One thing I feel very strongly about is that fed is best!!!! Aslong as baby is healthy and thriving then that’s all that matters.
With Nate, I formula fed him. This is due to him being in NICU for 5 days, I hand expressed colostrum but when I tried to breastfeed it interrupted his breathing because he tried to focus on feeding. This led to him going backwards in his recovery and the nurse asking if they can formula feed. As you can imagine, this terrified me but as soon as I said yes to formula, I felt a weight off my shoulders and we could both focus on our recoveries. I did feel a little let down as I did want to breastfeed but I soon embraced formula. He absolutely thrived on it! His sleeping was also amazing, he was going every four hours and slept through at 10 weeks. I believe it’s because he was so full! With formula, you know exactly how much your baby is getting and I loved that.
However, this time around I really wanted to give breastfeeding my best shot. Providing she was all healthy. The plan was to express & breastfeed. Medela very kindly gifted me the Swing Flex electric pump and lots of breastfeeding goodies, so grateful! I was excited to share my breastfeeding journey. However, I did also buy a perfect prep machine & all new bottles etc. I’m really open to feeding either way, like I said – fed is best!!! If breastfeeding didn’t work out then I’d happily formula feed. I was prepared for both.
I started hand expressing and harvesting my colostrum from 37 weeks. I managed to get 16 1ml syringes! This is bevause I wanted it be prepared Incase something happened. NHS also recommend to hand express if you’re having a planned c section. I think hand expressing definitely has helped breastfeeding as in hospital I was able to get loads of colostrum out and quite quickly when Callie wasn’t latching.
Callie came out and went pretty much straight on boob. She fed for 40 minutes and latched really well to begin with. However in hospital her latch wasn’t great and I struggled. I ended up topping up with formula and hand expressing colostrum. When I got home, I really worked on getting the latch good again! I googled lots of stuff and the midwife who came out the day after I got home helped. I felt like she wasn’t getting enough from my boob either as I was waiting for my milk to properly come in. It meant jack could feed her too, I tried expressing and managed to get 20ml of colostrum! Which was about 20 syringes which was amazing. It all changed once my milk came in! I woke up with huge rock solid boobs! She seemed to latch straight away and more easily! It’s like something clicked in her and instinct took over. We reduced the amount of formula to 1 bottle a day and that would be when jack got up with Nate & Callie in the morning. For the first few nights she was waking almost hourly to be fed. This changed on around day 7 when she went 4 hours! We had given her a formula feed at 11.30pm and she went through until 4am! I think this definitely settled her and helped her sleep longer. She is jaundice and we’ve had to take her into hospital and they’ve recommend we alternate between formula and breast and feed as much as possible. During the day she sleeps a lot so we’ve been waking her every 3 hours. They said we need to flush the jaundice out! She has taken to it reallt well! We made up a bottle from the perfect prep machine which minimum was 4 oz and she took the lot over 2 hours! I came downstairs after putting Nate to bed and she was deffontiky milk drunk! Was sprawled out on daddy! However she wanted booby milk 2 hours after that!!!!
I have found the first few days of breast feeding really challenging. Trying to get baby to latch, getting the right position and the constant feeding. I want to ideally express enough for a bottle in the evening for jack to give her and each time I express I’m getting more & more. However, I’m also open to combi feeding so may keep formula around for a while. I don’t know how I feel about public breastfeeding and that is so sad. I did it in hospital which was fine but I don’t feel like I have enough BF friendly clothes so at home I just whip my top down or up! I’m thinking I’ll keep formula for jack to give her or when we are out.
I’ve hit a week and definitely had a turning point. I actually really love breastfeeding and feel like the bond is amazing. It’s definitely comforting for her and it is easier than bottles as it’s ready there and then and we much less washing up. I think we’ve got in more of a routine with it and I feel a lot more comfortable.
A couple of things people asked on Instagram for me to write about –
Is it extremely tiring? – I don’t think it is. I think newborns are tiring 😂 I think when you get in more of a routine it’s no different to formula. I’m waking her and feeding her every 3 hours during the day which is the same as formula. It can be hard at night time but jack gives her a bottle or he wakes up with her and lets me sleep in which is helpful.
‘Love the idea of breastfeeding but think I’d be uncomfortable, how do you find it’ – I’m the same! I haven’t properly done it in public yet and think I’d be shy. I want to do it though but I’ll take formula with me Incase I bottle it (excuse the pun) jack is so so supportive with it too! He literally would lay next to me and he took all the midwives advice on latching etc so he was advising me. The fact he’s so amazing with it, makes me feel more comfortable with it too! He loves that I’m breastfeeding our daughter and giving her all my antibodies etc.
Any misconceptions I had before I started breastfeeding – I used to think formula babies slept through and breastfed babies wake all the time. I mean, it all depends on your baby. Some formula babies wake up hourly and some breastfed babies sleep through from a few weeks old. And vice versa! I think with formula you know how much they’re getting and you know they’re full however they could be waking for any reason. Some babies take a lot during a feed of breast milk and some take very little and keep waking for it. I’m quite lucky as Callie is an efficient feeder and will get a whole feed in 10/15 mins. It’s just finding what works for you! We found giving her formula at 11pm makes her sleep through a couple of hours then when she wakes ill breast feed her at like 4/5am and then co sleep with her right next to my boob. She will then sleep for the next couple of hours!
Overall I love breastfeeding! In the first few days I struggled and I completely see why people give Up in those days! I contemplated giving up. But with Coronavirus- it made me so determined for her to have all my antibodies and all the goodness from breast milk. I don’t feel like it’s long term for us- my aim is until 6 months when I wean her. But we will take it day by day. Fed is best and if I start to struggle again then I’m completely open to changing over to formula. I feel like we are in a good point in our journey! I want to carry on expressing as I find this so helpful when I feel extra full of breast milk too. I literally love the medela swing flex as it’s so quiet and so powerful! It’s so simple to use! Also I recommend new look maternity bras! Sooooo comfy and they look pretty! I got a pack of 2 reduced to £11 (£15 originally) and they are so efficient to use.
If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to dm me!
Lots of love,
Daisy Jane x