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! 


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!



Something Old…

When you think about it…I mean really think about it, how many times does a child wear a particular outfit? Play with that gotta-have-it toy? If you have kids and your house is anything like our land of chaos, the answer is, undoubtedly, ‘not much’. They may have a favourite shirt or hoodie that sees a bit more skin time but the vast majority of clothes are outgrown before they are really worn to their full potential. Hand-me-downs sometimes work but not always. And to go buy new clothes when they’ve outgrown their new-school-year wardrobe in just over a month, can get pricey! 
No. Thank. You. 
We are a very environmentally conscious family for the most part, so any chance to repurpose perfectly good old stuff is pretty much what we do, including what we wear!  It’s also very safe to say that you could consider me a ‘thrifty’ shopper (read: I’m a big cheapskate). You will rarely find our family in a mainstream store to purchase something new. In fact, thinking about it, every item of clothing that is being worn by a person in our quiet, sleep-dust-filled house right now has either been handed down from friends, thrifted or gifted. The only ‘new’ clothes you could find in our house are those bought by my Mom for the kiddos during special one-on-one shopping days. (Thanks Memaw!)

Moose and Bird with Memaw…99% thrifted outfits for family photos!

If you aren’t a thrifter, I know what you’re thinking (because at one time I thought the same way): ‘there’s NO WAY I’d wear someone else’s old stuff. Gross. Seriously, until I had a teaching job that required me to dress to the 9’s while being paid in the 2’s, I’d never stepped foot into a thrift store but after one trip, and 3 beautiful outfits, I was hooked.

It’s also very very (almost annoyingly) common to be stopped everywhere we go by people commenting on our kids’ choice of clothing. They are typically baffled when I let them know where their put-together looks originated. Some folks are disgusted, some intrigued but all are essentially shocked at the finds we can make when we really try!

Everything but the drink is repurposed here!

She’s by far our most adventurous dresser! 

Combo hand-me-down and second-hand getup!

Plus, I don’t want to be concerned with my kids ‘messing up their clothes’. If I paid full price for any of their getups, I’d be a crazy tyrant about staying clean and not ruining their clothes. This way, I couldn’t care less if they are wearing a sport coat or fancy dress while splashing in puddles or rolling logs over to search for worms in their Sunday best. Ha! It only cost me $0.50…what do I care??

Adventuring in the forest! 
There’s something so exciting about searching in a second-hand store for that perfect item of clothing–and then finding it! Then to look at the price tag–magical! But there are also a few tips and tricks for shopping second hand that we have discovered. 
1) Allot a good chunk of time for searching. There are times when it is necessary to really search for something in the perfect size or colour. I just went through it with finding MATCHING BURGUNDY FREAKING BUTTON-DOWNS WITH CREAM KNIT SWEATERS for family photos. Sounds easy but, ermmmm, nope. Not really! I made sure I wasn’t in a rush and went back a few days after the first trip to finish finding it all . Don’t expect to find that perfect item in the first minute. If it happens, then good on ya, but chances are it’ll be a search! 

2) Know what you are looking for. It’s SO MUCH EASIER for you if you know what you are searching for. If you are looking for a plain red t-shirt rather than just a shirt, you are narrowing down your focus and the time you need to search suddenly plummets. Try to narrow down your focus to as specific as possible and search only for that type of item. If you are looking for size 10 jeans, then ONLY look at size 10 jeans, especially if you are short on time!

3) Be picky! There’s just such a variety that it’s easy to grab the first thing that you see. Remember to check to make sure no buttons/snaps are missing and that any zippers work. Check for stains and snags, with kids stuff, especially baby items, check around the neck areas for subtle staining. Check the knees and other common areas for wear. 

4) If you are going to get shoes, look for obvious signs of wear. We’ve been so lucky to find virtually all of our kids’ shoes at second-hand stores brand new, never worn and in perfect condition. Remember that shoes usually mold to the wearer’s feet so it’s probably not a great idea to grab previously worn footwear that’s obviously been well-loved.

5) Think outside the typical outfit! Sometimes it can be a challenge to put a style together but for the lower (aka CHEAP) prices at these places, you can afford to take a clothing risk! 

I could go on and on and on….but I’ll leave it at that!

Thrifting isn’t for everyone, I totally get that, but I honestly despise shopping at 10 different t places to get what I need. I also am not a fan of the ‘canned’ outfits that are in stores for kids. Sure they are cute, but I’m good with having my kiddos come up with their own unique looks that suit their personalities! With the number of comments they get, clearly something must be working! 

So if you’ve got the time, I’d recommend taking a little trip to a second hand store and checking it out! It can be a lot of fun and you never now what treasures you’ll find!