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Dear Crissy - Life, blogged.

I am a Similac StrongMoms Ambassador

I was recently selected as a Similac StrongMoms Ambassador, and while I’m really excited to blog about my experience with Similac’s useful Baby Journal iPhone app, I wanted to speak to you all for a moment about my very personal breastfeeding experience. I mean, I think it’s only fitting.

Keep reading to learn more about Similac’s StrongMoms Baby Journal App!

When I was pregnant with my son, I knew two things with unwavering certainty. One, that I would deliver naturally, and two, that I would breastfeed my child. When I say that I knew, I mean that my mind was set, my heart was steady, and I really believe that every cell in my body and spark in my soul, were convinced. I was on board. I was ready to rock and roll. I had the nipple cream on standby.

Then, after months of being assured by doctors that my little breech boy would probably turn, and doing everything including standing on my head to facilitate that, I was in labor, and he was trying to come out feet first.

Certainty number one? Dashed. I had a c-section, which is a blog post chock full of disappointment and heartache for anther day. Of course, I still had certainty number two. Breastfeeding was something I could control, and I was ready to feed this kid!

You see where this is going, right? I will let you read more about why breastfeeding didn’t work for us in the original post, but I will say, there are many reasons women may not breastfeed. The reasons are varied, sometimes complicated, but always personal. There is no blogger (and I like this one), no activist, no commenter or outspoken Twitter user that can inflict a pain on me deeper or more profound than the absolute agony that I put myself through when I failed to breastfeed my child, but if you want, you can give it your best effort.

After a month of struggling, crying, pumping, and eventually waving the white flag (we made it one month, and I am very proud of that), I decided something pretty important.

I decided that, in fact, while breastfeeding wasn’t working, my son still needed to eat.

I am still on board with breastfeeding. I view it as the first, best, and most obvious choice. I mean, duh, right? Duh. When I have another baby, I will use the knowledge and experience that I gained the first time around, and do my best to make breastfeeding successful. I think that mothers who breastfeed are amazingly wonderful and beautiful, and I envy all of you. I still have hope that we can make it work longer, next time.

That said? I am pretty sure my Similac-fed kid is going to be OK. I mean, if you consider off-the-chart growth and crazy-smart, OK. I call it freaking awesome, but that’s just me. Having Similac Isomil cans stacked in the cupboard was a part of my parenting reality for 12 months. Do you know what that makes me? It just makes me Crissy. A mom who tried to breastfeed, and ended up bottle feeding. A regular mom, trying as hard as she can to raise a good, healthy kid. A woman, who felt certain, but encountered bumps. Listen, I’m just trying to do my best, like you.

More About the Similac StrongMoms Baby Journal

Now, back to my original purpose here. I’m really (believe it or not!) here to tell you about Similac’s StrongMoms Baby Journal iPhone App. Whether you breastfeed, or bottle feed, this application is an extraordinarily intuitive and useful way to track important information about your newborn.

Similac StrongMoms iPhone App

Do you remember after having your first baby, being told by your nurse that keeping a journal of feedings, diapers, and sleep habits was a good idea? I was a nervous wreck when I brought Evan home from the hospital, because as a rookie mom, I had no idea how much he should be eating, how many times a day he needed to be wetting and dirtying diapers, and how much sleep was normal.

For some moms (and at the instruction of many doctors, and nurses) tracking and journaling after bringing baby home is a very valid and helpful way to have an overview of what’s going on with this new person, this new life. For moms who are anti-schedule, or don’t believe journals are a useful way to learn, well, you’re one up on me. Heck, maybe you’re two or three up on me, but that’s one of the beautiful perks of being a grown woman. We can make choices that we feel are going to work best in our particular situation. Can I get three cheers for parenting the way I see fit? A high-five? How about an Amen?

I tried to be diligent about keeping that paper journal when I brought him home, but I was so exhausted after having Evan, that I really sort of flunked out early on this task. If I would have had the Similac StrongMoms Baby Journal App, I am sure that I would have used it much more, and much longer.

For those of you who breastfeed, check out this wonderful breastfeeding journal. You can easily set a timer to track feeding times and breast used.

One thing that I would suggest to Similac for improvement, is the addition of a clock showing the current time that can easily be accessed without having to close the application.

I also really love the growth tracker, and generally, being able to have an overview of your baby’s trends thanks to easy to understand visual graphs is really amazing.

I will definitely be recommending this app to my friends who are new moms, and want to keep a journal of their baby’s schedule. I think that it is a great tool, and one that I will certainly use if I have another baby.

Disclosure: I was compensated to provide my honest thoughts on Similac’s Baby Journal App, and for participation in subsequent projects as part of a campaign through Collective Bias. It’s funny, I write a lot of these disclosures, and this is the first time I’ve ever felt compelled to become conversational. This topic, and this company specifically, have been key in my early experience of motherhood, even though neither were in the plan.

***

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67 Comments

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  1. February 24, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

    What an awesome app! I sucked at remembering which breast I nursed from previously. LOL

    I had a similar experience with breastfeeding. Unfortunately, both times. I have PCOS and my babies just wouldn’t grow on breastmilk alone. My hormones are so messed up that it just wouldn’t work out. Not for lack of trying though. (I did make more milk the second time though. They say you produce more with each child)

    You know what though? If I do have a third child, I will still attempt breastfeeding. I do not regret either attempt at breastfeeding, and in fact I treasure the memories of our (short) nursing relationships. The intimacy of nursing is something that I think every mother should experience. Breastfeeding is best, so I think all moms should give it a shot.

    However, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. A happy mom and baby is more important than a baby with failure to thrive and a mom who is miserable. Formula is a valid alternative. Not rat poison, not even necessarily inferior. Breast is best, but formula isn’t the end of the world. Feeding my children formula made them grow big, strong and smart.

    Thanks for sharing your experience Crissy.

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  2. February 24, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    I am sad when I hear that ANY mother has felt disappointment, frustration, inadequacy, or shame because of the way they either CHOSE to or HAD to delver/feed/raise their babies. Love comes first, and there is love in feeding a baby a bottle, just as much as there is in feeding a baby breast milk.

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    • February 24, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

      I’ve been a nursing mother and a bottle feeding mother and no matter what it seems people will try to tell you that what you are doing is wrong, judge you, and say not so nice things by way of ‘advice’. The problem I think comes from how we feel internally, like Crissy said-the pain you inflict on yourself is the worst.

      The only way around it is through it, and thankfully the more kids I’ve had, the easier it has become to ignore the judging. Of course I wouldn’t recommend that path to everyone. ;)

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      • February 26, 2011 @ 9:33 am

        Kelly, you know, experience must be the key to ignoring the judging, because I have gotten stronger even over the past 18 months. I know that it will all be so much easier with number 2! Thanks for commenting.

  3. February 24, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

    First son…..both as he was a preemie and had no suck…he was tube fed for a few weeks and onto breast milk in a bottle….learned to nurse and when I returned to work and began pumping ,it was so so for a bit and onto a bottle

    Second son, sole nursed and went to cup at 6 months and finished nursing at 12 months. I left him for 8 hrs to bottle feed with my mom and he would not do it…..

    They are not almost 16 and 13

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  4. February 24, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

    As I’ve stated in another post, my children were both formula fed without shame. Breastfeeding was not for me. That said, I bought the very best soy formula I could find for my kiddos which just happened to be Similac.

    My heart breaks for you, but you know what? You are still an awesome mom…whether you breastfed or not. We all are.

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  5. February 24, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

    I think it is great that you are able to be able to open up and share such a personal experience. I am on my fifth month of breastfeeding and the beginning was absolute torture. I was glad to have some Similac in the cupboard because she did end up having a few bottles and has had some since. :)

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  6. February 24, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

    Really heartfelt post, Crissy. You don’t have to feel that you need to justify your actions. We all enter into motherhood with the best of intentions but you know what? Sometimes my kids eat mac ‘n cheese from a box (organic, obv). Other times they eat cookies – TWICE in ONE day!!! (call the parenting police!!) Point is, we do our best and when our best laid plans don’t work out, we figure it out. I’m a big proponent of doing what works, because forcing something that’s just not happening leads to disaster.

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  7. February 24, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

    Well said. I also tried to breastfeed but ultimately went to formula. No application or “evil formula company” made me quit – in the end, it was me that made me quit. Nothing else. Me. My 1 year old was formula fed from 3 weeks to 10 months (whole milk after that) and she is absolutely fine.

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  8. February 24, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

    Crissy you are amazing! You gave it your best shot and you have a very healthy little boy because of it! I don’t get why people harp on women who can’t breastfeed when there are women out there who are starving their children! It’s such a sad world we live in.

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  9. February 24, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    I had to bottle feed my daughter. My issues were very similar to yours expect my daughter was not breach (I didn’t dilate past 1 cm). Also my daughter has PKU so it was impossible for the doctors to monitor how much she was taking in as well as what was in the breast milk. Also she was 4 weeks early and we had issues with latching on. It was devastating to me, at the time, but now it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that my daughter is happy and healthy. And she is pretty damn smart too!

    On a side note I was one of those pregnant women that judged other women for not breastfeeding and I am so ashamed of myself for it. You just never know what the universe is going to throw at you! I even wrote about it. http://www.randomblogette.com/?p=1340

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  10. February 24, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    The politics of breast or bottle aside, every mother has a responsibility to give her baby the best of what she is able to provide. Some mothers overcome extraordinary circumstances to breastfeed their baby. Other mothers overcome extraordinary circumstances and formula feed their babies. While we all know that breast is best and it should be our first option, we also know that life isn’t perfect. Fortunately, we live in a time when alternative options are available, and our babies aren’t dying from hunger. We as mothers should unite over the fact that we want the best for our babies and our families, no matter what we choose. Isn’t that the only unifying, unchanging factor there is, after all?

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  11. February 24, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

    There is absolutely no reason you should beat yourself up about feeding your child with formula. Society, and especially all the other self-righteous moms out there, makes judgments on everyone no matter what choices we make. Society also holds moms especially to unrealistic expectations. We all need to do what is best for ourselves and our child.I never wanted to breastfeed and you couldn’t’ get me to try. I wanted my body back and i wanted the ability to feel like a singular humanbeing again. We do not live in the third world where formula is nonexistent or possibly tainted so that breastfeeding is really the only healthy alternative for our children. You are entitled to make choices for your child throughout their lives without feeling guilty or being belittled. The irony of all of this is that suddenly when women are becoming more independent and more productive members of society outside the sphere of the home, somehow society found a way to tether us to a breastmilk pump to prove that just because we are intelligent and educated somehow we can still be “real” mothers.

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  12. February 24, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

    I tried to breastfeed, but when I was younger I had breast tissue removed from under my arms – very strange, but when my breasts filled up with milk so would under my arms and it became unbearble…so unfortunately I could not – I pumped for 1 month and then jsut couldn’t stand the pain. My babies are formula fed – strong, healthy and smart! ♥

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  13. February 24, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

    That’s a really cool app! I hope that they come out w/ an Android version before we have our eventual next kid.

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  14. February 24, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

    Can I just say how jealous I am of the technology that is available now? I wish I had apps and an iPhone when I had my babies!

    Having our kids at a birth center meant we had classes to tell us what we should be monitoring after the baby came home (a mere 4-6 hours after birth). I really wish more hospitals and care providers would offer that info-it was definitely scary with out first, but knowing the birth center staff and nurse were a phone call away helped.

    I personally wouldn’t use this particular app, because there are other apps not tied to a formula company available, but that’s my personal choice. I would rather not be marketed to by formula companies. If you need formula for your infant (as my 2nd child did due to a genetic disorder) you can easily find it, and we never bought name brand since the store bought brand was the same (only cheaper). ;)

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  15. February 24, 2011 @ 2:23 pm
    Alisha.S.

    IMHO, a baby needs to eat wether that be breast or bottle. I cannot STAND when a mother who BF her child looks down on a mother who is bottle FF her child. I mean really?? It is each to their own when it comes down to it. We are all mothers and we do what we need to do for our babies. They HAVE to eat. That being said, I was able to breatfeed (and still am) but if I couldn’t then what else are you to do? I can honestly say that after 2 weeks I was ready to give up. I couldn’t handle ALWAYS being the one who had to get up at 2am to feed or wasn’t able to do something cause I knew that baby would need to eat again.(I was a very lousy pumper – never really liked it anyways) but after another attempt we both got the hang of it. I’m all for BF but if you are unable or choose not to then that’s your choice. No one should ever make you feel bad about your decision, nor should you feel like you failed. Crissy you did what you needed to do for your handsom little guy. Like you said, he’s a happy and healthy, what more could you ask for? :)

    xo

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  16. February 24, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    I didn’t breastfeed my first but with my second I had my heart set on it and I did it. We did it!

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    • February 26, 2011 @ 9:33 am

      Thanks for commenting, Kristin. Hope my second go around works out like it did for you!

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  17. February 24, 2011 @ 2:26 pm
    Becky Shattuck

    I nursed my son for fourteen months. I agree that breast milk is the best, but it is not worth the stress and frustration for mom and baby if it doesn’t work out.

    There were big advantages and disadvantages to nursing. One, when he woke up at night, the milk was instantly ready and available. There was no sterilizing or mixing or heating. Two, I never had to carry a diaper bag with me (I’d just stick a couple diapers and a bag of wipes in my purse). Travel was SO MUCH easier and convienent. Of course, the bonding is indescribable, and the nutrition and immunity is excellent.

    There were disadvantages, too, though. My son would NOT take a bottle. We tried desperately for a long time, and it was very difficult for me. I had to be there for every single feeding. At three months, he was still nursing every two hours, so I couldn’t step away from my son for more than two hours at a time. Sometimes, the stress of that caused me to cry. It was difficult to know that I could never go to a movie with my friends or just get away for an afternoon. At six months, he was nursing every 3 hours. By eight months, I’d taught him to drink from a cup. It was a miracle the first time my husband and I could go out on a date night!!!! He continued to wake up at night for a nursing until he was 13 months old, so there were no nights with grandparents or anything like that. He was NOT easily weaned. At 14 months old, he still wanted to nurse every 3-4 hours. I’d push him to wait with other food and drink and distractions, but he only wanted to nurse. Finally, I decided the only way to “wean” him was to stop cold turkey. That was two months ago, and I feel a bit relieved to not have him nursing, but I plan on nursing our next baby.

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  18. February 24, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

    Interesting app. My kids are older now, but if I had babies still I’d probably use that. My first daughter was 10 weeks early. She was in the NICU for 6-1/2 weeks. I pumped the whole time she was in the NICU & brought my milk to them to use. By the time she got home, she was so used to a bottle that she wouldn’t switch to the breast & it was too stressful to try to pump while she was hungry, so we switched to formula around 7 weeks old. I lasted about 2-1/2 – 3 months with our second daughter. She kept getting really gassy with my milk no matter what I ate, so I gave up with her & switched to formula right around 3 months if I remember right. I wish I had more patience to do both of them longer, but I’m glad I was able to do at least something with breast milk for both of them.

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  19. February 24, 2011 @ 2:41 pm
    January B

    I wasn’t able to breastfeed, although I, too had my heart set on it. My little boy just wouldn’t latch. We tried and tried for 2 days in the hospital, and I became so frustrated and upset! I didn’t have the money for a breast pump, so my son grew up on Similac. He’s very smart, very strong, very healthy, and very happy.

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  20. February 24, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

    if you have any contacts within similac, see if they have a timeframe for an android port of this application, perhaps with support for twins and easy sync’ing of the data between two phones.

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