Mommy Diaries: Part VI
"Feeding your baby. Bottle? Breast? Both? Neither?!"
This very well could have been part II but I'm glad I waited to post about this because my thoughts and feelings have changed a MILLION times.
I will warn members of my family (little bro) that I will discuss breastfeeding a bit here so, skim at your own risk ;)
There I sat, online at work (as usual...which may get me fired someday, lol), pregnant, and pondering the question that hits pregnant woman at some point during the second tri-mester: "How will I feed my baby?"
Now, this may seem like a simple enough question until you realize that we, especially in the U.S. have a choice. Make that many choices. Breastfeeding was the norm for decades, then it took a backseat in the 70's and 80's only to return again in full force as "THE CHOICE" for infant feeding in the late 20th and early 21st century.
You've certainly seen infant formula commercials where they say "Breast is best" or "breasmilk is best" or some variation on that theme. The idea is that breastmilk IS the best option for your baby as it is literally THEIR food. The mom's body produces this food for the baby filled with antibodies, nutrients, fat, sugar, water, etc.
Here are some pros for breastfeeding:
1. It's free
2. It's convenient (I'll talk more about "convenience" in a minute)
3. It's the perfect food
4. The body does this cool thing. If your baby is coming down with something, when he/she latches on to the boob, the baby's saliva sends a signal via boob and the body will pull the related antibodies and put them in to the milk- no lie!
5. It helps the uterus contract back in to it's pre-pregnancy size
6. It can help the mother lose weight faster due to the calories burned from producing milk.
For me I never wanted to on-the-breast breast feed. For me, it didn't seem convenient. How is it convenient when only one person on the whole planet can feed the baby? How would it be convenient for me to be the only one to wake up for nighttime feedings, to have to schedule my every out-of-the-house move around when the next feeding might be? NO THANKS!
But, recognizing the benefits of breastmilk I wanted to exclusively pump (EP). I wanted to get a double electric breast pump and give my baby breast milk through a bottle so everyone could feed him.
After my c-section the lactation consultant came in and asked if I wanted to try to latch........Of course!..Wait, I thought I wanted to be an EPer?.....In my defense, on morphine you could have gotten me to attempt to latch with a snapping turtle.
2 days later at the hospital, latching was still a nightmare. Even though my water broke I never really went in to labor (hence the c-section). My body hadn't produced enough of the right hormones to go in to labor. These are the same hormones that facilitate milk production. There I was on day 3 of my son's life being told my milk might NEVER come in...NEVER?! what?! Does that happen?
It finally came in the day we got home from the hospital. Luckily babies don't need much food in the first few days because of what they stored up in the womb, but Quinn had had a few feedings of formula. I never even tried latching at home. I didn't need the stress and the expectations placed on me by the hospital or society regarding "Breast is best." That would have been a sure recipe for Post Partum Depression. I was going to pump and bottle feed, and that was that.
It's worked out nicely. 2 and a half months in I'm still producing milk. Quinn got nothing but breastmilk for nearly 3 weeks. Then, as his appetite increased we mixed bottles 1/2 breast milk and 1/2 formula. Formula allows them to go longer between feedings, too. Because breast milk is so easily digested, it passes through faster, requiring more feedings.
Today, my son is approaching 14 pounds, he's nearly 25 inches long and has lovely fat rolls on his body. He now eats 6-7 ounces every 3.5-5 hours. He gets 2 full breast milk bottles a day, followed by formula.
Honestly, I probably could have continued giving him breast milk exclusively, maybe even to this day, but I had to be realistic. I wanted to help him sleep longer through the night to get us all on schedule when I went back to work and I didn't want to be at the pump my whole life. I pump a few times a day and I have about 80 ounces of breast milk in the freezer. I'll add to that periodically to help us transition when I dry up or decide to stop pumping completely. For now, I"m happy knowing he's still getting 30% of his feedings from breast milk.
So, for all of you moms in the future or mothers-to-be. Be realistic. Do your research. Decide what is right for YOU, your baby and your family. I know tons of people that formula feed right from the beginning and I know as many more that breastfeed forEVER. Know that pumping is an option right along with breast and formula. Email me with any questions :)