“Breast is the best” will be all the expecting mums and new mums be hearing when the topic of feeding comes up. I do agree with the statement as breastmilk is tailored to the baby’s needs and it provides the best possible antibodies the baby requires for his/her initial immunity. However things may not always go the way you planned. There maybe circumstances where you may not be able to breastfeed.
My aim was to breastfeed my baby till she’s 6 months of age, but I stopped breastfeeding after 2 months. As soon as my baby was born, it took me several attempts for the latching to happen. She kept coming off my boob so I kept trying. That feeling was unique when you see your little one feeding from you. I had to ask for help a few times when I was at the hospital, unsure whether baby was latched on properly. I was taught to feed her my colostrum using a syringe because she was too sleepy to feed on the first day.
On the first night when we got home, I did what I was doing at the hospital with breastfeeding, but she was still crying non stop all night. I have noticed my baby was not latching on properly on my left side and that my nipples were sore and cracked. My husband and I managed to settle her and eventually got some sleep. Thinking about it now, she might have been hungry because she did not latch on and feed properly. The midwife came and visited us the next day and I have asked her if I was doing something wrong. She taught me different ways of holding my baby during breastfeeding. I mentioned to the midwife that I had problems with latching and my nipples were sore so the midwife told me to start off feeding the baby on the right side where she could latch on then swap it after a few minutes to confuse her. Also, the midwife taught me the rugby hold position for my left side and told me to keep track on how often and how long my baby fed till the next visit. I asked my husband to get me some nipple cream from the supermarket that evening as my nipples were so sore when the baby fed and breastfeeding should not be painful. I did what the midwife taught me and breastfeeding was a lot smoother and less painful.
My milk came in few days after my baby was born and got so engorged and was leaking. One evening my parents were concerned about my wellbeing and wanted me to have my dinner first before feeding the baby so I listened to them and let her cry for a bit but that was a mistake. They did not understand breastfeeding is on demand as I was formula fed when I was a baby. When I tried to fed her I could not get her to latch on because she has gotten frustrated and would not stop crying, and my boobs have gotten so engorged that it was so painful. Luckily I had purchased a manual pump couple of days before as a backup. I got my husband to sterilise the pump and I managed to express and fed my hungry baby that way.
Since then I had been exclusively expressing to bottle feed her, it was comfortable and my husband could help out with the night feeds. After a while I found expressing via a manual pump is quite tiring because you need to use both hands so I went and got a single electric pump instead, and I had a hand free to do other stuff like using my iPad or changing channel on tv! At the beginning I was expressing around 8 times a day because that’s when my body was overproducing breastmilk and I have managed to freeze some. When my baby was around one month old, we introduced a formula feed a day because we knew we will formula feed her eventually and we wanted her tummy to get used to the formula. I have then cut down to expressing 6 times a day because I found it quite exhausting being almost constantly attached to the pump. All I could manage to do was express, feed the baby, wind her, settle her, put her to sleep then repeat. Going out was a luxury at the point as carrying the electric pump out and expressing in public is not easy. So I discussed with my husband and we both decided to formula feed our baby when she turned two months old, she has had the best start we could possibly given her with the colostrum and breastmilk for initial immunity. She had been combine fed during her second month with mainly breastmilk. Our health visitor did sort of promote breastfeeding and asked if I would out my baby back on my breast again but I told her what I was doing worked for our family and we were happy with how things were. Our baby is now 4 months old and being formula fed, she has been well and gaining weight.
One word of advice – Do whatever you feel comfortable and do not let anyone makes you feel guilty and pressurise you into doing things you are not comfortable with. You know your baby best! Good luck!