I decided to try breastfeeding again this time. I managed it for four and a half months with my toddler and do agree that it gives babies a great start, as well as being cheap and at times relatively easy. I say “at times” and use the word “relatively” as breastfeeding can be very, very hard and I have to say I have found it hard this time.
I always prepared myself for the fact that I would likely combination feed, if not stop completely as I know how time consuming and demanding breastfeeding can be and couple that with a demanding existing child and you can imagine the picture! I have found this to be the case this time!
Baby clusterfed all night most nights for the first week at least and after that I was up for huge periods of the night, so by the end of week two I was exhausted. My body was physically shaking and I felt like I had a bucket on my head, I was so tired I couldn’t take in what people were saying, everything was just echoey and almost distorted. I realised there was no way I could be awake all night and function to look after a toddler the next day, so I introduced an evening bottle of formula to try to see baby through the night a little more and it did work.
The day my husband returned to work I realised I also couldn’t exclusively breastfeed during the day, as my daughter was wanting me to play and demanding my attention, but baby was also demanding my attention and feeding constantly. I kept having to tell my daughter to “hold on” and found myself saying “mummy won’t be a minute” or “mummy can’t right now darling” and this made me get a bit emotional as I felt like piggy in the middle and bad that I couldn’t give my daughter the attention she has always had from me. So I have also introduced a bottle or two during the day too to fill baby up and reduce the time spent with on / off breastfeeding, as well as an additional bottle during the night. I guess I could officially say I am at present combination feeding, but potentially heading towards solely bottle feeding.
I am one for structure and being organised, even though hubby calls me organised chaos! I like to know where I am and what to expect and I have felt this time with breastfeeding that I am totally disorganised and can’t plan my day like I want to and effectively plan in quality time with my toddler too. So this is probably another reason for my decision.
I’ve got mixed feelings about moving from breast to bottle. I don’t feel pressure or guilt in any way, it is certainly the best option for me and so far I have given her over a month of breast milk. I am probably more gutted that I now have to wash and sterilise loads of bottles and constantly buy formula! I am also feeling the pain! My breasts have been really engorged and I’ve even resorted to the Savoy Cabbage tactic to try and ease the pain (have to say it seems to have worked a bit!)
It’s early days in the combination feeding stakes and I am still trying to find a structure in breast v’s bottle feeds, as I keep mapping it out but then baby wants more food and I end up popping her on the breast for a quick thirst quencher if the bottle isn’t due or ready, which then has a knock on effect on the next feeding time, but we’ll see how we get on… You would hope that things will only get easier!?!