Mama Chat Monday With - AMY PIXI

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Meet Amy, Auckland Mama to Fin and the owner of Miss Mighty Co a newly launched clothing brand. Her feeding journey is defiantly one to read. Thanks for sharing Amy X

1.Tell us the first word that comes to mind when you think of your feeding journey?

 A roller coaster

2. What best describes the way you feed your child?

Fin was breastfed for 6 months until she started refusing to be breastfed. She started solids at 5.5 months and now at 11.5 months, she is formula fed during the day and on 3 solid meals each day. She doesn’t feed at all at night as she self-weaned once she started on formula full time.

3.Did you ever feel embarrassed bottle-feeding or breastfeeding in public?

 At times I felt a bit self-conscious breastfeeding in public. I don’t think it was an embarrassment as such, but when you’re learning to breastfeed it can be a bit awkward - so, at times, I was hyper-aware of the people around me like if I was in a cafe and Fin wouldn’t latch on. Fin was also a “happy” spewer. She spilled A LOT and OFTEN. This added another element of stress and awkwardness as I was constantly having to minimise, avoid or clean up milk and spew - off her, off me, off the floor of the mall haha!

Fin is now on formula and I am more comfortable about bottle feeding her in public now she is older (nearly 1); when she was smaller, I often questioned in my head if people were wondering why I was bottle feeding her and not breastfeeding her. 

4.Are there any products that made your feeding journey easier?

 When starting out breastfeeding I found a boppy nursing pillow to really help - it allowed me to position Fin and then help her to latch on. Now that she’s formula fed, having a formula dispenser has been super helpful for when we are out and about!

5.What was the funniest thing that happened during your feeding journey?

 It wasn’t funny at the time, but looking back now I can see the funny side. It was probably the number of ridiculous situations we were in covered in her spew. At one particular time, Hubby D was lifting her up and down in the air above his face in a silly game. I’m sure you can guess, but at one point when she went up, she spewed right onto his face.

6.If you could give a new mum one piece of advice what would it be?

Trust your baby. We had a real up and down journey; it was easy to breastfeed at the start and I had lots of milk - enough to donate to other mums!  But suddenly at 6 months old Fin refused the breast unless she was falling asleep. By 7 months she was refusing it totally, but also refusing formula / a bottle. I spent a couple of months stressed out about her health. Obviously, I just wanted her to be fed and happy - I didn’t care how! The best thing I was told was by a Karitane nurse and that was: trust her. She won’t starve herself. She will drink when she wants/needs it. She was eating lots of solids so still being nourished. Once I finally let go and started trusting her, things went a lot more smoothly.

Looking back now, there are so many times I was stressed over Fin’s milk intake. It was a waste of energy and emotion and she started to feed off that (excuse the pun!). So just trust them, and trust yourself; they know what they’re doing, and you will know if there is a need for concern.

 7.Do you think mothers feel pressure from society regarding feeding? Yes/No If yes why? 

Absolutely. I had always known I wanted to breastfeed - if I could. I knew it might not be easy. But what I hate is the amount of “breast is best” that is shoved in your face. Yes, the message is true - if possible, breastmilk is #1 for baby. But what if you can’t breastfeed? My milk didn’t come in for 2 days. Fin screamed non stop for 12 hours overnight. She was hungry. An HCA told me I could request some formula. So I did. The result was that I had to be lectured about how I’m not breastfeeding properly, I had nurses trying to express colostrum from me as I sat crying, I had to sign forms about how formula is not encouraged by the hospital and then my baby had to be taken away from me to be syringe fed. Yes, breast is best. But it is not always possible. Often this ‘positive' message can come across as a slap in the face for those mum’s who can’t breastfeed. Obviously, I don’t talk for all non-breastfeeding mums, but I definitely felt pressure and guilt when I wasn’t able to breastfeed my child.

8.What do mums need to do more of to support other mums? 

 Talk. Talk about their feeding journey to other mums. There might be a mum going through the same as you. I felt extremely alone at times when Fin didn’t want to be fed. It would have been so nice knowing someone else who had experienced this before or at the same time as me to talk to. I reached out to friends who had babies before me and that was the best thing I could have done. So talk to each other - lend an ear, or ask for help!

Melanie Rule