When my oldest was born, over eight years ago, I was your typical new mom: Eager to get the hang of nursing and become a pro. In those first few weeks, I probably had about three different lactation consultants come assess the situation, because it most certainly wasn’t coming as naturally to baby and me as we new moms expect it to (after all, women have nursed for thousands of years so it should just be simple. Right?!).
I had my share of infections, tried every cream to alleviate the cracking, even concocted my own from three over-the-counter creams. I tracked down some miracle cream that only one pharmacy in Brooklyn sold. I tried pumping and feeding, I tried pumping after feeding. I was trying my hardest, I really was, but each feeding seemed to take forever, and by the time I got everything cleaned up and put away, it seemed like he was ready to eat again.
I was exhausted, but more importantly he wasn’t gaining weight sufficiently. I was totally overwhelmed yet I was determined because I wanted to do what was “best” for my baby. Reality was starting to set in though, and I realized that “fed is best” and a mom who has her sanity can’t hurt either.
As much as I wanted to keep up with nursing long term, I realized I was going to have to make a change. I decided to give it one more try and asked Jessica Bilowitz, a lactation consultant from Israel, to work her magic. She took our situation very seriously, and gave us a lot of time to try to make it work. As a last resort, she suggested one more option that made all the difference in our nursing story.
Jessica pulled out a tiny tube/straw in hospital packaging and ripped it open. She had me make a bottle of Similac and inserted one side of the tube into the bottle. She threaded the other side through the nipple of the bottle and let it hang. She instructed me to have baby latch (we had finally mastered this), and start nursing. After a couple of minutes of nursing she gently slid the other side of the tiny tube into baby’s mouth. Baby thought he was nursing, but in actuality he was drinking formula! This method kept stimulating the little milk supply I had, while giving baby the nutrients he needed to gain weight. It was a win-win solution.
Thank G-d, a few kids later, I no longer need to utilize the tiny tube treasure, but I still feel so fortunate to have had an option that provided my baby with the best nutrition I could give him. That tube+Similac power combo, all but saved me in those stressful first few months of new mommy-hood.
Now, I make sure my babies can take a bottle—being a mom is hard enough! Trust me, I fall back on those bottles often enough and I’m just relieved to know that I can be confident that they’re getting the nutrients they need. (Except my two-year-old. That child has refused every bottle make and model known to man… but that’s a story for another time). We parents put so much pressure on ourselves to get everything right, but my main takeaway from that experience is that there is always a solution that is “right” for you and your baby!