Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our "Bestfed" Baby

I will preface this blog with a disclaimer:
It has taken me three months to write this blog with lots of pondering and thinking about others' feelings and how much our choices may/will be judged.  Either way, this blog contains personal choices that Eric and I have made as parents and by no means is meant as a way of judgement toward others' choices as parents.  We are ALL lovingly feeding our babies.
Most of you know a few simple facts about me:
1. I am a new mother to beautiful 3 month old Adalyn
2. I am BRCA1 positive
3. I chose to have a prophylactic double mastectomy two+ years ago to reduce my risk of developing breast cancer from 87% to 2%

Now, given those facts, it should be obvious that I am not breast feeding my daughter.  I cannot breast feed and in fact, I chose not to.  I chose to preventatively take off the part of my body meant to feed my babies in order for them to have their mom around.  I spent countless hours, well before becoming pregnant, accepting my choice and coming to the conclusion that if I could still have my mom alive today, I would without a doubt, rather have been bottle fed than a breast fed baby.  So I made my choice over 2 years ago to bottle feed my daughter. 

Here is where, for me, the lesson in surrender takes over.  I surrendered to my truth of not breast feeding.  Eric and I spent dozens of hours shopping and researching formula for Adi.  We scoured the island to make sure that we found the best formula for our little baby.  We settled on our formula two months before she was born, I had a stock ready to go to the hospital so we wouldn't have to switch formulas when we brought her home.  I was ready, formula and bottle in my bag, ready to feed my baby.

Shortly before Adi's birth a friend approached me and offered the precious gift of mother's milk.  She, without hesitation or solicitation, offered to help feed my baby the magic elixir that I never thought would be on her menu of choices.  I graciously accepted whatever amount she could give. Then another friend mentioned that her pediatrician, Dr. Hwang, was passionate about breast feeding and starting a milk bank.  I knew I had to meet her.

With the help of Dr. Hwang, I have a breast milk donor, who we call our milk angel.  This amazing woman, has been pumping milk for me since Adalyn was born.  Without fail, she pumps and brings it to the hospital for me to collect.  Today I collected 33 - 12oz bags, that Adalyn will eat over the next few weeks.  Our milk angel does this out of the kindness of her heart.   Our donor is not paid to donate her milk and she does not know me.  This selfless act has aided in our baby's health and growth since her birth.  I am forever grateful to her for helping feed our precious girl.
Our Bestfed baby's supply

At the hospital and for the first two weeks of her life, Adi ate 100% breast milk. Since then she is on a formula/breast milk combo that has lead to her doubling her birth weight and having the cutest chubby checks in town.  She and I still bond when I feed her, gazing lovingly into each others eyes.  My baby girl doesn't care how she gets her milk, as long as she gets it and trust me, she knows what her bottle looks like!

This is what our happy breast/bottle baby looks like!
To all of the mothers out there that are lovingly feeding their babies or have lovingly fed their babies, you are doing a great job! 

1 comment:

  1. Jenn, I know as a mother that this took courage to write. My first born was breast fed through bottles for the first 6 weeks of her life. She refused to latch. The girl loved her bottle. I made the choice to formula feed when I went back to work.
    My second child was breast fed for the first 6 months of her life. She loved it and did quite well, even the pumped bottles. I had a nice stockpile when we discovered that her reflux was partially caused by the foods I was eating. She was sensitive to just about everything. In order to save my sanity and help my child to feel better, the pediatric gastro doctor suggested that she may be better off on formula. It wasn't what I expected to hear. Lots of tears were shed, but in the end, I did what was best for my child.