It’s a subject I’m passionate about.
I’m not a breastfeeding Nazi but I certainly do not believe in using formula or supplementing unless medically necessary.
By medically necessary I mean it’s a life or death situation.
Breastfeeding is hard.
We had latch issues.
He/she is lazy.
Pumping is time consuming.
With Jellybean being born 5 weeks early weighing 3 lbs 2 oz and getting transferred to the NICU in another hospital – I didn’t get my dream of putting him to breast immediately after birth.
Instead he was whisked off by respiratory for an evaluation and then was in the nursery while I was in recovery. Then I waited for the transport team to come wheel him in before he got moved.
In that time I had already requested a breast pump. I began pumping before I had even seen him. The transport team took some precious liquid gold with them there. I continued pumping every two hours. Even though I had just been sliced open and every movement hurt. When my nipples started to hurt and crack from the pump they brought me some Lansinoh and I kept going. My husband shuttled back and forth between the two hospitals for two days so that my milk could be put in his feeding tube.
Once at the Ronald McDonald house I kept pumping every two hours, around the clock. I was exhausted but determined. We worked with an LC in the hospital but he tired quickly as most preemies do. So I kept pumping and we kept giving bottles. I agreed to allow limited supplementation of formula for calories only. It was mixed with my breastmilk, a half ounce every other feeding.
Once we were released I continued pumping, every three hours, around the clock. In addition to attempting to nurse him and taking care of him.
There were days my lunch sat uneaten at 5pm when Joey walked through the door.
I was still in my jammies.
And a stockpile of milk in our freezer.
It took five weeks for the Jellybean to finally start latching on. Yet I continued pumping preparing for my return to work. Every three hours. He would play, eat, sleep. I would pump in between. By six weeks we stopped the formula supplementation as it was aggravating his reflux.
Shortly after starting day care – Jellybean began refusing bottles and started reverse cycling. While I worked full time. And had to keep pumping to maintain my supply.
If it sounds like I’m complaining about any of this – I’m not.
We’re still breastfeeding at 20 months. It wasn’t easy any where along the way.
Issues come up constantly –
Overactive let down.
Changes in latch.
Not sleeping through the night until 16 months old.
Not once, in all that did I think – Man I wish I had some formula.
In fact, I gave away the formula that the hospital sent home with us. Then any free samples they shipped my way.
Coupons that printed at the register – I told them to keep them for someone who needed them. No need to bring the temptation around.
You can be successful at breastfeeding but it takes support. Most hospitals and birthing centers have groups that meet. La Leche is a good source. Most pediatricians have LC’s on staff – but make sure your office truly is supportive of breastfeeding and not just giving you lip service.
It’s not an easy process but it is possible. Don’t give yourself the option of failing and don’t second guess yourself. There are conditions which may seem overwhelming but formula is not going to fix them. Poor weight gain, jaundice, reflux – none of those are immediate grounds for formula use.
You can make your breastmilk have more fat by pumping and skimming the fat that gathers at the top of the bottle and adding it to another bottle. Only feeding off one breast at a time helps with both weight gain and reflux. Diet changes and eliminations can help with reflux. Jaundice is normal in kids. Most have it to some degree. Monitoring diapers, weighed feeding and lots of sunlight can alleviate it.
Is there a place for formula – yes. There are women that truly cannot produce enough breastmilk. They don’t have access to donor milk and need formula. Other cases too I’m sure.
But the fact that it can be hard? Hate to break it to ya but very few parts of parenting are easy. I second guess myself constantly. There are people who don’t agree with my choices. I don’t agree with other’s choices as well.
Breastfeeding – despite our struggles – was a no-brainer for me!