Mama Chat Monday With - Rebecca Campbell
Meet Rebecca, Mother to three gorgeous girls. Maci her big girl and twins Makenna and Penelope(pictured) and the owner of @maciandco. Rebecca, I thank you for opening up about your feeding journey, and I love that after your twins you were able to be Proud of your journey after feeling Guilt and disappointment with Maci. Go have a read now.
Then head over to http://maciandco.bigcartel.com/ and check out her gorgeous page.
1.Tell us the first word that comes to mind when you think of your feeding journey?
If you’d asked me this after my first (Maci) it would have been ‘Guilt’ & ‘Disappointment’. But four years on and after a second pregnancy (Twins, Penelope & Makenna) it’s ‘Proud’ of what I achieved! It’s amazing how time can heal old wounds and banish the feeding demons! Farewell Mummy guilt!
2.What best describes the way you feed your children?
Maci was a premmy and tiny so my initial introduction to breastfeeding was ‘Here is a breast pump, use it every three hours & hey presto, you’ve got milk Mama!’. Sadly, this proved to be a lot harder than it sounded! Early birth, C-section & pregnancy related health issues all meant that my milk took forever to arrive and when it did I had a very low supply, so I had to use medication to try and build on it. When we finally were able to get Maci on the breast there were a ton of issues including latch & not a lot of useful advice or help. After five weeks of exclusive pumping & very few successful breastfeeds I ended up with such a severe case of mastitis that I landed in hospital for a week (almost in ICU), and therefore my milk supply completely diminished and we decided for health reasons it was best for me to stop feeding her and switched to formula. The exact same issues arose again with the twins and so they were mix fed from day dot. It wasn’t a choice, it was a necessity. I continued to pump three hourly (yes, even in the wee small hours) after we left the hospital. Our feeding routine was; Feed one, feed the other, top up one, top up the other, pump, wash pump, start again... When the twins hit three months & the routine hadn’t changed I realized that I was spending 90% of my time on couch with the breast pump watching my babies grow up before me & missing out on all their milestones, so I decided to stop feeding them. Luckily, I had enough frozen milk to keep mix feeding for another month, and we never looked back!
3.Did you ever feel embarrassed bottle-feeding or breastfeeding in public?
I never felt embarrassed breastfeeding in public. I didn’t get the chance with Maci so I really embraced it with the twins. The thing is when you have twins and pump around the clock you pretty much always have your boobs out, so you get pretty used to it! (Although trying to apply a nipple shield with dignity in a mall food court was quite embarrassing!)
But I certainly felt embarrassed bottle feeding in public. So much so with Maci that I used to go into the feeding room and pull the curtain across to feed her so that no-one could see it was a bottle and judge me. I was constantly comparing myself to other Mums & felt really alone at times.
4.Are there any products that made your feeding journey easier?
A pumping bra! An absolute must have for any pumping Mama as it allows you to do it completely hands free! I could cuddle a babe, fix a scraped knee & sneak in a quick meal all while pumping! Also, oats & brewer’s yeast! I swear by both for increasing your supply immensely! I made a smoothie with both every morning & they worked a treat! For bottle feeding it would have to be the Closer to Nature bottles & formula dispensers. The dispensers fit right inside the bottle so are super convenient and take up no extra room in your baby bag!
5.What was the funniest thing that happened during your feeding journey?
I remember the first time I ever pumped after Maci was born, I accidently let go of the bottles just as I finished and all of the milk tipped out and all over the hospital bed. It took me twenty minutes to pump that measly amount! The nurse came in to find me bawling my eyes out and told me to ‘never cry over spilled milk’. At the time I was devastated but completely see the funny side these days!
6.If you could give a new mum one piece of advice what would it be?
Don’t go into motherhood with too many expectations. Just don’t put that pressure on yourself. First time around I had all of these high hopes that I would be this amazing earth mother with a calm and natural birth, and long and successful feeding journey (which all went out the window of course!) The guilt and disappointment took over my life & I really struggled with it in Maci’s first year.
Second time around I was much more realistic with my expectations and went in with a ‘what will be will be’ approach and had a much happier feeding journey!
7.Do you think mothers feel pressure from society regarding feeding? Yes/No If yes why?
100% yes! I feel like today’s society is ‘You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t’ when it comes to feeding. Those who breastfeed their babies in public are often frowned upon and those who whip out a bottle are judged even more harshly! I have always been amazed by the number of strangers that asked me ‘Do you breastfeed her/them?’ - Why do you need to know or even care?!
8.What do mums need to do more of to support other mums?
Let’s cut the Mum judging! Every single one of us has our own story and we need to remember that words hurt. We don’t know what each other has been through or why we have made the decisions we have. Let’s support each other by just focusing on our own lives and stop comparing ourselves to everyone else. You raise your baby and I’ll raise mine and the world will be a much happier place!