Battle of the Boobs

Hey Mama Bears!

Since August is breastfeeding awareness month, I wanted to share my experience on the subject with you all.

My son just turned two years old and I feel like I just blinked and and he’s an actual little person now! I’ve been reflecting a lot on my pregnancy, those crazy first few months postpartum as a first time mom and the emotional and physical challenges I had to face. From the get go, I had my heart set on breast-feeding but despite trying my very best and working with lactation consultants, with a heavy heart I gave up. Deci couldn’t get a good latch, he was frustrated…. I was frustrated, tired and healing from my c-section and I just simply didn’t have enough milk. I gave up on the actual mechanism of breast-feeding but I was adamant about giving my son my milk. So I did what I had to do and pumped for the next 10.5 months several times per day. In the beginning I pumped 8-10 times per day (grueling) and finally when I got a little of my life back I was down to 4x per day when Deci was around 7 months old.

My pump literally became like a ball and chain controlling my life. It controlled when I could go out to get some fresh air, how far I could go and for how long… It became a part of me. I was a pumping mom and for those 10.5 months, it sort of defined me. And I’m sure I suffered from pumping schizophrenia…I swear I could hear my pump even when it was off!

Would I do it all over again? YOU BET!

I will admit that I felt like a failure especially for the first two months. I had just had a c-section after wanting so badly a natural birth and now I couldn’t provide enough nourishment for my son. I felt like there was something wrong with my body and that it was failing me and that somehow these challenges made me less of a “woman”. I had to supplement 4oz a day with formula while I tried everything except pharmaceuticals to increase my supply. It took me exactly 2 months to produce enough milk for my boy. By month 3, I had surplus and I was able to start freezing it and boy was I a H-A-P-P-Y camper! I was not only happy, I was also very proud of myself. I finally felt “whole” because I was giving my baby what he needed and my boobs weren’t broken.

My challenges didn’t make me less of a woman, they helped make me the woman I am today and helped define the type of mom I wanted to be…one who is willing to make sacrifices for the well being of her child no matter what. Yes, having the life sucked out of your boobs by a machine several times a day can really suck but for me personally, denying my baby my milk would have sucked 1000x more.

Breast-feeding is a personal choice and although I strongly believe that babies should receive mama’s milk I understand why women give up. It’s not easy and it doesn’t come “naturally.” And sadly, we live in a cultural where little girls have not grown up seeing women breastfeed for a few decades. I know I never saw the women in family breastfeed while I was growing up. We live in a culture where formula feeding is the norm and breaking away from social norms can be challenge in of itself.

Whether you choose to breast-feed or you choose to formula feed, that doesn’t define who you are as a mom. We all do what is right for us. For me, the right thing was to pump. I didn’t even do it for a full year, which was what I initially wanted but then my supply ran dry after 10.5 months. A part of me felt liberated and another part of me grieved a little, I even shed a few tears but emotionally, it was the right time for me to stop.

If you ever felt like a failure for not being able to breast feed, know that you’re not alone and that you’re a totally awesome mama bear anyway!

I will always be a breast-feeding advocate but each mom has to do what she feels is right for her.

To my breast-feeding moms, you guys rock! To my formula-feeding moms, you guys rock! To my pumping moms, you guys totally rock!

We all have a different story and come from different walks of life. We’re all in this together so lets put the battle of the boobs and bottles to rest and encourage each other to raise awesome human beings! After all, our kids are not going to walk around someday arguing with each other over who was breast-fed the longest!

Until next time Mama Bears, be well!

 

 

About the Natural Mama Bear

My Family

Welcome to the Natural Mama Bear blog!

I’m so excited about launching this blog and to connect with other like-minded people out there. Let me give you guys a little background about myself.

My name is Adriana and I’m 29 years old. I’m a Southern Cali girl, born and raised but recently moved to the DFW area in Texas. I’m loving Texas! Even though the culture is completely different, I feel that Texas is a better fit for the way I want to live my life. We have an organic dairy farm just two miles from my house where we get raw milk and other goodies and we get to see the pretty ladies that give us these foods grazing on grass the way they should.

I’ve been married to my wonderful husband, Giovanni, for almost 5 years. He’s the master mind behind this awesome website. Together we have a beautiful, healthy, 20 month old son named Decius Alexander or as my family likes to call him, “the organic boy.”

I’m a huge animal lover and am also a mom to a German shepherd named Champ and two Rottweilers, Xena and Hercules.

I’m not a medical professional, I don’t have a medical background and I’m not a scientist. I’m just a mom on a mission to make the world a better place for my son by educating and inspiring others to live more naturally in a toxic world.

When I was in college I got my bachelor’s in Accounting so I’ve been trained to think critically, be overly analytical and to question everything! That type of training has carried over into my now research obsession. Now I have the best job in the world! I get to stay home and raise my precious son.

How it all started

My journey towards more natural living started about 2 1/2 years ago when my dad was, unfortunately, diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. This disease really shook up my family especially because there is no history of colon cancer in my family. I wanted to know everything about cancer. I wanted to know why my dad got cancer but most importantly, I wanted to know what he could do to get better. But all the conventional information available and endorsed by the American Cancer Society and other like-minded cancer organizations didn’t answer any of my questions and statistically, the doctors gave my family little hope. I wasn’t willing to accept that; I wasn’t willing to accept statistics!

I wasn’t willing to lose my dad… not to cancer!

I just had to do something, anything… so I read and read, and then I read some more. I would read during my lunch breaks, as soon as I got home from work and into the wee hours of the night desperately trying to find answers. I must have read more in the first year after his diagnoses than I did in my five years of college combined. I was on a mission and I still am today on that same mission to save my dad and to give him all the knowledge I am acquiring so that he can make better medical decisions for himself; decisions based on knowledge and not fear.

The words “terminal”, “no cure”, and “18 months to live” are still fresh in my mind. And so, our search for a cure continues.

 Learning to think

It wasn’t until I changed my preconditioned mind-set of trusting doctors as all knowing that I was able to slowly put information together in a way that made sense to me. I started learning about holistic medicine, Eastern medicine, nutrition, immunology, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases and the politics behind the pharmaceutical industry along with a few other subjects that really put things into perspective for me and got me thinking in ways I had never thought before.

Then I almost lost my mind!…But I didn’t

A few months after my dad’s diagnoses, I got pregnant with my son. It was a very exciting time but also filled with a lot of sorrow and uncertainty because we had no idea what the future had for us. Was my dad going to get to meet his grandson? We didn’t know. I spent my entire pregnancy literally freaking myself out about everything! From GMOs, to toxic cookware, to chemicals in personal hygiene products, cleaning products, toxic diapers, toxic mattresses, vaccines, fluoride and so on. The information was

O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-I-N-G! Sound familiar?

And then I had an epiphany. What if the CDC and FDA are not really there to protect us, but rather to protect the pocket books of the pharmaceutical companies and unethical corporations? After all, money talks right? And scientific data can just as easily be influenced.

I had to learn to breathe and take it one step at a time. So I just kept breathing and decided to make crucial changes little by little and remove toxic products and food from my life one at a time.

Forgiving myself and moving on…

My only regret is not knowing everything I know today before I got pregnant. This is something that caused me a lot of guilt and I have had to learn to forgive myself and acknowledge that I did the best I could with the information I was able to interpret at the time. But I’m grateful every day that despite my lack of knowledge at the time, I gave birth to a strong and healthy baby boy. I’m also grateful that I gained enough knowledge during my pregnancy that I approached standard newborn medical procedures as a protective mama bear ready maul for her cub.

I strive every day to give my son nutritionally dense foods to keep him strong and healthy but more importantly, to help him build healthy eating habits that he can carry with him into his adult life. I think that as a mom, this is best gift I could ever give him; the gift of health through nutrition.

I may not be a doctor, my beliefs may not be “scientific” and I may not have a PhD written after my name BUT first and foremost I’m a mom and I like to think that I’m a darn good one. My job is protect my cub even when that means going against the status quo.

The Natural Mama Bear

My goal for this blog is to encourage, support, educate and enlighten others. Because let’s face it, once you become a natural mom, there’s no turning back. You can no longer go to the grocery store without reading labels, you can’t even buy a freakin’ toilet bowl cleaner without reading the ingredients and this way of living can easily make you the laughing stock amongst your family and friends who just don’t get it. And that’s O.K. they don’t have to “get it”, we’re all on a different journey in life. And I think that it gets easier when you learn to laugh at yourself. So laugh at yourself! Even when it feels like you’re doing it all wrong…laugh at yourself!

This isn’t a place to pass judgment! Let’s encourage each other, let’s inspire and educate each other. I don’t know everything about healthy natural living. I’m learning something new every day and hope to learn more from more experienced natural folks out there. What I do know is that I don’t want to face a load of health problems like my dad. Because really, who wants to be sick? Getting a common cold can be pretty miserable and I can’t imagine living with chronic illness or developing a life-threatening disease. Although there are no guarantees that living a more natural lifestyle in this toxic world will keep me and family from getting sick, I can at least try because small changes overtime do snowball into larger changes.

Cancer changed my life forever! It awakened a beast inside me with an insatiable hunger for knowledge.  I like to think that although unfortunate and heartbreaking that my dad’s diagnoses was sort of a blessing in disguise because I would have probably continued living in my blissful, toxic bubble ignorantly thinking that cancer is something other people get and that it could never happen to me or someone I love.

This is my journey and I hope you’ll come along for the ride with me to make the world a healthier place for our children. Because at the end of the day, whether you’re a hard-core natural mom, a not so natural mom or a mom trying to find your way in this crazy natural way of living, I think it’s pretty safe to say that we would all kill and die for our children, hence the Natural Mama Bear.

Now that you know a little about me, I’d love to get to know you! Tell me about your journeys towards more naturally living in the comments below.

So until next time mama bears, Be Healthy!

Adriana

xoxo

P.S. my dad is doing well thanks to holistic medicine, major dietary changes and aggressive detoxing therapies. He decided to forego further conventional cancer treatments since November and although he is still not out of the woods, we are very hopeful.