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.

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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.

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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.

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As expected I’m already running behind with blogging about Elsie! Matt had the first week off following her birth and we enjoyed spending time as a family and getting to know our new addition.  My blog has taken a bit of a back seat during this time but now Matt is back at work and Florence will be back at pre-school on Monday I want to make sure I keep a record of all the little changes that happen during these early weeks. Elsie is already changing so much.

Following Elsie’s birth I breastfed her, quite successfully, at the hospital and she had a good sleep.  We continued with the breastfeeding when we got home at 6:30am on Saturday 21st May and it was already feeling painful.  My boobs felt like they did in early pregnancy; anything brushing against them made me tense up. By 9pm on the Saturday evening I was frazzled. We’d been awake since Friday morning. Elsie was struggling to latch and my patience was shot.  So, we did what a lot of tired, frustrated new parents do and offered Elsie formula and we haven’t really looked back.  I have an Ardo Calypso double breast pump and so I continued to express milk and we cup fed Colostrum to Elsie until my milk came in.  The pump has been brilliant and I am so glad I persevered with it. We continued to offer a breastmilk feed to Elsie as and when I had one pumped. We ended week one combination feeding and it seemed to agree with our little lady as she only lost 4% of her body weight, dropping down to 8lb 6oz on Day 3.

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Whilst we’re talking about feeding, Monday 23rd May was a day of firsts.  We felt brave and went to the pub (that’s definitely not a first), but I did breastfeed Elsie in public, in the beer garden. She latched straight away and fed from both sides.  Success! Prosecco to celebrate!

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Elsie also had her first bath on Monday 23rd May, which she hated. She’s had two more since which she’s loved. Well, she didn’t say as much but there were no tears.  Progress.

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Thankfully Elsie’s cord dried up and fell off on Day 4 and it has left her with a lovely little belly button; however I am still unsure whether it is going to be an inny or an outty! We didn’t keep the cord as quite frankly it makes my stomach turn!

We also took the pram for a spin on Monday 23rd (gosh, we were busy). Once again, Elsie wasn’t keen but we have since enjoyed many peaceful walks so hoping it was just the shock of it all.

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Night times, during the first week, were a little hit and miss. Matt and I had been sharing the feeds so I would do the feeds until around 2am and then Matt would take over until the morning.  This seemed to work well.  We have a double bed in Elsie’s nursery so whoever is on the feeding duty stays in there whilst the other gets some much needed rest.  We started the week using a basic, cellular blanket to cover Elsie during the night but it became apparent that she quite like being smothered (not literally) in blankets and wrapped tightly so I invested in a Gro Swaddle.  We had a few successful nights in the swaddle, although she did manage to wriggle out by the morning, but then she grew up on it and it’s been in the wash since.  Washing doesn’t get done quite as quickly as it used to!

On the whole we seem to have a very content little baby.  Matt and I are both much more relaxed this time around and seem to be enjoying the early days and embracing the tiredness a little better than we did when Florence was a baby.

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