When I had my first son, I was determined to breastfeed exclusively. And I did… For the first three months. I decided before he was born that breastfeeding would be easy. And it was.
Until it wasn’t.
He latched right away and fed well from day one. I had no pain, no cracked nipples, no mastitis, everything was great. I pumped after each feed and tried to build up a supply for when I went back to work.
I didn’t have enough though. Raiden was a big baby with a big appetite and after three months it became apparent that I couldn’t keep up, but I didn’t want to admit it. I wasn’t against mix feeding, it just wasn’t for me. Breastfeeding was easy and I just needed to try harder. I didn’t want to fail.
Luckily for me Zombie was in a much better head space and gently reminded me that introducing formula did not make me a failure. Raiden had had three months of exclusive breastfeeding and was thriving, but it was taking it’s toll on me. Mentally and physically.
The night we bought formula was a strange one. I cried a lot and both Zombie and I felt extreme confusion regarding which formula to buy and how much to give him.
There is so much education and support (and pressure) around for breastfeeding yet virtually nothing for formula and mix feeding. We’d spent three months training the wee man to take a bottle (he much preferred the breast and some days at the start of his life it could take over an hour to get 10mls into him) due to him needing to when I went back to work, but we hadn’t gotten a lot of help with that either.
Once I started mix feeding I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I mix fed for a further four months before giving up breastfeeding and pumping completely and Raiden became formula fed from then on. My supply had dropped drastically after going to work and he had decided he preferred bottles after a while anyway. It was still a tough decision, I tried hard to increase my supply but one day I realised that it was a battle I wasn’t going to win. My only regret is I never got a photo of me breastfeeding him.
Beore the twins were born I decided that this time round I wasn’t going to put so much pressure on myself and they have been mix fed from the start. Initially they just had one bottle of formula a day but once I was out of hospital and Zombie back,at work and it was up to me to handle the majority of the feeds it was easier to pump and bottle feed.
Due to not breastfeeding as often and relying soley on the pump, it wasn’t long before my supply started dropping and the formula started increasing. I’ve held on for a while but I’ve decided that they’ve had a good start with the breast milk and without having to pump every three hours or so I’ll have more time to focus on the boys. They are thirteen weeks old now and starting to interact with us. It’s an exciting time.
I have mixed feeling about giving up. I’m not having any more children so this will be the last time. I haven’t pumped for two days now though and emotionally am feeling calmer. I think for my mental healths sake alone it’s a good time to stop.
Smiles and Sunshine