Kind of. (Exclusive Pumping Insanity over he-ere!) Do I formula feed? I’m not against it. Do I follow my kids at the playground? When they go through scary-walk-off-the-top-of-the-giant-playstructure phases, absolutely (ahem, looking at you, Baby Bird)! Do I let them solve their own problems? Yes. Do I step in to help when I see frustration levels escalating and I know we won’t make it out the door, like ever, otherwise? For sure. Do I cook homemade from-scratch meals and snacks? Yes. Do we indulge in the occasional pizza or fish sticks? Yup! Am I a Pinterest/Bento Box Mum? Yes. Have I had my fair share of Pinterest fails? Unfortunately 😜. Do I love my children unconditionally and will I do everything in my power to prepare them for the real world and mold them into decent human beings? Ummm, rhetorical much?

Do I do everything in my power to ensure my family is as well-rounded and happy as I can make it? Of course. And I’m pretty positive every other parent does too in the best way they see fit. Do other parents adhere to one specific label? Maybe, but I’d like to bet that most parents are a little bit of different groups, because unlike those clique-y highschool groups, parenting is an ever-changing adventure. 

Know that just because you may not ‘fit’ into one group or another, I’m sure you are still doing a bang-up job. Even though you may have to adapt your strategies many times along the way, through ‘phases’, between kids (again, looking your way, Baby Bird!), and as your kids grow, it’ll all work out. Parents do everything they feel they can for their kids. I know I do, I know YOU do. 

Let’s all enjoy a pat on the back and an indulgence of your choice for the stellar job we are all doing. Our kids will be raised in different ways, will belong to different groups, will carry different labels, or perhaps they won’t. Some will get along and others will not. Some will be leaders, some followers. Keep on doing what you’re doing. You know what’s best for your family. I’m rooting for you! I’m hoping you’re rooting for me too. Every one will be a shining light in the world in their own way. That’s life. It’s a beautiful thing. 

K.