Breastfeeding hey, everyone has an opinion on it, even those without kids do. I am due my second baby in a matter of weeks and I have made a decision that I will not be exclusively breastfeeding him like I did for my daughter.
Some people will be up in arms to read this, some people will nod along agreeing with me, whilst some people will think why bother with it. Truth be told, it’s nobody else’s business or decision, other than my own. As long as my baby is fed is all that matters….whether that’s breastfeeding, formula feeding, or a combination of both. As a second time parent I’ve made the decision to go down the route of combination feeding and here’s why.
Although breastfeeding is such a special experience between mother and baby, I found it exhausting in the early days. In fact I found it quite resentful, I certainly didn’t get that mother and baby bond that everybody says you get from breastfeeding. It felt like I was always feeding and it was consuming me, spending hours and days marooned to the sofa watching Netflix, with no idea how much she was actually getting.
With a toddler on my hands this time round, spending hours and hours on the sofa is not going to be possible. My toddler wants constantly entertaining and flicks quickly between one activity to the next. Having my husband do some of the feeds would be so helpful, and allow me to spend time with my daughter without having to whip my boob out every two seconds.
My daughter when she was born lost over 10% of her birth weight, and there was so much pressure from midwifes and my health visitor to feed, feed, feed, which just added to the pressure and worry. This was something I didn’t need as a new sleep deprived parent. We were advised to give her 90ml of formula a day, and to be honest I found this such a relief. She would seem so much more contented and actually sleep, which was what I needed after being in pain from a c-section.
However once my daughter gained weight we were advised by our health visitor to stop with the formula. Why, oh why, did we do ever do that. From that moment on she refused any type of bottle, even a bottle with breast milk in it. I tried everything, all the different brands, and milk heated to various temperatures, but nothing worked. I felt trapped I couldn’t go anywhere without her, as she needed feeding every hour (I’m not joking), and I only felt that I could leave her for more than a few hours when I stopped feeding at 10 months.
This time round there is no maternity leave for me, and I will be continuing to work on this blog and my social media business. There will be times that I need to leave my son with my husband or another family member. This is another reason why I have decided to go down the combination feeding route from the beginning to avoid him refusing a bottle.
Lastly there are the nights, those long and lonely nights. I found them agony with my daughter, I would spend most of the night feeding, especially when the four month sleep regression hit when she would wake between 12 to 15 times a night.
Having my husband take over some of these feeds would be a huge help, and hopefully mean that I am not a mum who spends her waking days living in a fog, surviving on coffee, and studying the hours that my daughter woke to see if I could find a pattern. It also means that my husband has some involvement too, and I think that the constant feeding in the early days with my daughter alienated him a little.
So those are my reasons why we will be going down the combination feeding route. When I first found out I was pregnant, this was one of my first thoughts. Strangely second time round when I tell my midwife, she is happy with my decision, when I was fully expecting to have breastfeeding pushed onto me yet again. Maybe that’s because I’m a second time mum, or maybe it’s because they are realising that it’s better for baby to be fed, rather than bombarding parents with the breastfeeding only option (which is what I found first time round).
For anyone who is thinking about going down this route, here are my top tips:
- Do what is right for you and your family, it is no one else’s business or decision how you feed your baby.
- A fed baby, and a happy mummy are important. Breastfeeding can be stressful as you have no idea how much baby is getting. If you’re worried about this, do not worry too much about reaching for a bottle that either contains formula or expressed breast milk.
- Give breastfeeding a go, however if it doesn’t work out for you, don’t beat yourself up about it.
I hope that anyone reading this understands why I am going down this route. I am not against breastfeeding, in fact it’s a wonderful thing, but exclusively breastfeeding is not for everyone or me (for my second child).
If you do or did combination feeding I would love to hear how you got on, and whether you had the same concerns as I do about exclusively breastfeeding your later children?