Breastfeeding was a given for us. We knew it would be better for him and I wanted to create that special bond between me and him that can only be done with breastfeeding.
I had the goal to do it his first year but I've set smaller goals so the year mark doesn't seem so challenging. I told myself if we got to 3 months I'll be happy, after the 3 months I wanted to get to 6 months and so on.
We've had a few small issues early on, he has a tongue tie, so latching was a little challenging in the beginning. Once he started taking a pacifier it actually seemed to help his latch.
Then he started getting really upset with nursing. After about 5 minutes of breastfeeding he started to get very upset, crying, throwing his arms everywhere. After about 5 minutes my initial let down slows down and that's when he gets upset. I started trying to switch sides when he gets upset so he can get a new let down from the other breast. The feedings took a little longer since I'm having to switch sides more but it helped. I also tried using a warm compress when I fed him, I read that it helps the let down last longer, then I won't have to switch sides so often.
The pumping definitely took time out of my day but somehow you just make it work. There were times where I had to pump and put it into a bottle to feed him. Before when we had to wake him in the middle of the night I had to do that, he would just be so tired I couldn't get him to stay awake long enough to eat; he drinks from the bottle much faster so that was the only way I could get him to eat enough then. I was still pumping throughout the day to try to build a freezer stash for a back-up and if other need to watch him for me.
Starting to Supplement
We had to supplement formula, I didn’t like that I had to do that so early (about 2 months) but sometimes I just didn't supply enough to fill him. There didn’t seem to be a lack of supply in my end, I was getting about 3-4 ounces every 2-3 hours. He would just get very upset and start crying and screaming.
What Breastfeeding Meant
Breastfeeding to me is making sure he can get the nutrients from me that he can't get from formula to make sure he is as healthy as he can be. It's creating a special bond between me and him that no one else could have, it's creating a closeness that will last a lifetime.
I Wish I Knew
I wish I would have known more about the challenges that come with breastfeeding. We took a breastfeeding class while I was pregnant, at the time it seemed very informative. They unfortunately didn't go over any challenges that come with it, latch issues, the pain the first couple of weeks, making sure your supply stays up.
They basically said, "Your baby will latch, they know what to do. If your baby has a correct latch your nipples won't hurt at all - ever. Make sure you drink enough water to maintain your supply".
I had no idea how important it was to continue taking my prenatal vitamin, to make sure I was not only drinking enough water but that I was getting enough calories a day as well.
Around the 2-3 month mark we had a nursing strike He was nursing fine one day and all the sudden in the afternoon he wanted nothing to do with it. He would scream, push himself away, and kick me. I didn't want him to dehydrate or not eat enough so I ended up pumping and putting it into a bottle for him, which I didn't want to do but didn't know of any other way to get him to eat. It lasted a couple of days.
The next day I started trying to feed him differently with the bottle. I would give him the bottle for a few minutes then take it away and give him his pacifier, then give him the bottle again, so kind of simulated a let-down the best I could.
After about 2 days of doing that he stopped his nursing strike and would breast feed again. We unfortunately went back to him nursing for about 5 minutes then getting very upset and would start pushing himself away and crying, which was my problem with him getting upset if my let down would stop.
Everything seemed to get better and we had a good nursing, supplementing combination going. But then around 5 months I noticed a big drop in my supply after my first post-partum period. Then we decided that I needed to start Zoloft due to post-partum depression. Nothing I tied helped me get my supply back.
The only thing I didn’t try was seeing an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant). I simply didn’t have time to see one with my work schedule and I could afford to have one come to my house.
Towards the end, when he was 6 months old I was pumping 2-3 times at work and was only getting 1.5 ounces all day/ I just decided I was not supplying enough for him when I was gone and at the rate I was going it was inevitable he would be a formula fed baby soon. It was definitely a hard decision to stop breastfeeding but it is what was right for us.
He struggled with formula at first but we finally have him on a good formula and he is doing great! With supplementing we had him on Similac Sensitive Systems, but it didn’t seem to sit well with him getting it more often. So we tried both Similac Total Comfort and another Similac – neither of which seemed to be better. My friend told me she had to have her daughter on Enfamil Nutragmigen. She said it was great but very expensive. We tried it and he did do great on it but it was very expensive – about $320 per month. Once he hit 8 months and his digestive system was more developed we switched him again to Enfamil Reguline. About a month later he is going great on it! I think we have finally found something that works for him and our budget.
In the beginning, I would say not to give up no matter how hard it may seem. Having a great support system is crucial. There are great Facebook groups that are very helpful and supportive. I am part of the Badass Breastfeeders of Colorado group and have found so much information on there that I never got from the breastfeeding class we took.
I still think if you are passionate about breastfeeding you should fight for it as hard as you can and do it as long as you can. But truthfully there is nothing wrong with being formula fed.
Feel free to comment below with how your feeding journey is going. If you would like to share your story through photos and a blog (which you or I can write) please contact Miracle Kisses here so we can get started. I cannot wait to meet you and hear your story.