It was everything I could have prayed for and more. My baby was healthy and happy and our family was complete. I knew instantly that life was perfect and that all my prayers had been answered. My son was so happy with his baby sister and we were adjusting perfectly.
It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that things changed. Baby M started crying, a lot. We tried everything, gas medicine, incline sleeping, four different formulas, and every trick or tip someone would recommend but nothing helped. I continued breastfeeding and pumping and we were only using a bottle of formula at night, my trick for getting my son to sleep through the night. Nothing helped and we would hold our helpless screaming child and wonder what we were doing wrong.
Bedtime would take hours and I would feel defeated every single night. My husband and I would take turns. I would play music softly, then loudly, some lullabys then old school rap music. If it worked, it would only work for a little bit, enough for us to gather our bearings and breathe - only to try again until she finally would sleep. All the while we had another child to feed, to bathe, to take care of, to love... The worst part was knowing that she was in pain and not being able to fix it. She would burp or pass a bowel movement and feel better so you knew she was struggling. She would scream at the bottle, scream at the breast...it didn't matter, she was screaming.
As the days passed and she required more of me, and only me, I stopped pumping as much. After yet another doctor visit, we switched to soy formula. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for soy formula...turns out our little Baby M was lactose intolerant so she was sick from both my breastmilk and the formula and of course the milk based formula made it worse as it's more difficult for her to digest and I found myself giving her more formula because it was just easier than fighting her at my breast or sitting for another countless pumping session.
I didn't realize how sick my breastmilk was making her so I continued to give it to her and by week seven I was weaning because of the stress of producing enough to feed her and the fact that she was always fussy. I was making enough but I was constantly pumping...and had little to no time for anything else, including showering. When we realized that a bottle of breastmilk made her super sick after a few days without, we decided to stop breastmilk/feeding altogether. I wanted to make sure before I fully gave up and was even attempting to go back to exclusive BF but she just couldn't process the lactose in my milk - decision made.
The reason for this post is because I feel like not enough women talk about the trials of being a mom to a newborn. Everyone focuses on the beauty of childbirth and raising these gorgeous little beans and trust me, I feel so incredibly blessed and happy with our baby girl. But let's be real - this shit can be hard. Hard on my husband, hard on me, and especially hard on my baby girl who cried countless hours in pain...ugh the thought kills me.
I feel like we need to talk about the fact that some babies cry, a lot and some babies are lactose intolerant. We need to support each other when one mom says 'I just can't breastfeed anymore because I don't want to.' or 'I can't take the pressure anymore...'
It's OK for dads to lose it just as much as moms do.
It's OK to yell at each other when nothing seems to go right.
It's OK to lean on each other when you know you two are the only people who get it...
It's OK to cry when you just don't know what else to do.
And it's OK for you to ask for help. Luckily I am blessed to not have to deal with PPD on top of all of this but some women have more than just baby blues and that's OK too.
It's not picture perfect and we need to stop pretending like it is. I feel like if more moms felt like they could be vulnerable and open up about just how hard it can be, then more women and children would be saved and live their versions of 'happily ever after' because there is a happily ever after for everyone! My life is amazing and I am so blessed with a wonderful and supportive husband and children whom I adore.
We have adjusted and our little girl is finally starting to shine - thanks to SOY!!
Update - we have since switched from soy to a hypoallergenic formula... sometimes there is no easy switch! Fingers crossed...