I Learned To Prioritize My Well-Being Alongside My Baby’s and Shed the Suffocating Cloak of Societal Expectations and I was able to rebrand motherhood for myself

By Tina Cartwright, Founder of Rebranding Motherhood

My journey through childbirth and early motherhood was far from easy, but it was undeniably transformative. It taught me the importance of resilience, self-compassion, and the power of community in navigating motherhood’s most profound challenges. Before reaching this undeniable truth, my birth trauma thrust me into an arduous journey as I entered motherhood.

Birth trauma is tricky because society would love to put a clean, simple definition on it.  However, trauma is defined by the individual and what that experience led you to feel afterward. For me, my birth trauma started when I first held my baby. The elusive bond between mother and child didn’t materialize instantaneously for me, unlike the glossy portrayals Hollywood and social media would suggest.

This sanitized imagery further claimed I would be overwhelmed, almost washed over with the deepest levels of instant joy and admiration for my new baby. Within seconds of this stark realization hitting me,  I instantly began a silent inner panic that never quieted until I was ultimately diagnosed with PMAD (postpartum depression) and started a formal treatment plan.

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Nurse Takes Formula Away From Parents Who Were Trying to Feed Their Hungry Baby In The Hospital

My feeding journey was not at all what I envisioned for my little one and me. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I heard stories from my mom that she never used a bottle with my brother and me. When I researched breastfeeding, parents were told how wonderful and natural it is. I believed breastfeeding would come naturally. 

The day my son was born was a whirlwind. I had to have a c-section due to complications, but we were so excited to meet him. The first few days, I tried to get him to latch on, and he would stay for a little while and then unlatch. I felt uneasy that he wasn’t getting enough colostrum, but the medical staff told me I was doing great. My husband and I were so focused on getting breastfeeding down that I forgot to get pictures of me and my little one. My focus was getting him fed the right way. Sometimes, nursing hurt so much that I would dread it when it was time for feeding. The on-site lactation consultant came the day after the c-section. She was with me for an hour and told me everything was wonderful! 

After she left, my baby would cry, and I knew something wasn’t right. My husband and I decided it was time to ask for formula. When we asked, the nurse kept asking us if we were sure. As first-time parents, we questioned if we were doing the right thing.

I was so exhausted and needed rest that my husband decided to feed my little one formula. Another nurse came in and said, “Dad! Don’t! Breastfeeding is the way! Don’t do that to your little one. Your wife is doing great.” She grabbed the formula from my husband’s hands and stashed it in a cabinet. My husband and I looked at each other in shock, and I tried to breastfeed again.

We were discharged on a Friday, and over the weekend, my son cried a lot, and I thought he might be a fussy baby. On Monday morning, we saw that my son had orange urine in his diaper. I lost it. I remember holding him and crying, blaming myself. We went to the doctor’s office and were told that he was dehydrated. He also lost a lot of weight, more than he should have, and my doctor suggested it was time to supplement my baby with formula. 

Then came the day that changed my mental health forever. 

After that, I cried for hours, and I could not get over the guilt. I kept thinking: “Why didn’t I know he was hungry or not getting enough? How could I have let my baby starve?” The guilt stayed with me for months and was the catalyst for my debilitating postpartum depression and anxiety diagnosis. 

After that, I became obsessed with feeding my son. I would write down how many ounces of formula or breastmilk he had and at what times. I no longer breastfed, but I pumped, so I knew exactly how many ounces he was consuming. Even when he was a few months older, I would still wake him up to feed him because I thought he would become dehydrated again. I hated when my little one would cry because it would be a reminder of the terrible weekend of his life, and I would break down, and I would cry.

My husband and I hope to have another little one, and I know what I would do differently. I feel guilty that my little one had a rough start on his feeding journey, but I try to remember that we were both learning and following the advice of medical professionals in the hospital. 

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Fed is Best  Foundation and their work. I honestly don’t know what would have happened to me without finding your support community. I got so emotional writing my story.  Thank you for being there for mothers and babies.



FREE infant feeding resources:

Knowing if Your Newborn is HUNGRY and Needs Urgent Evaluation / Supplementation – Fed Is Best

Safe Infant Feeding Resources (fedisbest.org)

Fed is Best Feeding Plan – Updated 2024 – Fed Is Best

Pre-order our new book being published June 25th, 2024 : Fed Is Best Book – Fed Is Best Book

The Process of Healing from Infant Feeding Trauma, Guilt, and Shame: When You Wanted to Breastfeed, but Couldn’t – Fed Is Best

How to Breastfeed During the First 2 Weeks of Life – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Dangers of Insufficient Exclusive Breastfeeding Presented at the First Coast Neonatal Symposium – Fed Is Best

Contact Information – The Fed is Best Foundation



Frequent Feeding VS Cluster Feeding: How to Know If Your Baby Is Being Adequately Breastfed Before Lactogenesis II

Frequent breastfeeding and cluster feeding are often used interchangeably, creating confusion for parents. This educational blog will help parents clarify the differences between the two.

What are the differences between frequent breastfeeding and cluster feeding before lactogenesis II for newborns?

Frequent Feeding-Newborn babies feed frequently (every 2-3 hours) before lactogenesis II, the onset of copious milk production. Frequent feeding is expected and normal. 

Cluster Feeding-Cluster feeding occurs after the arrival of lactogenesis II and is defined as a series of short feeding sessions lasting 2-3 hours daily. 

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine supplementary feeding protocol states cluster feeding before lactogenesis II requires a prompt evaluation to determine if the baby is getting enough colostrum. 

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Are Ounces Counted Before Or After Mixing Powdered Formula With Water?


The answer is yes; ounces are counted after mixing the water and powdered formula.  Let’s talk about why.

Calculating accurate total volume intake is important for all babies.

  • Parents need to know how much their baby consumes to be sure they are trending accurately on their growth charts.
  • If a parent is not calculating the formula mixture properly, they may unintentionally overfeed their baby, thinking they need more formula intake.
  • Babies requiring careful intake calculation, such as preemies or medically complex babies, must account for accurate caloric intake for optimal growth and development.

Regarding nutrition, infant formula and human milk have an 87 percent water content, a very important part of your baby’s diet. In a powdered formula recipe, both the water and the powdered formula contribute calories and fluids. 

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What Does Fed Is Best Mean?

The phraseology of Fed is Best is frequently misinterpreted, and we want to clarify what it means to our readers. Nutritionally speaking, “fed” refers to the absorptive state or the first stage of nutrition, in which a baby receives adequate nutrition to maintain optimal bodily functions and achieve healthy growth and development. 

Fed is best means a baby can achieve this fully fed state required to thrive from two clinically-approved sources of nutrition. One is human milk, and the other is infant formula.

Source: Science Simplified, May 13, 2020, Biology/Physiology, Video focused on details of Fed State of Metabolism.

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