Bonding with baby

 

I was reading an article online about breastfeeding, and the effect it has in regards to bonding with your baby.  And it sparked me to write this post.  I’ll keep it short and sweet, otherwise I’ll feel like I’m rambling on, and I just wanted to express my thought(s) on this topic.

I was (or am) fortunate enough to first of all have children, and secondly to produce sufficient milk for them to thrive on.  With my first son, I exclusively breastfed and didn’t pump on the strong recommendation of my doctor at the time.  When it came time for him to transition into solids, I wasn’t able to pump enough milk to mix with his rice cereals, and the purées that we made for him.  With our second son, because of unforeseen circumstances, I am now exclusively pumping (and he is not latched or breastfed, although he is on 100% breastmilk pumped from me).  After he was born, he lost a lot of weight, which led to my doctor’s recommendation to breastfeed, followed by pumping to make sure I had enough milk for him.  (It turned out that I was making lots of milk, he just wasn’t absorbing it properly and efficiently enough to gain weight).  So I’m a mom who both exclusively breastfed my first, and exclusively bottle fed my second, so I feel like I can have an opinion on this topic since I’ve experienced both.  And here’s my conclusion:

What causes a bond between a parent and child, isn’t breastfeeding, or your ability (or inability for that matter) to provide breastmilk to your child, its about unconditional love, and believing in them.  Adoptive parents, dads, foster parents, in-laws, etc., can create bonds much stronger than moms who merely breastfeed but don’t provide in other facets of life, such as giving your children your time and attention.  Being a parent and creating a bond with your child goes far beyond the first year of your child’s life when they’re on breastmilk or formula.  People spend so much time talking about “breast is best”, but one of the doctors I encountered when my second son was ill, said it best: “breast is best, but fed is better”.  No one has spoken more truer words.  Who cares what or how you feed your kid.  I’ve seen my husband interact with my son, and no one can convince me that you need to breastfeed to create a bond with your child.  My husband has a bond with our older son (who was exclusively breastfed) equal to, if not stronger, than the bond I have with him and I can tell you from experience, it takes a lot more time, love and dedication to create and maintain a bond with your child than the act of breastfeeding.

And on another note, breastfeeding hurt like a mofo, so I didn’t bond with my son over breastfeeding, we bonded over other stuff.

With that, I’ll leave you with some humour by David Sopp on the do’s and don’t’s of bonding with your baby.  Enjoy!

Losing my Identity

 

identity2

When I became pregnant with our first child, I was a working woman, had a University degree, and a career at the Surrey School District here in BC.  After our son was born, I still considered myself to be in the work force, even though I was on maternity leave for the following year.  When people would ask what I did, I replied that I was a Safe School Liaison for the Surrey School District.  I had a good job with decent pay, benefits, and I had an identity.  I could identify as someone in the work force.  Ever since I was a teenager, I had an identity – I was a sales associate, a sales manager, a student, a safe school liaison, a hockey referee.  I was always doing something.  When I was scheduled to go back to work in September (after my maternity leave was up), I found out I was pregnant with our second child.  I struggled with the idea that I would probably have to quit my job.  For one, I wouldn’t have been back at work long enough to get another year of maternity pay, and for two, due to the nature of my job, I felt it would be health risk for my pregnancy to go back and work while pregnant.  (For those wondering, my job had me working a lot at a smoke pit with at-risk youth in high school, and I didn’t want to be exposed to the second-hand smoke and occasionally drugs while I was pregnant).

When I gave my notice to quit my job, I suddenly lost my identity – I lost a part of me that I had known all of my adult life.  I became “just a mom”.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to be said about stay at home moms, due to the amount of work we actually do when raising a tiny human.  Because I was freshly off work and pregnant, I didn’t notice anything different until after our second son, Maverick was born.  But now that Maverick is here, and our older son is becoming a little more independent, I suddenly notice my loss of identity.  I can’t relate to anything with many of my peers anymore.  I’m not in the work force, I never made it back to work after our first child, and now here I am, a mother of 2 without a job.  I left my job on good terms, and my boss had made a point to express that when I was done having/raising kids, I would be welcome back to my old position at the School District.

To be totally honest, I don’t know if I would even want to return to my job though.  I worked with troubled youth, which is what I always wanted to do, but now that I have kids, I feel like my time should be spent with them, guiding them, and saving my energy to be raising them rather than other kids.  It sounds selfish I know, but thats how I feel about it.  I think a part of me also feels like I would be a changed person when it comes to my job – I can’t look at kids the same anymore now that I’m actually a mom.  When you become a parent, you change – you feel differently about things and you handle situations different than before you had kids, because now you don’t see kids as just kids anymore, you see them as if your kids were in that situation, and you think of how to deal with it as if it were your kid.  I don’t think I’m mentally strong enough to deal with that day in and day out as my primary focus.

Anyways, through all that, I feel like I need to have some sort of identity back.  I signed up to teach the Baby Signs® Program, although I don’t know if thats something I’d actually be interested in doing.  I love signing with my kids, but (to be totally honest), holding classes isn’t really up my ally.  I feel that because of my background though, it would be great to have it on my resumé, and if I can potentially hold single classes or maybe even occasionally teach the full 6-week program to help other moms, I’d love to be able to do that.  I also looked into taking my real estate license – sounds like a perfect job – working from home, make your own hours – the only downfall is the instability of having a pay check every couple of weeks.  Then I thought of the possibility of spending more time on my blog, and becoming a “professional blogger” (whatever that means), but it seems like everyone’s doing it these days!  Realistically though, I feel like I don’t have that much to write about, and even if I did, who wants to hear or read about my thoughts anyway?

identity-crisis

I’m still undecided about what I want to do with my life, with my career, and with my identity.  I don’t know if I’m ok with being “just a mom”.  But for now, I’m open to suggestions, and keeping my mind, eyes and ears open for any new opportunities that could arise.  I’m sure there’s new moms out there who are probably going through the same thing that I am, so I thought I’d post about it to show you that you’re not alone in the thought.  I wish I had a more defined ending to this post, but I really don’t, so until I figure it out, wish me luck!