I’ve lost count of the number of times people ask “Are you still feeding her yourself Caroline?”
Part of me wants to be facetious and say “Yes, I pick up the bottle and feed her all by myself.” However, I bite my tongue and tell people that we are in fact combination feeding. This wasn’t something we planned; I couldn’t understand why people would do both – it seemed a little like sitting on the fence. I had planned to solely breastfeed but after a traumatic and frazzled evening following her birth we turned to formula to satisfy Elsie after she struggled to latch and was becoming more upset. Having a happy baby was far more important to me then worrying about feeling like I had failed, although it didn’t stop me feeling like I had.
I was sent an Ardo Calypso Double Breast Pump to try out and so I hooked myself up and continued to keep my supply up this way. In the early days I was just producing small amounts of colostrum which we cup fed to Elsie and then topped up with formula. Once my milk came in I would express the milk and she would have one or two expressed feeds a day to supplement the formula.
It wasn’t long before we realised that my milk wasn’t filling Elsie up as much as the formula and even after 3oz of breastmilk she would be chomping her hands minutes later. I was unable to physically pump a larger quantity and besides, Elsie’s tummy would be unable to take more than about 3oz at 2 weeks old anyway.
Now, at just over two weeks old, we are offering Elsie formula every 2-3 hours, as she demands it, and when she has her grizzly time during the evenings I offer her my breast which she takes without any problems. It now feels completely comfortable to feed her, she latches well and will feed for around 20 minutes on each side. It’s also handy if she grizzles whilst we’re out and about during the day as it’s not always convenient to warm up a bottle!
I never really understood why people loved breastfeeding so much but when I’m snuggled up with her and she’s peaceful and content I feel proud. It has made our bond strong and she just looks adorable and innocent as she feeds. Florence finds it all a bit peculiar that she has my boob in her mouth but I think she’s getting used to seeing my boob now and the strange looks are becoming more infrequent thankfully!
I can see us continuing down the combination route for a while, we will take our lead from Elsie. I should imagine as she starts to take more formula and sleep more routinely she will naturally drop the need for comfort feeds from me at random times during the day and night. I think I will miss the sleepy night feeds so I am trying to enjoy them while they last.