Baby Hints & Tips

Baby Steps: Got Milk?

Please speak to a qualified healthcare professional, such as a lactation consultant, before commencing formula feeding.  While formula is a good alternative to breastmilk, it does not provide all the same benefits; and partial breastfeeding can reduce breast milk supply. For more information please check out the Australian Breastfeeding Association website or you can read about dealing with low supply here.

Got milk?by Louise

When I fell pregnant, one of the main things I was absolutely certain about was that I wanted to breast feed. I knew that it was going to be the best way to nourish my child to help her grow and develop and that was exactly what I wanted to do for her. I wasn’t however, a mother or ‘professional’ who judged if someone decided not to, or if they just couldn’t. It is sad that people are judged for not breast feeding, or for even breast feeding in public. What is the world coming to?

Every mother has the right to choose how they believe is the best way to raise their child. Just like they have the right to choose if they want to shave or wax their underarms…or just leave it all natural. My point is that just like breast feeding, it is natural to have hair under our arms. But if someone didn’t shave or wax it away; would they be judged as doing something wrong?

When my little Tessa was born, she wouldn’t feed. I had swollen and heavy D cups (formally a B cup pre-pregnancy) just waiting to help my little girl grow, but she just wouldn’t latch on for more than a second. From everything I had heard prior to giving birth, I was terrified that the nurses were going to be super forceful and very insistent on breast feeding. However the opposite occurred. When she wouldn’t feed by breast, my nurses assisted me to express by hand to try feeding her with a syringe. When that didn’t really work, they tried formula. I was shocked that they would even suggest this option to me. The thing that surprised me the most however; was that when the nurse asked me if it would be ok to try a bit of formula, it was as if she was terrified that I was going to blast her down for even suggesting it. Goes to show how stereotypes are just that; a label that’s often incorrect.

After a good three days, I finally was able to get my little girl to feed and what a relief. I was excited to have persevered through it all to be able to give my little girl what I thought would be the best for her.

What happens though when your baby doesn’t gain any weight? When feeds are constant? When it hurts? When you just feel like a milking machine and you aren’t your own person anymore? When everything, like milk, turns sour (pun intended)?

So one day, I started giving my child formula. With everything that had happened to me since I gave birth, the last thing I needed was to be stressed that my child wasn’t healthy. I wanted to nourish her the way that she deserved to be nourished. How did I think I was going to do that when I really wasn’t eating properly myself?

I had an endless supply of milk; it just must not have been the good quality kind. The first time I put her on the formula I wanted to go cold turkey; big mistake. Ladies, don’t do it! Your little friends become somehow a whole lot bigger, and it hurts. Like, a lot! Also, I was in a change room trying on a bra when I begun leaking everywhere. I ended up standing there, holding my breast pads in place and wondering how on Earth I was going to get my bra back on without crying if I spilt more milk. So from that moment, I decided to ease her slowly off my milk instead. I had only lasted one day cold turkey.

When I eventually gave up breast feeding all together, the best part was that my child was healthy. She looked and weighed rather healthy. In fact, like a typical formula fed baby, she is now a tiny bit larger than she should be for her age. But I am utterly thrilled that she is happy, healthy and safe in my arms.

The next best thing was that I became myself again. After nine months of turning into some crying, bloated, rage of a woman, to a depressed milking cow…I was finally back to who I was pre-pregnancy but with a twist. These past six months have been an eye opener for me. I once believed pregnancy would be beautiful, giving birth would be like acting out a murder scene and breast feeding would be a wonderful event. Let’s just say that pregnancy was like an R rated movie to me, giving birth was a moment I would live over and over again just to get that pure and honest feeling of instant love at first sight again and breast feeding really wasn’t what was best for me and my baby.

 

Louise

Who is Louise? I’m a first time mum to my beautiful little Tessa. Every day I excitedly look forward to her smiles and developments while trying to hold it together as a single parent. I’m here to let you know how I’m honestly handling this scary but amazing life changing new direction in life. I’m hoping you can all relate and I’m not just going crazy! To see all of Louise’s articles, click here.

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  1. AvatarTayma says:

    This story was great to read. I too went through the same thing with my baby girl. It was the most emotional experience of my life. I was in so much pain, my little girl was loosing too much weight and I was not bonding with her because I absolutely dreaded ‘feeding time’. The worst part for me was the guilt I felt ( and to be honest i was my own worst critic). Once i made that hard decision to formula feed, my daughter put on weight and we both bonded, it was beautiful. She is now the healthiest 9month old. And I too started to feel ‘normal’ again. It was by far the hardest decision I have made thus far in my life, but as a midwife told me, ‘ darling this is the first hard decision of many, welcome to guilt and regret for the rest of your life….your a mum!’. My ob’s put things into perspective for me when he said that I was lucky this was the only hard decision i had to make (how to feed my baby), as other mums had life threatening decisions to make about their precious babies.

    I am now pregnant with no.2 and I would be lying if i said i wasn’t nervous/scared/freaking out about breast feeding this one. I will try and I will persist, but knowing how well my little one is doing now I will not put myself through the agony and guilt i did first time around. The first few years of our childs life, although highly and most important, are just that only a few years. How we feed them does not affect them when they go to school or when their an adult. Bonding, loving and being present with our babies is the most important gift we can give, i believe.

    Go all you mothers who have been able to breastfeed, I admire you all. But I do ask that those who may judge, to stop and think about the anguish we have felt as mothers who have not been able to breastfeed. We are no worse a mother. Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done, the more we all stick together and support one another, the better we and our children will be. I ask you, would you like your daughter to be judged wether they breastfeed or not when they one day become a mother??

    Thank you for sharing Louise, I am so happy your little one is doing so well and I wish you both all the happiness and health for the future.

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