I originally wanted to share an article about transitioning baby from breast to bottle and was floored by how none of the articles that I came across touched upon introducing formula into baby’s diet. Naturally, this made my blood boil since I naively thought that the universe had come to terms with the fact that not all women are able to successfully breastfeed for the entire first year of their baby’s life. So, I changed my mind. I am going to share my perspective and experience, which I feel may resonate more with many mothers rather than the extremely biased articles available online that some of us seem to rely on way too much! No, I am not a Doctor, but what I do know is that I am mother of 2 and an aunt to 6 nieces and nephews who’s mother’s each had their own unique experiences with breastfeeding and formula feeding.
This is mine….
When my son was born, I was determined to breastfeed him. According to myself and the nurses in the hospital, he was doing great – that was until is weight began to yoyo in the first 2 weeks of his life. As a new mother I was stressed beyond belief, crying my head off and taking all the help I could get (but not necessarily listening to all of the advice I was given). Why was I doing this to myself? And my baby? Why couldn’t I just think clearly and allow myself to take part in the most obvious solution and supplement my son with formula? Why did I feel so guilty when it would be much worse for my son’s health if I persisted to only give him breastmilk when it clearly wasn’t sufficient enough for him? Thankfully, I finally came to my senses and began topping him up after each feeding until he was 6 months old and was solely transitioned to formula feeding, along with solid foods. This worked great for him. He was growing and thriving and I had no complaints because instead of creating a fussy unsatisfied child, he is the happy and content little man that he is today – and that makes me happy.
Fast forward 19 months – my daughter was born 3 weeks early at only 5lbs 7oz. This happened because my placenta was not delivering the nutrients she needed to bulk up in the last month of my pregnancy. I was terrified, but I was advised by both my OB and family physician that she is better off outside my belly, where she could be fed. Once again, I was determined to breastfeed – and even though I was told she may not take the breast well – she took it right away. My daughter was exclusively breastfed until recently when I began to realize that my body was not producing enough milk to satisfy her growing appetite. I am now in the process of transitioning her from breastmilk to formula. Now, before you start calling bullshit on me – I tried many ways to boost my supply – teas, pumping like a mad woman, diet changes, trying to get her to nurse longer, but there comes a point when you need to solve the problem before you create one and that is what I have decided to do! So, why was I able to breastfeed my son longer than I have been able to breastfeed her? Is it my diet that caused this to happen? The thyroid problem I have been controlling for the last 3 years? Or the fact that my period came back just 2 months after giving birth? Whatever it is, all I know is that I want to do what I feel is best for her.
Becoming a mother is already a life altering experience filled with an abundance of both physical and emotional changes you could have never prepared yourself for. Every baby has different needs and every baby develops at their own pace. This is why we can’t always rely on the crazy amount of advice people throw at us. To all of you new mother’s out there, I stress that you make decisions based on what YOU feel is best for your baby and for your own sanity. THIS IS NOT A SELFISH ACT! Your baby will still love you, cherish you and bond with you even if you could not feed them straight from your breast! Trust me!
Feel free to comment below if you have an experience you would like to share. Maybe we can create a hub of experiences that we can all relate to and even help a new mother feel better about her decisions. We all know how hard it can be. Let’s do what we can to support each other.
Until next time… 🙂