Few things in life are as deeply satisfying as seeing your baby’s content face after they’ve been fed and burped. I mean, that’s the ultimate goal, when they are that little… you know, to get them to a place of contentness (i.e. dry, fed and burped). We do this because, well, for starters it’s against the law to starve your child. But also, we do it because when your child is content and happy, you are at peace and can finally rest.
And so when I started on my breastfeeding journey with my newest munchky, Asher, I knew that something was up when I wasn’t feel this peace and rest even after he had happily dozed off post-burp. I wasn’t at peace because I was kinda bracing myself for his next feed. In fact, I secretly hoped and prayed that the kid would sleep for as long as possible, cringing every time I hear him cry because that would mean that I would need to feed him again. Yeah, no drama, it was that bad. I was ready to give up.
The truth is that the start of our breastfeeding journey was bumpy. I had just experienced my first C Section (unprepared) and when he first latched, I didn’t consider the fact that laying in a flat down position (because of C Section) would mean that he wasn’t latching properly. The intense nipple pain that followed for like, 5 weeks, is something that you would find in a Stephen King novel… horrific. I’m talking “Bride of Chucky” bad.
It was then, during those painful early days of breastfeeding that I introduced my baby to the bottle for the first time. I expressed milk using my beautiful Medela mini electric pump and the kid took to bottle like a flippen champ. (Thanks to the cleverness of the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottle, soother and nipple shields. No lie, it’s genius!)
My plan was to toggle between bottle and breast until my nipples were somewhat healed and then go back to exclusively breastfeeding. But guys, something else happened… my two littlest kids (who were 4 and 2 years old at the time) started acting up. They were missing their mama and couldn’t understand why this new guy was hogging all the attention. It’s kinda hard to snuggle with your other kids when you permanently have a baby attached to your person. My kiddies needed me, but I didn’t want to stop breastfeeding Ash (who was cluster feeding as if he was permanently starving). All these barriers kinda stole away from the joy of breastfeeding. It suddenly felt like a burden.
It was ’round about this time that I had to make the decision… give up the boob OR attempt to combo feed. I chatted to a few moms and discovered that combo-feeding was a thing and people have been doing it, successfully, for many years (apparently I live under a rock). I mean, it wasn’t a foreign concept.
And so our new routine was birthed. He now bottle feeds once or twice a day and the rest of his feeds are still with me.
Friends, I know, breastfeeding is beautiful and magical and all of that but combo feeding totally freed me up! (Also, my nipples are rather ecstatic.)
I no longer feel “trapped” (for lack of a better word) when it’s feeding time but I have other things to take care of. My baby is fed and happy… which means I’m calmer and at peace, able to care for the needs of ALL my kids. Oh and double score: Ash still gets his breast milk straight from the, uh, cow, majority of the time.
Mood: Feeling like a Unicorn Mom.
I’ve learnt that breastfeeding is not an all or nothing situation… I mean, I can still breastfeed my child AND give him a bottle (and formula nogals) now and then. Obviously the more breast milk baby gets, the better. And there are great perks to exclusively breastfeeding… it’s probably the most magical experiences on earth (besides for actually giving birth to your baby, and like, going to Disney Land and stuff like that). You can read more about the magic of breast milk in a post I wrote here.
But, hey, sometimes a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do to stay mentally and physically healthy enough to love and care for her kids without putting her sanity on the back burner. No regrets here, whatsoever.
Also, I’m quite chuffed with my kid for being clever enough to take both boob and bottle without, you know, throwing his toys out of the cot (see what I did there). I mean, who can blame him… he has a Unicorn Mom.
If you want to know more about how to successfully combo feed, you can read these: