Postpartum Depression and Breastfeeding

I have very strong feelings about breastfeeding. It’s not because I’m anti-breastfeeding or anti-formula. In fact, I’m the opposite…I’m pro- women should choose what works best for them and their mental health and sanity during what might be the biggest transition of their lives…motherhood. And no woman should ever be made to feel like she is a failure or a terrible mother because she chooses formula over breastfeeding or even supplements breast milk with formula.

Now I know there are the people who believe that becoming a parent is all about sacrifice. We sacrifice for the well-being of our children and therefore moms should breastfeed no matter what. Well I’m here to call bullshit…because at the end of the day, giving your baby a happy, healthy mommy is just as if not more important than giving your baby breastmilk at the expense of your well-being. What about women who don’t produce enough milk? What about exclusively breastfed babies who don’t gain enough weight? No mom should ever be made to feel bad about how she nourishes her children.

Social media is filled with celebrities promoting breastfeeding. Celebrities not so subtly telling you that breast is best…the only proper way to feed your baby. And it’s not just celebrities…regular women like you and me love to judge and shame moms who choose not to breastfeed. Doctors and lactation consultants lay the guilt on thick for new moms who struggle with the decision between breast milk and formula. None of this is fair to new mothers. Plenty of studies show breastfeeding to be the better option and the same number of studies claim that these studies have no merit…which brings me back to my main point…choose what works for you…because your baby will be fine… and fuck the haters and everyone else.

Here is my breastfeeding story: It’s not a fairly tale.

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Q&A with Suzanne Barston, The Fearless Formula Feeder (Part Two)

Welcome back to my Q&A with Suzanne Barston, The Fearless Formula Feeder. Let’s dive right in because she has some very wise words to share about how moms choose to feed their babies.   

The Pressure to Breastfeed
Because they are told that it’s the most important thing they can do for their babies; that it’s the healthy thing; the RIGHT thing. They see celebrities and role models and their peers celebrating their breastfeeding success, which they have every right to be doing – but we hear more about breastfeeding than any other aspect of new motherhood, so it becomes this measuring stick, this way to compare yourself to others and gauge how you’re doing at this scary new job. Plus, there are some overzealous physicians and lactation professionals out there who really do make it seem like life or death.

The Problem with “Breast is Best”
It’s problematic, because it’s NOT. Breast is the biological way to feed a baby. It is normal, and healthy, and every woman’s right. And yes, breastmilk is a biologically phenomenal substance. But that does not make it best – it makes it great. Best is a subjective term – because what does that even mean? Best nutritionally? Sure, unless your baby is reacting to something in your milk, or you don’t have enough to feed him. Best emotionally? No, not unless it’s what makes you happy and helps you bond, because for some women, the opposite is true.

What About “Fed is Best?”
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Q&A with Suzanne Barston, The Fearless Formula Feeder (Part One)

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, which means our social media feeds will likely be filled with articles and photos about the joys and benefits of breastfeeding. So, I wanted to talk to someone who could share more about the joys and benefits of simply feeding your baby, because there are alternatives and breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. And shouldn’t that be okay?

Meet Suzanne Barston, also known as The Fearless Formula Feeder and author of the book, Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn’t. After experiencing many breastfeeding complications with her son, having postpartum depression and switching to formula (the best decision for her family) only to realize that there was a severe lack of information and way too much judgment when it came to formula feeding, she decided to create a support network for moms who also went the formula route.

Suzanne’s judgement-free advice and determination to change the conversation about how moms choose to feed their babies and the support they should receive are a breath of fresh air. Her work is a testament to the fact that whether a mom chooses breastmilk, formula, or both has everything to do with the right choice for her and nothing to do with how much she loves her baby.

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How Mommy-Friendly Is The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative?

A mom delivers her second child at a local hospital and decides to try formula after her baby girl struggles to latch. She informs the lactation consultant about her decision to feed her baby half a bottle of formula and asks for a remedy for her sore nipples. When the lactation consultant suggests coconut oil, the mom expresses concern over her baby ingesting it while she breastfeeds. The lactation consultants responds, “You already destroyed her gut by feeding her formula. What’s it matter if she has some coconut oil?”

The same mom, who has now been up for over 24 hours, later begs the nurses to take her newborn to the nursery so she can get a few hours of rest. They tell her no, hardly check in on her, and as a result, she falls asleep while breastfeeding her baby. Thankfully, no harm comes to the child. I’m not saying the two are linked, but this mom is diagnosed with postpartum depression shortly after going home from the hospital.

Another mom delivers her first son at the same hospital. During her pregnancy, she makes the decision to both pump and formula feed because she will return to work (her own business) soon after delivery. While getting ready to feed her new baby, the nurse drops off a breast pump and tells her she probably won’t be successful with it, gives her a log and some diapers, and tells her to write down when she changes and feeds him. The mom repeatedly asks for formula and is met with an eye roll from the nurse who tells her she will bring it when she can get to it.

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The Medicated Mommy Mondays Part 4: What Gets Me Fired Up?

Today will be the last of The Medicated Mommy Mondays series. On this last Monday of July, I want to tell you about what fires me up.

  • 1 in 7 moms will have a postpartum mood disorder, but most of us don’t know that.
  • Only 15% of these moms receive treatment.
  • Many moms still feel as if they have to pretend motherhood is easy and amazing all the time.  Read more

The Medicated Mommy Mondays Part 3: What Are My Values?

Happy Monday! Last week I shared all about who I am here for. Spoiler alert: I’m here for you moms! Today I want to talk about my values. Here is what you can expect when you read or hear anything from me, you’re favorite Medicated Mommy.

The Medicated Mommy promises to always be:

AUTHENTIC
The Medicated Mommy doesn’t pretend to be anything other than who she is: imperfect, exhausted, deeply flawed, and a mom who kicked postpartum depression’s ass, pops an antidepressant every morning, sucks at Pinterest, and feels like she is “killing it” on some days while on others hides in her closet crying, binging on cookies, and asking herself, “WTF?“ She’s here to give you the real dirt on everything motherhood, including postpartum depression.

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The Medicated Mommy Mondays Part 2: Who Am I Here For?

I’m back! Today I’m sharing all about who I’m here for.

I’m here for any mom or mom-to-be who wants a real, honest, refreshing, relatable, laugh out loud perspective on the rollercoaster of motherhood. I want to be your best mom friend, the one who tells you the truth. The one who makes you feel like you can share your truth. The one who holds your hand while you struggle. The one who helps you find the path to happy and healthy if you get sick.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of new moms suffer from postpartum depression and feel as if they are crazy and the only ones. Even if you’re not one of these moms, you will still often feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and extremely unqualified for this job. Read more

The Medicated Mommy Mondays Part 1: Why I Do What I Do…

I know it’s summer. If you’re kids are home with you, you’re verging on braindead. You probably don’t want to read anything that makes you have to think to much. There’s a reason they call those books we’ve been downloading “beach reads.”

If you’re like me, it’s hard to motivate for much of anything besides sitting on the couch, sitting at the pool, sitting in the playroom watching my son play airport. Lots of sitting. I thought I would take this opportunity to share more about your favorite Medicated Mommy!

For the next four Mondays, I’m going to be sharing more about who I am and why I write this blog and talk so openly and honestly about motherhood and postpartum depression. I promise to keep it really short. You don’t feel like reading too much. I don’t feel like writing too much. Because…summer…and I have a four-year old to keep busy…

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My First Video Interview: Does Balance Really Exist?

Hey mommas! I’m so honored to share my first video interview with you. Please ignore the messy hair and lack of makeup, but I didn’t have much time to get ready. Four-year olds don’t give a shit about their mom’s appointments and mine decided to move at a sloth-like pace that morning before school. At least I was able to shower so that was a win! I think the lesson the here is that it’s better to show up as you are and accept yourself as you are. Plus, pretending to always be so put together is just way too much effort. And I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted enough as it is. I just don’t have the energy for that.

Anyway, on to the interview. I had the honor of talking to mompreneur Bree Whitlock, founder of The Easy Breezy Way, about achieving balance as a mom and entrepreneur.

I’m not sure balance even exists. Are you? How do you achieve balance as a mom? Let me know in the comments!

5 Lessons Celebrity Moms Can Teach Us About Maternal Mental Health

In the last several years, more and more celebrity moms have opened up about their struggles with postpartum depression. They are women who look like they have it all. They are women we assume live perfect lives as they travel on private planes with their personal chefs and glam squads. They are women we would never think could have any problems because why would they? They are beautiful, famous, and wealthy enough to afford anything they want, including teams of baby nurses, nannies, and other child-care services that make a mom’s life easier.

They are also women you didn’t know struggled with mental health issues in their first year of motherhood because they kept it secret. They are women who became moms and had no clue that motherhood didn’t always come easy. Moms who didn’t know what was happening to them when they didn’t experience the magic of motherhood portrayed by the movies and TV shows they act in. Moms who didn’t admit they suffered from postpartum depression until after they made it through to the other side. Most importantly, they are moms who can teach all of us some valuable lessons about maternal mental health and why we must keep the conversation about this very serious, even life-threatening issue going.

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