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Being pregnant brought on a gamut of emotions that came with a time limit to sort out. Among the many parenting considerations was whether or not to breastfeed.

Initially, I had decided to go the bottle route. Knowing that millions of babies grow up healthy on formula, it just seemed like the easier choice. Around the sixth month, education and encouragement from others changed my decision and I decided that I would be a breastfeeding mom.

Then finally, after a difficult induction that took place over two days, Skyler William was born. Luckily, neither one of us had any issues with breastfeeding, and it quickly became our private time together.

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I felt like I was doing so much more with Skyler than just providing sustenance-- I felt connected. He would hold my pinky finger while I studied his face and rubbed his toes. Every once in awhile, he would stop suckling and look into my eyes.

At three and a half weeks postpartum, though, while nursing Skyler, I felt little pings in my lower abdomen and the sudden urge to pee. When I went to the bathroom, I was shocked to see blood pouring into the toilet. Terrified, I immediately called my doctor. He told me to call an ambulance.

At the hospital, the OB/GYN determined that the lining of my uterus had not stopped shedding and I would have to take copious amounts of the birth control pill. I was also given a blood transfusion and an injection of Ergometrine to make my uterus contract. I was told how lucky I was. If the hemorrhaging had happened while I was sleeping, I could have easily bled to death.

Almost as an aside, the doctor told me I would have to cease breastfeeding, both because it makes the uterus contract and the medication I was taking would quickly dry up my milk.

Initially I was okay with switching to a bottle, but, within a few days, I found myself resenting the loss of that exclusive time with Skyler. I felt cheated that anyone could now feed him and even unnecessary, like I was really not needed at all. I silently started to feel resentful of the people I treasured most in my life.

While I was nursing, I hadn’t felt the loss of that little human growing inside of me because we were still linked, quite literally, every couple of hours. Instead of an umbilical cord, my breast had been Skyler's nutritional lifeline. Now, I felt disconnected from my own baby.

I was finally able to bring myself to talk about my resentment to one of my closest friends, and she helped me figure out the root of my issues.

First, I had to realize that the decision to stop breastfeeding was not mine. It was not my fault that I had hemorrhaging and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.

Second, when I was breastfeeding Skyler, I was able to avoid the separation anxiety that can come when that little person growing inside you is suddenly a separate entity. Those feelings were simply delayed because Skyler was not completely apart from me until I could no longer breastfeed him.

By turning to someone I trusted, I was able to work through my feelings of hurt and animosity, and I found that there were resources available with mothers who had surely gone through exactly what I experienced. I realized that my son and I were connected in so many ways and that he still needed me. Dealing with the shock of not being able to nurse anymore taught me to reach out to others for support and find new ways to get the closeness I craved.

Once I was able to forgive myself, the anger and resentment I had felt toward others faded away and I was okay with taking this new journey as a bottle feeding mom.

*Pauline Milner has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter for over 12 years. Her articles cover a broad spectrum of topics. She is currently working to complete 2 screenplays and a series of children's books while living a quiet life in rural New Brunswick, Canada with my husband and our very spoiled rescue dog, Casey. Her daughter is married with 2 children. She and her husband are both teachers. Her son is travelling the world as a fine dining chef and is currently in Australia. You can find her on Twitter at @PaulineRMilner.

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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