Mama Chat Monday With - Stephanie Whyte

 
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Meet Stephanie, Kiwi Mama of one trying to find her feet while looking after her we one. Check out her page @learning2crawl. Thanks so much for sharing your journey Stephanie.

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

Disappointment. Initially, I was disappointed in myself for not being able to reach my goal of breastfeeding for one year. Now that I've had time to grieve, I'm disappointed in the lack of balanced information available to expectant and new mothers.

 

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

 Jessica was breastfed until my supply well and truly couldn't keep up at 4 months. I mix-fed for about another month as I leaked out about 40 mL off an hour of pumping twice a day before I finally switched completely to formula. I went from having an unhappy, unsettled baby who never slept more than catnaps during the day to a settled, happy, thriving baby who had a newfound love of decent day sleeps! Not to mention I was a wreck and begged for help from a Karitane Nurse and a Paediatrician in the same week who both concurred that undersupply was our issue.

 

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

I was a bit embarrassed as a first time mum breastfeeding in public, however, I was determined that it should be normalised as much as possible for my daughter's comfort, my comfort and for other mothers to come after me. I was embarrassed to bottle feed, even when it was expressed, because of the judgement I perceived. I didn't feel like I could win really.

 

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

When I was breastfeeding, I really enjoyed using the Haaka pump for an easy pump off the other side when Jessica was feeding.

For formula feeding, I was given a little container with four compartments and a dispenser for easy pouring of pre-measured formula into a bottle of cooled boiled water. 

 

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

 When Jessica was about 4 months, she mastered holding the bottle herself and then promptly forgot a couple of weeks later until she was about 10 months! 

 

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

Be prepared or open to the gameplan changing. You will need to make lots of decisions in the best interests of your child, your family and also importantly - you. Informed is best, so when you're ready, seek out info on breastfeeding and formula feeding so that you have a Plan B, and if your child is hungry, know that Plan B isn't such a big scary deal.

 

7.Do you think mothers feel pressure from society regarding feeding?

 Yes. Everyone else seems to have a personal interest in how you feed your child. The information that gets imparted at antenatal classes, by a lot of midwives, nurses, plunket and other health professionals is really one-sided. Of course, breastfeeding is to be encouraged and supported, but not at the expense of those who may go on to have an issue with their supply. And this happens a lot more common than I was led to believe. It's not just formula feeding that gets marginalised, I notice extended breastfeeding is also readily judged. It's nobody's business except for the family concerned. 

 

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

Just listen without judgement. Sometimes, I might compare or think "I wouldn't do that", but I remind myself that I have no idea what it's like to be that person. Every single mum is trying their best. And often there's lots of emotional strain and heartache below the surface. 

 

Melanie Rule