I want to start this blog out by saying that I believe that a fed baby is the best kind of baby. I do not care how it's done but it needs to be done. I think the choice to breastfeed and formula feed are difficult decisions that come with their own set backs and triumphs. Motherhood is so hard and I stand by your choices.
That being said, I have chosen to exclusively breastfeed all three of my children. My first child was a dream baby. He latched right away and all was good! Or so I thought. I had taken a class through the hospital about breastfeeding and I was sure that I was doing it right! What I didn't realize was that the suck of my newborn was going to cause my nipples to crack and bleed and develop a milk blister that made me want to cry and scream simultaneously.
We always say "WHY DOES NO ONE TELL YOU THIS STUFF!!" And the truth is that they sometimes do, but we don't listen or maybe we just choose not to hear them. I have no recollection of anyone telling me to prepare for cracked, blistered nipples and now that it was happening, I couldn't believe it! Why was I in so much pain?! This was supposed to be a blissful experience! Breastfeeding was supposed to be beautiful!
I feel like there should be a disclaimer on all of those beautiful breastfeeding pictures, *breastfeeding will be beautiful 50% of the time 3-4 weeks after the initial latch* because that is much more accurate!
Then there's the other thing they tell you but don't tell you. Your milk doesn't even come in (your body doesnt produce milk, it produces a thick, milk like substance called colostrum the first few days) until day 3-5 and those days are kind of horrible! You are recovering from birth, each latch may cause uterine contractions as your uterus begins to shrink, and your nipples aren't used to the strong latch so you begin to feel a razor blade agony every time baby latches on. To say its not a beautiful experience may be an understatement.
During this time before my milk came in with my first, he was insatiable! He wanted to nurse 24/7 and I was exhausted. I was so sleep deprived I could barely stay awake to nurse my newborn and the fear of dropping him, falling asleep next to him and a million other fears entered my mind. My husband was amazing and helped as much as possible but I'm the only one with boobs! How is he supposed to feed this ravenous child?
The he stepped over the line. He suggest that I *drum roll please* give the baby a bottle of formula!
How dare he!
I said no, cried on his shoulder and continued to be severely sleep deprived for the next week and a half until my milk was established. It's a miracle I didnt give up then and there and I give all credit to a wonderful lactation counselor who helped push me forward.
Fast forward to baby 3. He is now 4 weeks old and has had a total of 3 formula bottles in his life. He latches on like a pro, is gaining weight superbly well and is overall a happy and normal newborn.
This is the thing that I learned with my first. I have to take care of my baby, but you know who else needs to be taken care of? ME! I need sleep to care for my children, sleep to not lose my cool with them and sleep to get myself through the day without any major accidents. The first day I gave my son a bottle, he was 3 days old and at a whopping 10 lbs 14 oz at birth, I knew he was going to be a hungry guy!
And he sure was! I gave him the bottle and he downed two ounces in less than 2 minutes and then fell asleep with the gusto of a opera singer on opening night! He slept for 4 hours straight and I was a new women at his next feed. Long gone were the days of tears and stress because I now know that one bottle doesn't hurt. It doesn't hurt my supply, it doesn't hurt my pride and it DOESN'T hurt my baby!
I love to breastfeed my kids. I've read the science, the articles and the blogs and this is the choice I've made for us but I know without a doubt that formula bottles save lives and save sanity. I'm grateful for the option and to know that my kids will be nourished and fed no matter what happens to me.
When I refused to give my first born a bottle, I was uninformed, exhausted and unsure. When I gave my third born a bottle I felt liberated, well rested and relieved. If you need help in these first few days after birth, please reach out! We are always here to help you make the best choices for your family!