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One expert mama’s formula for success—Feed baby. Period.

How one child psychologist came to terms with formula feeding and overcame her sense of failure.

One expert mama’s
formula for success—Feed baby. Period.

Most of us set high standards for ourselves before


we become new mamas.

Now more than ever, I feel like new mothers face so many pressures to be

the perfect new parent to their perfect new baby—many of these pressures coming

from a place within.

As a developmental psychologist, I was acutely aware of research on the benefits of breastfeeding. Better health, higher IQ, and I get to burn an extra 500 calories a day? Where do I sign up?

So, the minute I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would breastfeed for at least a

year. Sort of like I know I am going to watch the next season of Game of Thrones. Just one of those givens

in life.

It’s funny how nature has a way of knocking us down a peg or two when it feels the need.

My son was born at 7 pounds even. After two months, he had

only put on half the weight he was projected to gain. He cried for hours

(usually in the evening) and had trouble sleeping.

Individually, these signs

could have meant anything…including the fact that he was a newborn who happened

to have the genes of a petite little guy (much like those of me and my

husband).

But I knew something wasn’t right. I was convinced my milk supply was

low, but had no idea why. I had taken breastfeeding classes, read all of the baby

books I could find and visited with a lactation consultant in the hospital after

delivery.

What was I doing wrong?

After seeing another lactation specialist, I found out I was only producing half the milk my little guy needed. She (rather

forcefully) recommended that I begin supplementing. Thinking this

would likely reduce my supply further, I told her I would give myself a few

more days to bring up my supply and then take her advice if necessary.

I cried all the way home (and so did my son).

Combining her advice for increasing my supply with every

other reputable (and otherwise) source of information I could find, I began my hunt

for more “liquid gold.” I tried everything.

Power pumping.

Herbal supplements.

Mother’s Milk tea.

Nursing

vacations.

Midnight pumping.

Weekly breastfeeding group meetings.

Pumping immediately after every on-demand feeding.

I even stopped trying to lose my pregnancy weight.

I also realized (no thanks to my lactation consultant) that

the medicine I was taking for my seasonal allergies was likely reducing my

supply, so I gave up clear sinuses, too!

I was a woman on a mission, after all.

How did my supply fare? It did increase a bit, but never

reached what my son truly needed, especially now that he was looking to catch

up in weight. By the time he turned 4 months, I conceded that we needed to

begin supplementing with formula.

I have never felt like such a failure.

Just seeing another breastfed baby meeting a milestone

before my little one only convinced me further that I had failed my son.

When others would ask if I was breastfeeding, I would say yes and then feel like a liar with a guilty secret.

Now that my son is two years old and I am starting to get

the itch for a second little bundle of sweetness, I ask myself a few questions.

Would I do it over again

if I had to? Of course. I think most of us mamas would do whatever it takes

to keep our babies as happy and healthy as possible…even if it means sneezing one’s

way through a 4am pumping session.

This time, however, things would go just a

little differently.

For starters, I have learned that there is no such thing as

being a failure as a mother.

Being a parent means successes and failures, but the fact that we wake up every morning (or every night) despite the failures of the previous day and continue on as parents, means that we are never truly failures.

We are simply

learning, growing, and developing—much like our little ones.

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Knowing now what I didn’t

know then, what would I go back and tell myself if I could? Breastfeeding

is not everything! There is no shame in nourishing your child—whether it is

with breast milk or formula. Feeding your baby is all that really matters.

His happiness, health, and intelligence will stem from the love and care in your heart, not your breasts.

I take this hard-earned knowledge with me as I take my next

steps as a mother and woman, knowing very well that I may face similar challenges

the second time around.

For myself and any other mama out there facing

challenges with this ever-so-tricky breastfeeding business, I don’t care what society

tells us. It doesn’t matter if we breastfeed or formula feed.

We are strength.

We are love. We are mothers.

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This 'mama' necklace is a bestseller for a powerful reason

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama.

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama. No matter what is going on at work, what decision you make about heading back to school, or how you're caring for your family right now, we know you're the best mama for your family.

So in case you need a little reminder of just how incredible you are, we love this sweet necklace from Tiny Tags. And other mamas do, too, because it's been one of our top sellers for weeks.

Whether you're coveting it for yourself or want to gift it to your favorite mama, it's one of those gifts that'll keep on giving years later. It's dainty enough to easily layer with just about anything you have in your jewelry collection, but is just as beautiful as a standalone piece to wear daily. And in these tough seasons, it's honestly a gentle, much-needed reminder that you were made for this. You can do hard things. You are doing the best you can even when it feels like you can't make one more decision.

Tiny Tags script 'mama' necklace

tiny tags mama necklace

The charm is 1/2" long and the chain is 16", falling just above most mama's collarbones. All Tiny Tags personalized jewelry is laser engraved by highly skilled artisans to make the most elegant pieces.

$105

And, don't worry, it's totally low-maintenance. Simply polish with a polishing cloth every now and then for extra shine. Now to decide: gold or silver?

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

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Two weeks. I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since my second son was brought into this world. Two weeks since my husband and I welcomed baby Simon, the final piece of our little family.

But, here is the whopper: It has been two weeks since I have been the mom of a toddler and a newborn. I am now responsible for taking care of two tiny humans.

It absolutely blows my mind how much my life has changed in the last two weeks. It's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns around here, but things are going pretty well. This is me being cautiously optimistic.

What I have done is learned a lot about myself, my kids and my new life in the last two weeks.

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