Beckett Smith

LUNCHTIME — Brittnee Smith's son, Beckett, drinks breast milk from a bottle. Smith was unable to breastfeed, so she pumped milk instead.

Breastfeeding. It can be a controversial topic. I’m going to stop here and now to tell you my stance: Fed. Is. Best. However you feed your baby, if it’s straight from mom, if you can pump four ounces or 20 ounces into a bottle, if you have to buy store-bought formula – Feed. Your. Baby. Healthy, fed babies are most important.

Beckett Matthew Tay Smith born Oct. 11, 2018. My miracle In-Vitro baby was also a tongue thruster. Do you know what that is? Neither did I until it was time to breastfeed. I had read all of the books, took all the classes, had the best supports Target registry could buy to help me breastfeed. Do you know how much that helped? Zero when you have a tongue thruster. I didn’t know what to do. My perfect plan of breastfeeding was out the window. My baby wasn’t going to thrive because I couldn’t give him the best nutrients a mother could create.

I was in the hospital lost, defeated, and scared. I tried everything I could to get this tongue thruster to latch (yes, he went by “tongue thruster” instead of Beckett for his first two days on this earth.) He lost 10 percent of his body weight when the nurse ripped me from my sleep in a pani,c asking me what to do. Did I want to borrow breastmilk from the reserve of someone I didn’t know that may or may not be covered by insurance, or did I want to give him formula immediately! Ahhhh.

Yes, ma’am, I would like for my child to be fed. Let’s start with the easiest solution here. Feed him some formula, and I will try to pump. We will go from there. Not my original feeding plan, but I think I could swing it.

Within the week, formula-fed, tongue-thrusting Beckett had gained back all of his weight and then some. I was pumping double what he was eating, and he was back on track. My formula baby was just as perfect as any breastfed baby. Pros and cons to each, sure, but sometimes, as mothers, we don’t have a choice. We do what we can to keep our children happy and healthy.

I had support of those around me to try to breastfeed but to also know when it’s time to try something different. Here I am 10 months later, just finished my last pumping session with Beckett yesterday, and we are supplementing him with half breastmilk/half formula until he’s a year old.

So what do you do when you don’t know what to do? You do what’s best for you and your baby, and you utilize your prenatal specialist for those random questions or roadblocks that come up. You are never alone; that is the beauty of the prenatal program and supports at Bona Vista. We support you from the day you walk through our doors, and you’re a friend of ours for life.

If you’re not familiar with the prenatal program or the specialists at Bona Vista, let me tell you a little bit about the program (and why pregnant/new mommas will want to take advantage of it).

• It doesn’t cost you a penny – yes, you read that right!

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• You can meet other expectant mothers – there’s solidarity in knowing that you’re not alone!

• You can call a prenatal specialist during business hours with questions or concerns (Monday through Friday) – even if you don’t have an appointment!

• You can attend optional monthly meetings with guest speakers from the community and bring the father-to-be.

• Some of the aforementioned resources can provide complimentary pack and plays, car seats or safety items for your home. We are a free program offering free resources!

• You can learn about our other early childhood programs for post-delivery – but you aren’t obligated to use them!

• You can be on another prenatal program through another agency and still be a part of ours – we really do just want to help you!

• We aren’t judgmental – life is hard, but parenting can be even harder. We get it!

Bona Vista has two prenatal specialists – Rebecca Ashenfelter and Vicki Petrowsky – who can meet with you at our center or in your home. All you have to do is call 765-457-8273 and ask for Rachael Lisby, family service specialist. She will set you up for a time to come in and fill out the quick application, talk to you a little more about the program, and get you started.

I tell you my story and give you all of this information because parenting is no joke. It’s hard work. If we can make it easier for just one person, we want to do that. There’s currently no wait list for the prenatal program, so call soon!