Menu

I couldn’t breastfeed any of my children, and I’m finally okay with it

My children have taught me that being a mom means forgetting about what you want and focusing on what they need.

I couldn’t breastfeed any of my children, and I’m finally okay with it

When I was pregnant with my first, I was determined to do things my way. I wanted an unmedicated vaginal birth, to exclusively breastfeed for at least eight months and to do it all with absolute grace and beauty. After all, this is what our bodies are meant to do, right?

Well, I was wrong.

My first baby had plans of his own when it came to arriving into this world. My husband and I went in for a routine check at 37 weeks and learned that the baby was breech. After trying absolutely everything to turn him around, we decided to try an external cephalic version, or an ECV. I was a bit nervous, but I didn't think that anything could go wrong, so I didn't even shower or bring the basics to the hospital. As soon as the ultrasound tech put the wand to my belly, she gave a look to my midwife thenthey both left the room.
He was born that same day via C-section due to alarmingly low levels of amniotic fluid, one of the many things on my list of "stuff I didn't know could happen".

FEATURED VIDEO



Now that my birth plans had gone totally and completely out the window, I focused all my energy on breastfeeding. And, at first, it went really well. Nurses and lactation consultants at the hospital were very surprised at how naturally it came to me and what a good latcher he was. It wasn't until hours before we were discharged that a nurse suggested we add formula to his diet to help him gain weight. I declined and we left with our tiny 6 pounds 8 ounce baby to the formula-free safety of our home.

Days later when he was still struggling to gain weight, his pediatrician told us to just keep doing what we were doing—he wasn't losing weight, he was just a slow grower. So I kept offering my boob every single time he requested it, which meant I would just walk around topless and leaking all day long because he wanted to eat every single hour for 45 minutes each time. We kept doing this for weeks and weeks, including at night.

I was exhausted, but more so, I wasn't enjoying my baby at all. All I could think of was his weight, his feedings and recording absolutely everything that happened while he fed—which boob, for how long, and how much we weighed at the end of each day.

I saw lactation consultants. I had them come to our house to see our routine. I attended breastfeeding classes and I called my doula in tears because how was it possible that we couldn't do this. I tried absolutely everything everyone told me to: nipple shields, the football hold, corrected his lip and tongue tie, woke him to feed on a schedule, and blew air on his face if he fell asleep on the boob. When I say we tried everything, I mean absolutely everything

Finally at six weeks postpartum, I broke down. No one was telling me I could stop, so I kept going and going and going and going until I just couldn't anymore.

I looked at the breast pump that had been gathering dust in a closet in our apartment and decided to give it a try. It was terrifying, intimidating and so weird at first. But as I saw my milk flow into the plastic containers, which then I poured into a bottle for my husband to feed our son while I took a break without holding a baby for the first time in forever, I realized this is what I needed to do.

So I stopped trying to breastfeed him and moved to exclusively pumping. As soon as he started taking those bottles, his weight gain normalized and he was a much happier baby. I was definitely a much happier mom.

Eventually his hunger outpaced my milk production and around six months I introduced formula to the mix. I had so much guilt in doing so, as if my body had failed me yet again in something that should be so easy for it to do. But once again, after feeding my hungry baby a bottle of formula and seeing him happily drift off to sleep peacefully, I felt so silly. I had been trying so hard to accomplish something that just wasn't going to happen, and I could've enjoyed the first few months with my son had I given up on such strict and idealized ways of doing things.

I had to do what was best for him, even if it wasn't what I wanted to do initially.

When I found out I was pregnant again, this time with twins, I knew I had to let go of everything I had planned yet again, but this time before the babies came. Yes, I wanted to try for a vaginal birth and breastfeeding, but if it didn't happen, it was going to be okay.

And guess what? It didn't happen again.

One of my babies was breech, which meant I had a planned C-section. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the baby that was head down had a true knot in her umbilical cord that even shocked my OB when she saw it. And for breastfeeding, well, COVID-19 happened and we lost all of our support network, leaving my husband and I outnumbered with three under 3. So even though my twins were way better than their older brother was at the breast, I needed to optimize time—and here I am, six months into exclusively pumping.


My journey in motherhood is nothing like what I thought I wanted it to be. But my children have taught me that being a mom means forgetting about what you want and focusing on what they need, especially when it comes to feeding.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


Keep reading Show less
Shop

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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

Shop

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play