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.
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.
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.