Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jacksta B's guide to... feeding your new sprog

Today I'm wearing an under wire...yes that's right...time to hang up the maternity bra for the third (and hopefully final) time. A week and half ago the bubba(9months) and I came to a mutual agreement that we were both done. I had been slowly weaning to a bottle anyway...having headed back to work part time for a few months anyway. With the last two feeders I would usually cut down to a couple of feeds and then finally stop by around 11months. So the sudden stop has been a bit painful. But all done now!
I have a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding. Some mums love that little bond that only they get to share with their little bubs, and I get that. But for me...it was just a means to an end. The baby needed to be fed and I had the "equipment". So after a little reflection on the whole topic...I thought I would share some of my personal thoughts on the matter.

Jacksta B's guide to... feeding your baby...
What I wish someone had honestly told me in the beginning.
Top 10 tips...First five on breast feeding and second five on formula feeding

1) It takes two to tango. There are two people who need to figure breastfeeding out. You may have read all the books but the baby hasn't. Learning the process between you both takes time, a good 6 weeks to 3months by the time you might feel might feel comfortable feeding in public.

2) Sometimes it hurts. I hated the way midwives or the books stated "It's not supposed to hurt". "Well it does!!!" I felt like yelling back. You are made to feel bad because of improper positioning etc...I think that some of us just have extra sensitive "areola", so they should just say that! Try some different positions, dose yourself up on as much pain relief and and nipple cream and try and push through. Again this may take a while.

3) Be discreet in public. Not every cafe or restaurant patron appreciates seeing boobies flung around. Not everybody thinks its as beautiful and natural as you do, so for their sakes have a little consideration. Just take a little muslin or something handy to protect from the inevitable flashes.
If you are keen to have a coffee somewhere, time it so you give bubba a feed before you head out. He sleeps dreamily while you relaxingly sip your mochacinno. Win-win! My first baby had her best sleeps in the cafe...obviously familiar sounds.

4) They leak at the most embarrassing times... So wear a breast pad. Even during *ahem* "getting your love on". So you might want to keep your bra on or have a towel handy.
It took me a few months to figure out how to control a "leak". When you are having a let down the other one starts to leak too! Annoying! So I eventually figured all you have to do is apply a little pressure right on the front on the breast and wait until the let down passes.

5) Sometimes no matter how hard you try...and how much you want to breastfeed...for what ever reason it just doesn't work out. And that's okay. Don't ruin your own mental health or the health of your baby just because the ideology of breastfeeding that's rammed down our throat makes you feel guilty for wanting or needing to formula feed. I read somewhere..."Breast is best, but bottle can be beautiful"

6) Formula feeding tips...try a different teat. There are a range of shapes and sizes, you may need to try a few to find the one your baby likes the most. Have a good supply of bottles so that you always have one handy, clean and ready to go.

7) Formula is expensive, so work it in the budget. Poorer families have been known to water down the feeds to stretch it a little longer. This is not a good idea. Follow the instructions on the tin precisely to avoid bubba getting sick.

8) Plan, plan, plan. Keep a rough idea of when your feeding times are and plan accordingly. Always keep yourself a tin of formula ahead of what you need just in case. A storm or power outage or earthquake, who knows what other natural disasters lurk around the corner in these unpredictable times. So be ready with some bottled water and extra tins so your baby is able to be fed what ever the case. Store extra supplies in the car for unanticipated stops away from home too.

9) Health professionals are on a push to encourage "breast is best" so don't have or provide information about which specific formulas are best etc. It all comes down to personal choice and personal research and trial and error. Google is your friend and a few brands have sample sized sachets to try. Always follow the instructions on the packet.

10) Ditch the guilt. As far as I'm concerned if your baby is fed, clothed, warm and loved...you are probably doing more than 50% of some of the mums in the world. Plenty of people have been given formula and survived till adulthood...happens everyday. I for one was formula fed. Before formula was invented in the 1970's, infants drank a evaporated milk substance...see history here so the modern day stuff is probably miles better, as long as its done with safe drinking water and sterilized etc.

What ever you decide breast or bottle, its okay!
You are in control of your choices and that's nobodies business. Make an informed choice with you and your partner and get on with it. Keep in perspective. There will be a million choices you will face as a parent. This is just one.

I hope I have given a balanced view and some helpful tips
on the topic...and all the best!

image from here


KendylsPlace said...

Jackie, this is awesome! I work in a BFHI (Breast Feeding Health Initiative or something like that) hospital, and so we arent allowed to promote or encourage formula, however we actually give it to HEAPS of our babies! I see soooo many Mums feeling guilty because breastfeeding isnt coming naturally for them, or they dont have enough milk etc, and its not right! Well said, girl - you rock!

Leonie said...

No matter what your intentions, breast feeding often doesn't work out for a variety of reasons.. when it does, great, but if Mum and/or baby are going to be happier with formula, then they need just as much support and encouragement with their decision... and its time for us to stop judging each other.
My children have had both, as I did too.

well written jackie!

Katie said...

Awesome post. I definitely agree with 2) - it does bloody hurt sometimes! But like you say - if you persevere it comes right and everyone gets the hang of it :-)
Can't wait until I can get the underwires back out!

Widge said...

Great post J. totally agree with everything your sayin. Mine were all breastfed for varying amounts of time (actually found the more kids I had the less I could feed due to running around everywhere after all the kids!!)No one warned me about that one. And your doing better than me today...I'm only wearing one underwire today....was sick of getting stabbed in the chest by an escape...so it's now sitting on top of the microwave...:)

Mon said...

Excellent post Jacksta. I had different experiences with each of mine, the first and third breast fed beautifully but my middle child HATED it, I produced less milk and so went to bottle after 16 weeks of us both going mad or hungry. I felt so much better after she went to bottle and she was happier too. For whatever reasons it was that way and I figured as long as we were all happy and she was getting the right nutrition it was good. I remember an older mum saying to me during my first pregnancy not to get worked up about breastfeeding and I'm so glad I listened to her sane advice.

weza said...

Great post!!! Breast feeding is dear to my heart. I love those moments with my baby(s), when they are so hungry and their little face just relaxes once the boobie is in the mouth. Fortunatly I have had success with feeding both the twins and Rico, but I do know what its like to have to put a bubs on the bottle. My first son was bottled after 6 weeks. I have actually just started making 'private pepe' nursing covers for feeding in public. I tell you I love mine.

Sima J said...

very good post. I was lucky enough to be able to feed both my boys though I agree with you in that it was a means to an end .. I sure got sick of being the only one who could feed them pretty fast! (and so did my boobs .. ouch!)

Anonymous said...

*like* - and it SO hurt! I've only met one person that it didn't hurt! lol.
You're a star - I think I'll save this to my desktop for August/September reads when I'm frustrated ;-)

Nikki Noo said...

Awesome Post! We are actually posting on the pressures to breastfeed over at The Mummy Diaries tomorrow. I will post a link to this when it goes up :)

Meghan at MNM's said...

Gosh posts on breastfeeding always bring out the comments don't they. I am with you on all you said. Totally. I only breastfed my boys for 4 months and that was long enough for me - and that was after nearly giving up around six weeks both times. I'm glad I persevered as long as I did (which by most people's standards probably doesn't sound long at all) but I never had that 'love affair' with it that some people get. It was a means to an end for me. Wish I could have 'loved' it more, but it just wasn't to be. And that's ok, or at least what I kept telling myself as everyone around fed and fed and fed....just wish that there was less of a stigma about it all, really I do! Would make for a lot less stressed out mamas in those early weeks when things aren't all going to plan!

jacksta said...

Wow thanks for the feedback! I think essentially every mum needs to hear..."you are doing a great job!"

The South African Kiwis said...

Good post Jackie! I always feel a little sorry for mums who feel they have to justify their decision to bottlefeed.
And as much as I agree with it I am OVER this breast is best campaign - both are valid choices and whatever works, works.
...don't encourage bottlefeeding... How about encouraging the new mum?

Sammy said...

What an awesome post! Leonie told me about it and its as good as she said.
I cannot tell you the pain of breastfeeding- was worse than labour. My girl was a chomper and I have senstive equipment and bled after a few latches.
I expressed for about 6 weeks but couldn't keep up as I had a toddler too- and the guilts nearly killed me. Still have lingering guilt!
I wish NZ supported more of a choice in feeding!

banban said...

Great stuff!!! ..... esp since I'm about to tackle that journey again..... and haven't had too much success in the past no mater how hard I tried..... lets see how far I get this time!