Feeding your baby looks different to everyone. You might have or have had an idea of what feeding your baby means to you. I’ve know mothers who have been determined to breastfeed and not have their milk come in, mothers who breastfeeding came naturally too, mothers who had to do everything to keep their supply up. I’ve also known mothers who have chosen to formula feed from the beginning for their health or because breastfeeding wasn’t an option.
So many different stories a lot of which marking us question ourselves filling our minds with doubt.
I’ve rounded up 7 mommy bloggers to share their journeys with feeding their babies and to show you that there isn’t one right way to feed a baby.
Christi from Her Daily Fiat had to say:
As a mom who has successfully breastfed one child and is currently breastfeeding another, in my experience the first few weeks can be difficult. It is often the time to establish a good latch and routine. Therefore, it is important to know what resources are available for you. Many hospitals and birthing centers provide assistance in the form of lactation consultants, but do not fear also asking nurses or midwives for help in the beginning. In the middle of the night if I was struggling with anything my nurses were always happy to help me. Sometimes an extra set of hands is all you need! They will also be able to look out for any issues such as tongue ties, etc. Many hospitals and birthing centers also have support groups with speakers, weigh ins and staff to address any issues you may be having. Contact your hospital to see what support groups they provide!
The most shocking thing of all was being handed a newborn and being told to breastfeed every two hours. I didn’t know that ahead of time! That can get exhausting really quickly, so I recommend learning a few positions to feed so your body doesn’t become sore. While I don’t personally recommend co-sleeping with a newborn having a support person or partner stay awake for a feeding while you sleep through it can give you time to rest as well. Make sure they are able to keep an eye on the both of you, and rest your eyes! The baby does most of the work.
For more recommendations on how to navigate the first few weeks of breastfeeding, click here.
Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Breastfeeding or Formula
Lady B had to say:
Breastfeeding or Formula? That is the biggest debate for many first time mothers. Health experts argue that breast milk is the best milk for infants, however, breastfeeding may not always be the best choice. There are many factors that come into play such as medical situations, lifestyle, and your comfort level.
Formula feeding is an easy task and doesn’t take much work. The only task is choosing the right milk that will be best for the baby, formula provides the nutrients the babies need to grow and thrive.
For me I am a mother of two daughters and I did try breastfeeding for both of them but that soon went downhill. My oldest is ten years old and when she was born I tried breastfeeding for one week. My experience was not the best. For or starters my areolas are flat and she was not able to grasp on so I was given a nipple shield. That was the worst!
Before that, They brought in a lactation coach who was giving me some very good tips and tricks but nothing seemed to work. I was even given a breast pump but was just not producing enough and plus it HURT! She sucked so hard my nipples began to bleed and that is when I retired to bottle feeding.
It was simply not for me and then when I had my second child I tried again, and it did not work. Deciding how you choose to feed your baby is definitely a personal decision and sometimes hard. My best advice is to listen to your body and do what is best for you and baby regardless of all the information floating out there.
Breast feeding, pumping, formula
Katie Cruz had to say:
Breast Milk is the best baby, right? I heard it over and over again while pregnant. You get the free breast pump with your insurance and stock up on the little storage bags. I did hours and hours of research, I made sure I had the special teas and foods in my pantry.
I had a conversation with my mother who attempted to breastfeed with my older brother and she really disliked it and struggled; defeated, she gave up. When my mother had me, she knew right from the start she would not breastfeed. She wanted my father to be fully able to participate in the feeding process and she could not take the pain of breastfeeding.
When I was in my last trimester I felt so pressured to be successful in breastfeeding my son; I had a family member who just had a baby and she sent me endless tips and information on breast milk. My hospital had endless posters all over every single wall about the importance of breast milk.
But plot twist, I had an emergency cesarean section 5 weeks before my due date. My son was breached and I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. I went into the operating room, my doctor had trouble removing my son due to his size (8.5 lbs at only 35 weeks). The moment I was wheeled out of the operating room, my son was in his dad’s arms drinking formula.
The nurses came over and helped my son latch to my breast. It was instant! We did it! Fast forward to the next hospital feeding time, I was barely producing ANY breast milk as my body was not prepared so early. I kept trying but the doctor ordered formula for supplementation. My boy was too large to only have the few drops of milk I could provide.
I utilized the lactation specialists and nurses and my son was not interested in the breast whatsoever. Once home, I began trying to pump and pump and pump. For months, I set alarms and strapped myself to the pump with no success. I went through a period of depression (most likely postpartum) and I felt like a failure. I had a cousin and two close friends who were all successfully breastfeeding and pumping and had a freezer FULL of breast milk. Me? I had two storage bags filled from days of pumping every few hours.
It took me some time to come to the realization that formula is absolutely okay! It has all of the benefits my child needed, and it was simple. My husband and I were in complete agreement that my mental health and fatigue needed to be taken into consideration also. My son is now almost two and he is way advanced in his size and his brain development.
Breastfeeding is not black and white
OT Holly had to say:
When I was 13 I had a breast reduction. At the time I was very concerned
about my daily back pain and wanting to breastfeed honestly didn’t even cross my mind. Fast forward to my first baby I thought of breastfeeding
as a black and white thing. Either I would be able to, or I wouldn’t.
After 72 hours of trying to get my baby to latch unsuccessfully, trying
a shield, visits with lactation consultants and being told my baby had a tongue tie it seemed that the answer was a strong NO. Even so I persisted for several weeks and produced many more tears than milk.
It took the birth and breastfeeding journey with my second baby to realize that breastfeeding isn’t one size fits all. You can have a successful breastfeeding journey even if you have real supply issues.
Success in nursing your baby doesn’t have to mean that they have never had a bottle or been supplemented with donor milk or formula- success is how you define it.
My daughter is coming up on 18 months now. She loves to nurse and honestly so do I. We have been using a supplemental nursing system (SNS) with donor milk or formula from around week 1. It was a hard learning curve and once again hard accepting my own limitations. However I treasure this experience and feel very empowered that I have been able to breastfeed even if it wasn’t the typical way most people do it.
Breastfeeding is a challenge
Morgan from Grace For This Moment had to say:
Hey there Momma! Congratulations on your bundle of joy and becoming a mom! With motherhood comes lots of choices and constant questioning of yourself. Breastfeeding is one of those big choices that comes with LOTS of questions and scrutiny quite frankly.
I chose to breastfeed both of my babies and loved it! It was the best decision I ever made but that doesn’t mean it was the easiest. Let me be the first (or 1,000th) to tell you that breastfeeding is a challenge but one with so many rewards. Breastfeeding is often VERY difficult in the beginning. With that in mind hang in there! Give yourself grace! My two pieces of advice are:
- Get a lactation consultant (most hospitals have them available for free)
- Find a group of breastfeeding moms to encourage you and cheer you on. (Facebook searches can bring wonderful results)
Don’t forget that you are an awesome mom and doing a wonderful job! I also have a list of breastfeeding essentials that were a huge help to me. Feel free to check it out here
Formula Feed from Day One
Breast Feeding shouldn't be painful
Candice from Keeping up with the Patricks had to say:
I have breastfeed all my three of my kids, one singleton and a set of twins. Whether you are feeding one or two babies I cannot stress enough how important nipple cream is in the first month. Nipple cream makes the world of a difference when it comes to breastfeeding. I cannot tell you how many moms have come to me saying that breastfeeding is so uncomfortable and painful and the simple solution for them was that they were not using nipple cream. If you are in pain while nursing then something is wrong. When done properly breastfeeding is not painful. The most common reason why you are in pain is because of improper latching. If it hurts then unlatch and try again.
It is recommended for breastfeeding moms to not to give a bottle or a binky before six weeks to not cause nipple confusion. Some mothers experience their babies not wanting to latch to the breast after giving a bottle too early. Babies can get milk out easier from a bottle than the breast and the baby prefers the easier route. It is also recommended not to pump before the baby is six weeks old. Pumping before six weeks can cause an oversupply that can lead to other issues. I know a lot of moms love to get a head start for when they go back to work, but you do not need a huge freezer stash. The milk you pump at work will be just fine to use the next day. As long as you are sticking to a strict pumping schedule you and your baby will be just fine. I hope you and your little have a wonder breastfeeding journey.
Hopefully, if you are a new or expectant mother these posts will have helped you learn more about feeding baby, and how that might not look how you expected but the important thing is that both you and baby are happy and healthy.
Make sure to check out their blogs to read more about how they survive the challenges of motherhood!