Breastfed from Birth – 4 months
Bottlefed from 5 months
Our first feed was amazing. We had a nice long one hour feed in the hospital with lots of skin-to-skin contact. That morning in hospital the midwives were really impressed at how fast we grasped it, and said they were happy to discharge us. I thought to myself, how hard can this really be? Huh. Well naive I was, things were about to get a lot tougher. So here’s mine and Valentino’s story from the beginning…
Our First Week
I found the first few weeks breast feeding REALLY hard. The pain of cracked and bleeding nipples was enough to make me cry most times. Emotionally, along with all the sleep I WASN’T getting, I felt drained, emotional and very short tempered. But like all new mum’s, I knew it was the best for him and he NEEDED it from me, so I was tough on myself. I googled a lot on the net on latching properly (as this can be the main reason a lot of mums stop breast feeding) and we were right on track. So I knew it must just be something that’s normal that all breast feeders have to go through.
Feeding was far easier, the bleeding stopped and we even started to get into a little routine with it. We always got ourselves nice and comfortable before we fed, which made it much better! I didn’t seek a lot of help, as I already had a friend in the family that had breast fed her 1.5 year old for 6 months. She knew every trick in the book and I really admired her. She had her second 7 weeks before I had my son, so she was a little ahead of me at the start. Then she told me all about the hurdles she went through (1 month, 6 week, 3 month) and told me to just not let it defeat me, and that it DOES get better. So I listened to her and it seemed to be working…
By 2 months we were feeding at really odd times, and he never seemed satisfied. I kept saying to myself one more day. And that’s the only thing that really kept me on track. After researching more on the internet and by a family friend, I learned that you need to be eating a nice high in fat diet to help your little one gain weight. So eating another layer of butter on my toast, and full fat milk instead of semi-skimmed the change in my milk was very visible. To look at it was much thicker, with more bits of separated fat in the milk. I was really impressed, but my figure wasn’t!
We were doing well, but he started pulling off the breast all the time. It was so frustrating! At times he would drain my breast, so I’d pop him on the other breast, only for him to drain that one or mess about on that one. I just kept putting him on whenever I could as I knew my supply would mess up if I didn’t feed him when they were engorged. So after a week or two of him pulling off, I noticed one of my breasts (my left) was FAR bigger than the other. I would get 1 oz from the right, and 3oz from the left. I tried feeding more from the smaller breast but there was nothing for him to take. I was always uncomfortable and from this point on it never stopped. I was contemplating combine feeding as I was getting myself into a right state about it all. I felt so useless that I couldn’t even feed my son properly, but more angry at my body for letting me down. So I tried ‘Fenugreek’ tablets for the next two weeks, at the beginning I thought they were doing the world of good, but after two weeks of taking three a day, we were back to square one of barely any milk!
So it was decided that after barely being able to get a couple of ounces from each breast, we would now combine feed. Which I felt okay about, as it meant I would still be boosting his immunity system, other family members could help with feedings and we might both feel less of a strain. He wouldn’t take the breast anymore, so I decided one morning that ‘this would be our last feed’ we sat in bed, and he had his last feed. He looked at me after 5-10 minutes, pulled off and smiled. I offered it another couple of times but he turned away, and then looked at me. Right there I didn’t want to put any more pressure on it.
So I decided to try expressing to keep him on breast milk. I carried this on until he was about 4.5 months and then I was happy that we had gone this far. We then went onto Aptamil formula and we are both very happy and healthy (touch wood)
6 months down the line
My little boy is now fully on formula from 5 months. I feel content with how far I managed to come with breast feeding. Most days I was a real wreck; it’s so incredibly challenging and takes every single last bit of energy from you. Although I’m happy about the 4 months or so he was able to have my milk, it’s further than I ever actually though I would come. I will always try breast feeding with any future children. I think it’s an amazing gift to give your child and its very bonding.