How to Get a Promotion (Without Outwardly Asking)

How to get that promotion you deserve, without even having to ask your bossSo, you’ve been in your role for a while and you feel it’s time for you to move up in the company. You hit the point where your current role is becoming routine and you feel unfulfilled. You’re being a rockstar at your job, hitting all your numbers, and you want others to notice. You know it’s time for that promotion you rightfully deserve.

However, you don’t feel right asking for one. Either you are too shy (we’ve been there!), too scared, or don’t feel close enough to ask your manager for the promotion.

Don’t you wish your hard work and dedication could speak for itself and you could magically be awarded that promotion? Well, it might not be magical, but you can earn that promotion you deserve, and you won’t have to ask anyone for it.

Work Hard

This one is a no-brainer, but it matters. And it needs to be said. Millennials have this stigma as people who don’t work hard in the workplace, and oftentimes, it’s for good reason. Maybe hard work is a lost art, but it doesn’t take that much more energy to put everything you have into something rather than 50% of what you have into something.

Why would you show up to work everyday if you don’t want to put everything you have into it? For one, that makes for really long and boring days. Two, oftentimes your work reputation is the only reputation others may know of you. If you’re not seen positively at work, you may never be seen positively outside the workplace again.

So, take pride in your work. Don’t show up late. Don’t wear sloppy clothes. Tie up all the loose edges of your reports. Be the person who others notice (in a good way!)

Be Indispensable

This might not come as a shock to you, but it helps if you make yourself so needed and so ingrained in work that your coworkers can’t imagine working without you there. This isn’t to say that you need to be overbearing and get your nose into too many areas.

Essentially, find the areas that you can make yours. If not entirely yours, make it so you’re the best and most versed in a certain process that it wouldn’t make sense for anyone to turn somewhere else for answers.

Don’t Take on Too Much

This might sound counter-intuitive, but don’t say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. If your boss is asking for someone to take on a project, think hard about your workload first. Think about if this is something you can challenge yourself with or if it’s just going to cause headache. Don’t be afraid to shy away from a project that you couldn’t juggle with your current workload or a project that wouldn’t work for you.

There is nothing wrong with taking on new projects – please do! – but don’t ever overextend yourself to the extent that you can’t get everything done. Find something challenging enough, but make sure you can perform it with the quality you would perform the rest of your workload.

Don’t be the person who is going to take on “one more thing” because you have the time now, unless you know it’s sustainable for you. If you constantly find yourself working more hours than those around you, it’s not a problem if it’s not affecting your personal life or health. However, don’t burn yourself out. Eventually you will begin to resent your work if you’re taking on too much, and the passion and motivation needed to excel will be gone.

Find Flaws in Current Systems – or Create an Entirely New One

I’m sure whatever field you’re in is using either an outdated process or a flawed one. Maybe you realize something is taking significantly longer than it should. Or you realize that you’re doing the same thing as someone else and your efforts can be consolidated. Think about how you can improve that process. Even if it’s something small and seemingly insignificant. A good manager will take your improvements as initiative and maybe bring more processes your way.

You might work in a highly-regulated field where processes are tight and change isn’t allowed. Think about how to do something your own way. Think about the most effective way to organize your file folders. Optimize whatever process you do often and be proud of it. Whatever you can do to result in a time or money savings for your company, and you’re on the right track.

Pray

If you pray in nearly all aspects of your life, then why wouldn’t you bring God into your career, too? You’d be surprised at God’s timing.

My husband was in grad school and we were both living on my entry level salary. We lived (and still live) rather frugally, and we were paying all the bills and making ends meet. We knew, however, that we didn’t have much wiggle room for any emergencies. So of course, my car broke down. It wasn’t just one time, but several. Each time more expensive than the last. The amount we were paying each month in repairs just to keep it running was significantly more than a car payment would be, and over the course of just a few months, we had paid more in repairs than we paid for the car itself.

So I prayed. I needed something to happen so that we had a reliable vehicle, but we had used up the last of our savings. We didn’t have the money for one, and we definitely didn’t have the money to keep fixing the money pit. A few days before my I-have-to-ask-for-a-promotion-today-or-we’ll-be-living-on-the-streets day, my boss told me I was being promoted. It was 100% perfect timing. None of it would have been possible without God, and I’m so thankful I brought Him into my work life.

And that’s how it should always be. That situation was an excellent reminder to me that I oftentimes leave God at home. But if you’re going through a rough time at work or you’re looking for something positive to happen, seek guidance in Him. Pray. He’ll help you in ways you never imagine. His timing is always perfect.

Improve Your Knowledge

You can’t expect to get a promotion if you are still the exact same person who was hired in the first place. You have to keep on expanding your knowledge. Some easy ways to stay on top of your field include:

  • Find blogs and thought leaders in your industry, and subscribe to them. Take a few minutes each day to scan through the daily posts to make sure you’re staying atop industry trends. If you have more time, dive deep into the posts that interest you. Turn a few of those topics into areas you’d like to master, and run with them.
  • Sign up for free education courses. Webinars can be the best form of education for you in whatever skills you’d like to acquire. They cover a multitude of topics. Or, you can search places like lynda.com, codeacademy.com, etc. that have more specific training in certain areas.
  • Search Google. You’d be surprised what you can find about topics just by digging through Google. Take some time to search Google for terms or processes you’d like to know more about. Know that all sources might not be reputable or helpful, but they could also help you round out your knowledge.

Some Final Notes on Promotions

If it takes a while, don’t lose heart. It may take several months to receive a promotion after you feel you are ready for one.

Sometimes, there just isn’t a promotion to give. Don’t give up. Don’t decide you’re suddenly going to slack off because you can’t move up.

If you really feel like it’s a promotion or nothing, it might be time to move on. Think seriously about if you want to make that move.

If All Else Fails, Ask

Sometimes, you really do have to ask. Sometimes your manager doesn’t notice your hard work or that you want to move up. If you don’t feel okay asking outwardly for a promotion, ask for something smaller first. Ask to be the lead on a project, or to take over the next presentation. Make it very known you want to be in charge of more and want to take on more work. Sometimes, it takes that kind of questioning for your manager to realize you are promotion material.

 

What have you done to help you get promoted?

 

Eryn
Eryn is a digital marketer by trade who gets to play around with websites both for a living and for fun. She loves making things and curling up with a good book. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Kody, and her baby boy.
Eryn on Instagram

Breastfeeding Guilt – Why you Should Stop Feeling bad About Formula Feeding, Part 2

This is part two of a two part series on the guilt moms often experience to breastfeed. Eryn and Kaila each explain their perspectives on the matter in this series.

Kaila

I’ve always been the type of person who enjoys saving money (I mean, who doesn’t?!) Whenever I can find a way to cut costs on something or save some cash, you better bet I’m going to take advantage of it.

You may be wondering what this has to do with breastfeeding. Well, this how my breastfeeding story begins. I honestly entertained the thought of breastfeeding initially because of the cost savings. Virtually free milk for my child versus the expensive cost of formula? Sign me up for the free boobie milk!

Imagine the excitement I felt when I realized I could produce milk. Although it started slow, I was excited to see that amount increase each day after my son was born. In my mind, I kept thinking dollar signs without the slightest understanding of how my milk was feeding my son. I mean, what a miracle. Milk that my body produced was FEEDING and nourishing my son. Women definitely win the “our bodies are stinking awesome” contest.

Admittedly, and selfishly, I didn’t even consider the natural benefits of breastmilk for my son until I had to stop feeding it to him. In fact, the whole act of pumping was very selfish for me all around. I pumped when it was convenient for me (roughly every 3 hours, but sometimes longer if I just wanted to hold my son or take a nap). I ate whatever I wanted (within reason) and never gave it a thought on how what I ate also affected my son. I even decided I would never pump overnight because I wanted to get some sleep.

In summary, I was a selfish first-time mom.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe moms generally are the least selfish people on the planet. We gave up our bodies for nine months to house one of God’s creations. We go through oftentimes painful labor and recovery for our miracle children. We sacrifice sleep and warm meals and our sanity to raise these tiny humans the best we know how.

And yet, considering all of this, I still felt very selfish.

Turning Point

On my son’s ninth day on this planet, he suddenly had diarrhea in all of his diapers and projectile vomited every ounce of milk. For fear of dehydration (and possibly something more serious) we took him to the ER late that night. Test after test came back normal and his diarrhea slowly diminished after a full bag of fluids. We were sent home with a “sometimes that’s just how newborns are” diagnosis and instructions to continue to closely monitor everything for a couple more days.

That answer wasn’t good enough for me, so the next day, I began googling his symptoms to find some answers. Turns out, it could have been just about anything.

However, due to our extended time in the ER and my exhaustion, I hadn’t pumped enough for him to drink my milk the following day. His symptoms were completely gone by lunchtime and we assumed everything was back to normal. However, his final bottle that evening was my milk and the symptoms completely returned suddenly.

After putting two and two together, we realized it was possibly my milk giving him these symptoms. I again began googling possible answers, only to find that an elimination diet would be best to determine what my son wasn’t tolerating from my diet. I began tracking my food intake for the next few days while monitoring his symptoms. I supplemented with formula to help normalize his poops and vomiting.

After several day of eliminating cow’s milk, I saw no change in his symptoms. I decided that was long enough to “try” the elimination diet and that we’d never find out what was wrong. I was tired of pumping and freezing my milk. I was tired of tracking every single thing I ate. But mostly, I was tired of seeing my son miserable after each breastmilk bottle he ate. At that moment, I decided I was done feeding him my milk. He was going to be a formula-fed baby.

Now, I realize many will say I didn’t try hard enough. I completely agree with you. After finding out weeks later he actually had reflux and cow’s milk was just making it worse, I began to regret my decision to stop pumping. In fact, I tried re-lactating twice before I snubbed the guilt I felt from not feeding my child in the way God designed.

Mixed Emotions

To this day, I continue to feel guilty for not trying hard enough. I feel shameful for resorting to formula so quickly. I feel sad that my son isn’t being fed by me. And I definitely feel anger that what I initially began to “save money” turned into something that hurt my son.

If I were to do it all over again, I would have stuck with the elimination diet longer until we found the solution for my son. Or would I?

I cannot describe the freedom I felt from no longer being tied to pumping. I felt tied down to a chair for 20-30 minute sessions, 6-8 times a day. Once I had set up pumping, actually pumped, and cleaned the parts, it felt like that’s all I did. I hardly felt the bond with my son because I was rushing or planning for my next pumping session.

I also cannot describe the joyful feeling of seeing my son truly healthy and happy again. There were no more diarrhea diapers and very little projectile vomiting. He was sleeping so much better during the day because he no longer felt miserable. And I felt better knowing that I wasn’t hurting my son with something I ate.

To say I am completely free of the guilt of deciding to stop pumping would be a lie. I often get a sick feeling in my stomach when I think about the “failure” I have become as a mom.

There is Hope

If I could say one thing to other moms who cannot or choose not to breastfeed their babies, I’d say you’re doing a great job. As a mom of a formula-fed baby, I don’t hear this very often. I hear my fair share of judgments about our (my husband and my) decision from friends and family alike. To be honest, I cannot remember the last time someone other than my husband encouraged me as a mom.

So from one mom to another, you are doing a GREAT job. Keep feeding, loving, cuddling, nurturing, tickling, and snuggling your little one.

Kaila
Kaila is a working mom, blogger, and self-help enthusiast. In her free time, you will find her crafting or playing board games with friends. She loves spending time with her hubby, Matt, and baby boy, Cooper.

What to do When you Feel Like the Only Parent Whose Baby Won’t Sleep

What to do when you feel like the only parent whose baby will not sleep at nightI have a confession to make: my baby doesn’t sleep well. I know, I know, most people have bouts of sleeplessness from their babies. But most don’t have a consistently poor-sleeping baby for months on end. My almost four month old is still sleeping horribly, even though everyone kept telling me it would get better by now.

“If you’re feeding him formula, he’ll be sleeping through the night by two months, tops.” Laughable.

“Just wait until he hits 11 pounds. He’ll sleep much better by then. There is something magical about that weight.” Nope.

“Oh that 12-week mark was the golden age for me. Mine suddenly started sleeping through the night then.” Not even close.

“Once he’s eating 5 or 6 ounces at a time, he’ll be full enough to sleep through the night.” Not us.

It can be so disheartening and lonely dealing with an especially horrible sleeper. I went into motherhood assuming the rough nights would gone before I knew it. Every source I read keeps confirming this for me.

I find that every time someone asks about my little one, it’s related to sleep. And every time, my heart sinks when I have to answer. Common statements include:

“How is your baby sleeping?”

Not well. I don’t know how else to explain it. Drew still wakes up at least twice a night (on really good nights) and it’s usually more like four or five times. A night. Yes, he’s on formula. And oftentimes, he completely finishes his overnight bottles. We’ve tried stretching out the time between feedings with his pacifier, but at most can buy ourselves half an hour longer. After several visits to his room to put the pacifier back that he’s spit out, he becomes angry until he receives his bottle.

“Hasn’t he slept through the night at least once by now?”

Sigh. No. Not even close. I don’t care how you classify “sleeping through the night” – whether it’s a 6-hour stretch or getting up once a night or sleeping 10 hours straight. The best we’ve had was a 4 hour stretch. Two times, I think.

“Have you tried…?”

Sometimes, I’m all about the parenting advice. And for a while, I wanted to know everything there was to know about getting him to sleep better. None of this advice has even made a dent in his sleeping.

“I don’t know how you do it.”

This is by far the most common thing I hear others say once they find out my situation. To be honest, I don’t know, either. I know my days consist of a scary amount of caffeine, and I usually feel like a zombie. My memory is shot, my emotions are all over the place, and my weight keeps creeping upwards.

I went back to work at 8 weeks, when he was still sleeping in only 1.5 hour stretches, and I was certain I would die of sleep deprivation. Those first few weeks of being a working mom were horrible.

It’s getting better. Slowly. But in the meantime, I feel lonely. And tired. And angry. I hear of these parents whose babies “accidentally” sleep through the night. The parents wake up at 6am, confused, and rush into the nursery to find out their sweet little one slept all night long.

Why am I working so hard, setting up a routine, following all the advice, asking all the questions, and yet, he’s no closer to sleeping through the night than before these tactics?

How do I cope?

To be entirely raw here, I don’t cope well. I really don’t. I find that I oftentimes ask God why He would give me a child who doesn’t sleep well. Or, why I can’t figure out how to get him to sleep through the night. Why I can’t even take care of myself enough to do my hair when I see these other mothers who have lost all the baby weight in the first few months postpartum and look like movie stars. Why do I hear of these parents who have babies sleeping through the night at a month? Or even two months? Or three? At this rate, we’re looking at a year.

I’m not allowed to take care of myself, to workout, or even to do much more than survive. And I have a 4 month old. I’m failing as a parent, as a friend, and as a wife. I can’t be me. I haven’t been me since my little one arrived a few months ago.

Why is this happening? Why do I have to go through this? Why me?

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28

 

All things. Even those nights where I have to go to work on less than 2 hours of sleep. All situations are happening as they are meant to.

For some reason, that doesn’t make me feel any better, though. I still find myself sitting in my own self pity, hoping that I’m not the only one dealing with this.

Then I remember the verse I had taped to my mirror in high school:

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

This one. This is the verse I have to remember. Sure, this is more than I can handle. Trust me, it’s more than I can handle. That’s why I’m always breaking down, sobbing, on my drive to work. Or lashing out in anger in the middle of the night with my little one. Because this is too much for me. 

But it’s not too much for God. And when I have God, I can endure it.

Turn to God

Turn to God. Easier said than done, right? It’s so easy for me to get in my own little hole and think about how unfair things are for me. How it’s not right that God is making me deal with this situation. How I have to suffer, and put myself last, and how my marriage is more strained than it’s ever been because we’re so sleep deprived.

But in fact, it’s exactly how it needs to be right now. I’m not always going to know what God has in mind for my family. Honestly, I sure wish I did. I sure wish I knew the date he’d finally sleep through the night for the first time. (or maybe I don’t…it could still be a while out).

What I need to do more than anything is turn to God. I need to keep praying and be in my Bible every single day. It’s tough. More than ever, I want nothing to do with my Bible. If I can’t find time to get a 10 minute workout in, how on Earth can I open up my Bible?

That’ exactly what God wants from me, though. He wants me to feel the strain of being a parent. I’m supposed to come out of this situation a stronger person who is closer to Him than ever before. It’s not all about me. It’s not about me being the same person I was before I became a mom. What would be the point in God providing this little miracle into my life? So I could stick with my selfish ways?

You’re not Alone

If you are in the same boat as me, please remember that you’re not alone. You’re never alone in this. Other parents are going through the same thing you’re going through, even if you feel like you’re in the vast minority. What’s worse, many parents forget the struggles they went through with infants once their children get older. Something about the love and joy you have for your child makes you repress the bad memories. So, even if it feels like others can’t relate, some can.

Trust me, others have been there, too. And guess what? They made it through.

Eryn
Eryn is a digital marketer by trade who gets to play around with websites both for a living and for fun. She loves making things and curling up with a good book. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Kody, and her baby boy.
Eryn on Instagram

8 Phrases Every New Parent Says

Eight things every new parent says

 

Sometimes, you find yourself saying the strangest phrases after you become a parent. Whether you’re saying it to yourself or your child, you find yourself saying things non-parent you never would have expected.

“Don’t chew on that.”

This begins from your baby’s first day in this world. Whether he is chewing on the straps of the car seat, the bib, his hand – it’s always something. Once your little one begins to crawl and walk, it goes to an entirely new and gross level. Because he’s now mobile, it’s something he found on the ground and you don’t even want to take the chance to identify it.

“Please don’t poop on me.”

All parents know what this is like, but non-parents may never think twice about it. Let me assure you, you’ll probably be pooped on. It will likely be while you are in public, running late, and unable to change clothes. Baby poop has a smell like you’ve never smelled before, and it’s nearly impossible to clean all the way up without giving your child (and you) a bath.

“I was looking for that!”

This goes for nearly everything you own. Somehow, your children find a way to get into the very things you need and hide them from you. Or, in your sleep-deprived state with a newborn, you find yourself putting things in strange places. You find baby clothes everywhere – from socks in the pocket of your jacket, to jeans in your purse.

I once found a used burp cloth deep within the sheets of my bed. It had been missing for weeks. I don’t have a clue how it got there, but I assumed it was gone forever. It was quite the find when I discovered it again.

“Is that normal?”

Suddenly, your little one makes a strange sound you’ve never heard before. Or, baby begins producing bodily fluids that are strange colors and consistencies. You find yourself Googling questions multiple times each day once you become a parent, many along the lines of “Is … normal?”. You search for resource after resource, hoping to find some other desperate parent who is in a similar situation or a peer-reviewed article confirming that other babies have done the same thing as yours.

Once you find enough sources confirming you aren’t off your rocker, you begin to relax a little. Until the next unexpected thing happens just moments later.

“Please. Just. Sleep.”

You probably find yourself saying this around 2 am when you walk into the nursery for the 27th time that evening to a wide-awake baby. Obviously, baby doesn’t understand your desperate pleas, but you find yourself on hands and knees begging your child to sleep. You might even try negotiating, asking baby for a little sleep now in exchange for less sleep another night. Whatever the case, you become desperate, and somehow hope that your begging will provide the solution to your baby’s sleeping woes.

“Lord, please give me…”

I don’t think I ever prayed as diligently and honestly as I did right after my child was born. I often find myself asking God to give me the strength to make it through another sleepless night, or the patience to make it through a newborn’s crying fit. Most often, rather, I’m asking for the wisdom to be the mom I need to be, and to make the right decisions for my son. It becomes a natural discussion with God and a normal part of your daily prayers.

“Eh, It’s Not That Bad.”

As I was putting my son into the car for his first doctor’s appointment, he spat up all over himself in the car seat. I grabbed a bib and wiped up what I could, knowing that he would still be covered in spit up. I reasoned it wasn’t that bad, so I kept him in wet clothes, milky white stains and all.

As a new parent, you develop your own threshold of what amount of spit up and other stains warrant an outfit change for you and your child. I’ve gone to Target in 3-day-old spit up jeans and went to dinner in a zip up with a fresh unidentified brown stain. It becomes your new way of life because sometimes changing clothes is just more work than it’s worth.

“Yeah, I’ll have to look into that.”

“Oh your three-month-old still isn’t sleeping through the night? Have you tried positioning him facing Northeast in the crib with his room at exactly 71 degrees, playing this specific lullaby that my grandpa wrote, while you gently rub his head and sing to him?”

Sometimes you receive really good advice. Sometimes, not so much. I find myself telling people multiple times a day, “Yeah, I’ll have to look into that.” It’s my way of saying, “Probably not gonna happen.”

It’s funny how people always seem to have a solution for your particular case, even though you know your child best. Even though you have your own instincts telling you what you’re doing is right. So you’re polite to them, and consider what they are telling you, but sometimes, you just know.

 

What phrases did you find yourself saying often once you became a parent?

Eryn
Eryn is a digital marketer by trade who gets to play around with websites both for a living and for fun. She loves making things and curling up with a good book. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Kody, and her baby boy.
Eryn on Instagram

Yes, I am THAT mom with THAT baby

I never thought I would write these words – I am THAT mom with THAT baby.

You know the type. The mom running through the supermarket while her baby cries the entire trip. The mom that hasn’t heard an entire church service since her baby was born because she’s constantly running out of the service to avoid disturbing others from her baby’s tears. The mom that can’t take her baby to a restaurant without disrupting every else’s meal for an hour.

I have THAT baby that cries. All. The. Time.

The pediatrician first said he had reflux. We tried one medicine, but it only got worse. We took him back to the pediatrician who then told us our son had Colic. Then, we tried another medicine and it seemed to continue to get worse. Our pediatrician told us to wait it out and he’d grow out of it in a couple of months.

I’ve never considered myself a patient person, but “a couple of months” felt like forever.

I love my son. I love spending time with him and playing with him. I love his smiles and cute faces. He is the greatest blessing that I could have ever asked for. But…

There’s a but.

He’s THAT baby. At home, my husband and I do the best we can to relax him and make him happy. But in public, we are seen as those “bad” parents with the screaming baby that never stops.

I’ve always been an introvert. I’m the type of person that hates the attention on me. I’ve now become the person with the baby that grabs all of the attention. I now get social anxiety when I even think about going out in public because I know I’m going to be THAT person with THAT baby. Hours before we leave the house, I worry about where or when he might have another meltdown and who may be present to judge me.

That thinking is destructive and has to stop. But it’s really, really hard to not think that way. Babies cry and oftentimes, they cry in the most inconvenient places. Even still, it’s embarrassing when you are the loudest one in a public place. At least it is for me.

It’s definitely not that we have stopped trying to make our son feel better. I find myself reading article after articls of what doctors suggest to ease my son’s pain. I am constantly sifting through different mom groups on Facebook to see what they have done with their reflux/colic babies. We try to get as much support as we can from our friends who suggest “try this” or “try that” ideas that worked for them. Some things will work some of the time.

Through this very short time, I’ve gained more respect for moms than I ever had before. I’ve learned we are all just trying our best to raise our kids in a nurturing environment in hopes they will grow up to become honest, hardworking adults. And it’s hard. In fact, raising my son has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. Raising kids is very difficult. If you are like me, you constantly battle with doubt that you are doing what is best for your kids. Should he eat this or should he take that medicine? Should we try a different routine before bed? What is the best brand of “fill-in-the-blank” product? The list of questions is endless.

I often find myself in prayer to help me get through the times of doubt. The verse that I’ve relied heavily on is Philippians 4:13:

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

There are days when I have repeated this verse over and over again while I fought back the feelings of inadequacy. I often struggle with feeling “not good enough” to raise a child, especially my son who poses his own set of challenges. This verse has provided me peace in times I felt like there was nothing else I could do.

I hope others have the assurance that they can turn to God during tough parenting times as well. I honestly couldn’t have made it through some of my toughest days with His love and support.

So even though I have THAT baby that cries all of the time, I’m hopeful others out there are as forgiving to me as I have become. I hope they understand that I am just trying my best to take care of my child, just like many of them are as well.

Next time I’m in the supermarket, church, or the movies, and I see THAT mom with THAT baby, I’ll say an encouraging prayer for her. I challenge you to do the same.

Kaila
Kaila is a working mom, blogger, and self-help enthusiast. In her free time, you will find her crafting or playing board games with friends. She loves spending time with her hubby, Matt, and baby boy, Cooper.

Breastfeeding Guilt – Why you Should Stop Feeling bad About Formula Feeding, Part 1

This is part one of a two part series on the guilt moms often experience to breastfeed. Eryn and Kaila each explain their perspectives on the matter in this series.

Eryn

Before Drew was born, I told myself that if I couldn’t breastfeed for whatever reason, I would be fine formula feeding him. After all, both my husband and I were formula-fed, so we knew it was possible for him to thrive on formula.

When I was in the hospital, I began pumping to get my milk in and I noticed I was able to produce – something most females in my family couldn’t do. I wasn’t all that interested in the act of breastfeeding itself and I wanted my husband to have the bonding experience of feeding my son, too. So, I only ever pumped for milk. We bottle fed him breast milk during the day and supplemented with formula at night, which worked out well for us.

Thrush

At my little one’s 2 week appointment, the pediatrician told us he had thrush, a yeast infection in the mouth, that he contracted from me at birth. We put him on medicine to clear it up, but after a few weeks, it wasn’t going away. The doctor prescribed another dose. Yet again, no improvement. We did everything the doctor said and couldn’t seem to get rid of it. Thankfully, it wasn’t negatively affecting his eating so she told us to keep up the treatment and wait it out.

At my 6 week postpartum appointment, I discovered why his thrush lingered: I had thrush, too. I was reinfecting him over and over with my breast milk. Many moms go the route of both mom and baby getting treatment and clearing up at the same time, but because I discovered mine so late, I couldn’t do that. It takes weeks – sometimes even months – for it to clear up in the mother. So even if his cleared up, mine would be weeks later before it went away.

I made the decision right there to stop feeding him my breast milk until I was healed. We knew he was tolerating formula, so we decided to give him that full time for a few weeks.

In the meantime, I had to pump and dump to keep up my supply.

Which. I. Hated.

I hated watching the milk my body worked so hard to produce go right down the drain. I hated hooking up to a machine, oftentimes inconveniently, for my baby to receive no benefit.

This was when I began to lose motivation. I used to be so excited to pump, knowing I provided him “the best” nutrition he could receive. But dumping the milk was making me depressed. My nighttime pumps slowly diminished, as the will to sleep took over the will to keep up my supply.

While this was going on, I felt even more guilt than ever, because for some reason, he was no longer tolerating formula well. I guess it was the mix of breast milk and formula that worked so well for him, but full formula made him uncomfortable, constipated, and all around unhappy.

Back to work

When I went back to work and both of us still had thrush, I had all but completely lost motivation. I had two blocks scheduled at work each day to pump, but after only a week, I dropped it to one. After three weeks, I had given up pumping altogether. What was once a rockstar supply diminished so quickly I couldn’t get it back. By this time, I was pumping and dumping for over a month, and I was all but drained, mentally.

I was happy for my newfound freedom, pump-less. No longer did I have to take my pump with me everywhere and try to schedule my life around it. I could spend more time with my baby than I ever had before. I didn’t have my husband commenting on the weird noises my pump made anymore. Best of all, I didn’t feel like a farm animal hooked up to some machine anymore.

In the same regard, however, I felt such regret. I was meant to provide his food. I enjoyed doing that for him. Looking back now, I think I gave up too easily and should have waited out the thrush a little longer. I even had a pretty stellar supply and probably wouldn’t have needed to supplement for much longer. It’s so difficult not to think that I gave myself some lame excuse to stop pumping because I wanted to be selfish.

It’s not selfish to formula-feed your baby. That is where I fall into the guilt trap.

Formula Feeding: Letting go of the guilt

When I explain my story to friends and family, most say they wouldn’t have waited as long as I did to switch to formula. I was in a crummy circumstance. Had I caught my thrush when I caught my baby’s, it would have cleared up quickly and I wouldn’t have any story to tell. But that didn’t happen. Drew suffered with thrush for over 2 months because of the circumstance. I wish things were different, but they’re not.

I have a happy, healthy, thriving baby boy. He’s (clearly) fed. I put more pressure on myself about this than anyone else in my life, yet I still feel judged.

I think it has to do with my inner dialogue. When I hear someone is formula feeding their baby, I pass no judgement on them. I know all the reasons parents formula feed. Logically, it makes sense. When it comes to me, however, I don’t provide the same grace. It’s not that I’m better than those who formula feed, but I want to be Super Mom. Evidently in my mind, she breastfeeds.

When I have to do this all over again with baby #2, I’ll do things differently. But hindsight is always 20/20. Being a parent isn’t easy. You do the best you can for your child.

I still get a pang in my chest when I hear someone talk about how “breast is best”, because, frankly, I agree. It’s not true, but I am always inclined to agree with it. What is true is fed babies are the best babies.

Fed is best.

Don’t let anyone make you believe differently.

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I found the Fed is Best foundation as I researched for this piece, which strives to make sure all babies are fed, no matter if it’s formula or breast. Head on over and take a look at their mission.

 

Eryn
Eryn is a digital marketer by trade who gets to play around with websites both for a living and for fun. She loves making things and curling up with a good book. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Kody, and her baby boy.
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6 Things No One Tells you about Becoming a Working Mom

Six things nobody tells you about becoming a working mom

 

At some point in our lives, we must all decide what we are going to do professionally after having children. Do we want to stay home and care for our children on our own? Do we want to become a working mom and leave our children with someone else (sometimes even our husbands) during the day? 

Some women have flexible jobs that allow them to spend a couple of days at work and a couple of days at home with their kids. Whatever your situation, you have likely weighed the decision heavily with your husband to decide what is best for your family.

Before my husband and I got married, we carefully prayed about this decision. At first, we disagreed on whether I would stay home or return to work. He liked the idea of me staying home with our kids, while I knew my passion was to help financially provide for our family. Ultimately, we decided I would return to work full-time after our first child and pay to have a family friend watch him at her in-home daycare. 

As a soon-to-be parent, it seems like you receive A TON of advice on how to care for your baby from EVERYONE. Although some of it is great, some of it just, well, isn’t.

This is the advice I wish I had received before I became a full-time working mom.

You’re going to feel guilty a lot – and that’s normal.

You suddenly have to juggle your time between work, your husband, your kids, and most importantly, God. It may feel as though you never have enough time for any of it and everything begs for your attention. You feel guilty that your kids are taken care of by someone else during the day. You feel guilty that your husband now fights for your attention with your kids. You feel guilty that you can’t focus on work 100% like you used to. You feel guilty that your quiet time with God has become shorter or even non-existent. It’s normal to feel this way…and it does GET BETTER. Over time, you make a schedule that works for all of you and you rock it.

People are going to make you feel guilty – and that’s not okay.

Fellow moms at work may make themselves sound like Supermom and it makes you feel, like, super bad. You’ll have people in your life who will tell you it’s God’s design for the woman to stay home. Don’t let these people bring you down. God made you with your unique set of drive, interests, and strengths. He doesn’t expect every mom to stay home full time, nor does He expect every mom to work, either. He expects that whatever we do, make it honoring to Him.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17 ESV. 

You’ll find things important that you never thought you would. 

SLEEP. Sleep can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Every chance you get to catch some sleep, take advantage of it. There’s nothing wrong with taking a personal day off of work to rest and recharge with no kids. This goes hand-in-hand with alone time. Take some time for yourself. Even if it’s just an extra long shower on a Saturday morning when your husband can entertain the kids. Take this time as often as possible.

You’ll treasure every dirty diaper, every cry, and every minute you can spend with your kids.

You learn to treasure the good with the bad. The day that you have to miss that “important” meeting because your kid is sick becomes a blessing when you get a full day of cuddles. The middle-of-the-night feeding for your baby becomes a great bonding time between the two of you. Those little moments that used to frustrate you now become excuses to spend a little more time with your little one.

You see things from a different perspective.

The cold going around the office everyone seems to be catching? When you have kids, you suddenly think about the horrors of bringing that cold home with you. Your coworkers want to get some appetizers after work? You can’t make it because you have to pick up your little ones from daycare. You used to be afraid of missing out when you couldn’t make it, but now you don’t even think twice.

You’ll miss them. A lot.

When I stayed at home over maternity leave, I took my time with my son for granted. Some days, I didn’t even enjoy the time I had with him. Now, I get giddy near the end of the work day because I get to see my little one soon. I can’t wait to hold him, talk to him, and just be with him.

What is some advice you wish you would have received before becoming a working mom? Share your ideas in the comments below! 

Kaila
Kaila is a working mom, blogger, and self-help enthusiast. In her free time, you will find her crafting or playing board games with friends. She loves spending time with her hubby, Matt, and baby boy, Cooper.