Friday, January 25, 2013

Switching from breastfeeding to formula at 6 weeks

By the time our little man was 4 weeks old all the visits from friends & family became less & less, everyone had gotten over the birth of Eddie & I had to get on with being a mum & doing it all by myself. This was hard as I never got any time to do F all. I heard some mothers would breast feed their babies every 4 hours...sounded perfect. But not Eddie, oh no! He wanted my boobs every hour. He was never off them. Sometimes after sitting in the most uncomfortable position for 20-40mins, I'd think finally he’s done, I'd begin to take my boob out of his mouth...then he would start to cry! So I'd have to put him back on again. I do believe I am partly to blame as the foods I was eating weren't particularly high in nutrition. After spending 9 months eating a well rounded diet (cutting out processed crap), all I wanted to do was eat McDonalds, and feast on tea & biscuits for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Which I did! So no wonder the poor bugger was always hungry.  
So many people said "stop breast feeding, you have done 4 weeks, that's good enough". But then the midwives say "try to persevere; your milk is so good for Eddie, think of all your antibodies you’re passing to him" etc. I SO wanted to give up but I refused to give MY baby artificial milk over my own. So then I started to use a breast pump & would express into bottles. I only needed a manual one (hand pump) since it didn't take much for my milk to come spurting out. If I heard any baby cry this could be on TV, or on the street, in shops all of a sudden my boobs would inflate up to my chin, I'd feel a sharp pain and yep those nipple pads would be weighing down my bra filled with milk because 'my milks just come in' as they say. Yes ladies this happens it’s really weird and freaky but it happens. Just as well I only needed a manual one though as the electric ones you’re talking over £100. I would freeze my milk, which you can do up to 6 months. Or store it in the fridge which you can do for 5 days. So it was a win/win situation. Eddie still got my breast milk, Steve could finally get to feed him, I could get on with things like having 1 hours baths (I milked bath time because it was the only free time I got) & I didn't have to keep whacking my boob out. 
This was going fine until I started to slack on the expressing & would replace my expressed milk with aptamil formula milk for one or two feeds a day thinking it wouldn't make a difference. It so did. Eventually by the 6th week my milk started to deplete. Less & less was being expressed into bottles. I went from filling up 5oz bottles to just 1-2oz...Then there was nothing left. I woke up one day looked at the mirror, lifted up my top & saw a pair of sad empty sacks staring back at me! Like deflated balloons!!! That was emotional. Not because my huge boobs disappeared, even though Steve was terribly sad, but because I felt like a bad awful person/mother for letting my milk dry up and giving Eddie artificial milk, filling his pure innocent little body with it. But my god did he love the stuff. He went from feeding every hour to every 3 hours because it was filling him up, leaving him content and satisfied. It had all the vitamins and nutrients I wasn't giving him and low and behold he started sleeping through the night. I am talking from 7pm till 7am. Sometimes even 9am or 10am! 
A sleepy content Eddie after a bottle of formula milk!

It did take me a while to get over the fact my milk went away it’s actually really sad! It’s only natural to breast feed that's how we women were built. But for me personally it was a struggle! You have to have a good diet so your baby is getting the very best nutrients from your breast milk. I wasn't and that was my fault. I miss the noises he used to make when he was breast feeding. But luckily I have it on video (I phone). I then began to cherish the things I took for granted like baths, reading & catching up on soaps. I finally had a bit of my freedom back.

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