My little one, nearly 15 months is now drinking cows milk! It's been 2 whole weeks & he is loving it.. I know this isn't really groundbreaking news for many, but to me, it means my formula feeding journey has come to an end. I say this with a mix of both sadness (my little boy is growing up!) & happiness (Yay! No more $30 tins each week!).
When pregnant with my first child (8 years ago) I was undoubtedly going to breast feed, I hadn't even considered bottle feeding nor had I purchased bottles etc prior to going to hospital because that simply 'wasn't the plan' There hadn't been many babies born into our family, the only role model I had was my Aunty and she had successfully breast fed all 3 of her boys so I guess I figured it was the 'done thing' and that it would be easy..
Unfortunately it seems my body had other ideas and no matter how much poking, prodding, syringing & pumping I persevered, 5-10ml was all that was produced each time.. I cried, I struggled, I blamed myself and was told I had 'flat nipples' and a 'lazy sucker' & on day 6 in hospital, I admitted defeat.. I remember the moment quite clearly..
A younger nurse than normal came into the room & stood at the end of my bed and said ''Have you decided how your going to feed this baby yet?'' and I looked down at my perfect little man in my arms & I burst into tears & the whole past 6 days of feeding failure stories came tumbling out.. At the end I looked at her and said '' I really wanted to breast feed but I think I'm going to have to bottle feed'' to which the nurse responded with a huge smile across her face, ''I don't give a flying fuck how you feed him as long as you are happy and he is getting fed'' I cannot describe the relief I felt at that moment.. Her reaction was so different to that of the midwifes who had agonised over my useless chest all week, even yelling at me in the middle of the night when I would seek their assistance.. I was so thankful to this young woman for her understanding & unbiased support.
I still persevered for the next 2 weeks with the bf, even using an electric breast pump but nothing seemed to boost my supply and after 3 weeks I began exclusively feeding formula. It wasn't a decision I was happy about at the time, it is such a guilt loaded decision but one I made for the health of my Son. My supply came in by week 5, perhaps due to blood loss during the Caesar but by then I was content with bottle feeding & had found a formula, bottle, teat etc that agreed with him.
I thought buying bottles would be easy, but no, there is so much to consider. I initially went with the AVENT bottles as the chemist staff told me the teats were more like the natural nipple shape (I apparently have 'flat' nipples so I doubt they resembled mine!) needless to say the little one didn't like the AVENT bottle so we settled with the NUK variety & there we stayed! And S26 AR formula to help aid his reflux.
And as far as bottle feeding goes, I never got that whole your missing out on a bonding experience thing? I always held my boys in my arms for every feed, hugging them, talking to them about their day and usually nursing them to sleep..
My eldest didn't come off formula till he was 2. No matter what, he wasn't going to give it up.. so I was kind of relieved that this little fella took to cows milk so easily & readily.
This time round I had planned on trying BF, however, I was also prepared for bottle feeding and had all the gear on board if I chose to go that way too..
After he was born they placed him on me for skin on skin contact & asked if I'd like to try & feed him.. I tried, but to me (and I know this may annoy some breast is best people) it just didn't feel right.. I wasn't comfortable & all of those emotions from my first experience came flooding back. I met with the lactation nurse and she accepted my wishes at formula feeding and ran with it from there.. 2nd time round my milk never came in at all, nurses, doctors etc were surprised but it seemed like my boobs were 'broken' and unwilling to produce at all.
Still even after being supported in ones decision to exclusively formula feed by choice I still had a lot of guilt & worry.. You don't want to think you have exposed your baby to things that could have otherwise been prevented if I'd BF. However, with DS putting on 700g on average a week I had no worry with him thriving & that alone was proof enough for me that I'd done the right thing.
So today I walked past the formula aisle without having to put one in the trolley (such a knee jerk reaction) and instead put 3, 2 litre containers of milk in instead lol. :D