Our daughter is 22 months old now and I often reflect back on our infant feeding journey. Would I have done things differently? I don't know.
I was lucky to have a good start with breast feeding. I had tons of colostrum and Ava latched on like a champ! The hospital I delivered at had great lactation specialists who helped me figure out the whole breast feeding thing. They were there around the clock to check on me throughout my stay in the hospital and answer any questions I had, but then it was time to go home.
As any first time parent I was so nervous and so worried about how my breastfeeding journey would continue.
Towards the end of my pregnancy I had pre-eclampsia. Due to my rising high blood pressure I was induced to have Ava two weeks early. Within a few days of being home with our newborn, I was admitted back into the hospital with extremely high blood pressure. So high, that they padded the rails of the hospital bed as a precaution incase I had any seizures from my rising blood pressure. Luckily, Ava was able to stay with me in the hospital so I could continue to breast feed. After some monitoring and getting everything under control the doctor released me. This time with blood pressure medicine and orders to take it easy and relax. Clearly he forgot that I just had a baby!
Within just a few days of returning home I started pumping and we introduced her to the bottle so my husband could help with the feedings. Figuring out the whole bottle thing was frustrating. We had a couple different brands of bottles so we could figure out which nipple she preferred. After several tries, and lots of, “Do you think she likes this one? Maybe she prefers this one? Is she full? Did she drink enough?” We finally figured out which bottle she liked.
Now it was time to pump, pump, pump! Pumping was awful. For me it was like watching paint dry. I pumped for 30 to 40 minutes (not even sure if you should pump that long) and only got about 2 ounces per breast. I did this once in morning and once in the evening.
I hated pumping but I really enjoyed breast feeding Ava in her early months. I loved our feedings together and that bond we shared. After about the third month of breast feeding things started to get harder. I couldn’t tell if she was getting enough milk, pumping was still a pain, she became such a fussy baby and my maternity leave was coming to an end. The thought of pumping at work as a teacher was dreadful. I decided that it wasn’t something I wanted to do. When Ava was about 3 1/2 months old we introduced formula to her and slowly weaned her off breast milk.
I stopped pumping (thank goodness), and slowly my milk stopped coming in. I was able to rest more, Ava was happy and I was happy. Life was great!
Sometimes I think that I wish my breast feeding journey had lasted longer but I know we did what was best for our family at that time. If I had to do it all over again I’m not sure that I would do anything differently.
I think what’s important to remember is that no matter how you choose to feed your little one, whether it’s breastmilk, pumped milk through a bottle, or formula, you must do what is best for YOUR family and YOUR situation. Everyone is different, and everyone’s needs are different. Do what works for you and your family!
Feeding Your Little One Just Got Easier!
I am so happy to share with my infant feeding families that you aren't alone! There is support out there for you! Happy Family created an amazing platform that supports families through their infant feeding journey. The Happy Family Feeding Platform has a team of ‘Mama Milk Mentors’ on hand for live chat through their website, 8am-8pm (EST), Mon-Fri. These lactation specialists and Cornell-Certified nutritionists are all moms themselves, and are here to support your infant feeding choices.
I love that Happy Family supports all three ways that you can feed your baby and offer great tips and tricks for breastfeeding and formula feeding families.
Check out their infant feeding support platform here!
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Our daughter is now 22 months old and is doing great! She loves fruits, especially berries and we're still working on the whole vegetable thing. Our feeding journey still has it’s challenges but we take it one day at a time.
Where are you in your infant feeding journey?