May 10, 2013

Preparing for a Little One: To Nurse or not to Nurse?

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This week's topic for the "Preparing for a Little One" linkup is "Breast Feeding vs Formula." Be sure and join the conversation with Wifessionals and Five 27 Jones as bloggers explore different aspects of motherhood and babies. 

I want to start off by saying deciding to nurse your child or not is an extremely personal decision that requires a lot of thought, reflection, and dialog with your spouse or significant other. Each mother's path is different and there are no two children that are exactly alike, so don't feel as though you need to fit into a box.

For some mothers breastfeeding isn't an option and for others its as natural as breathing. I would encourage all of you new/expecting moms to take it one day at a time. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to breastfeed. Most of us grew up in a generation of bottle-feed babies and I think we all turned out pretty good. Your baby will not love you any more or less if you nurse them. Some nurses and lactation consultants will put pressure on you to nurse your baby but make sure you speak up if you are ever uncomfortable. You are mom and you know your child, and your body, better than anyone else ever could.

That being said, my personal experience nursing has led me on a roller coaster of emotions. A week before my maturity leave expired I started giving  <A> half formula and half breast milk because I knew that when I returned to work it was going to be nearly impossible harder to keep up with <A>'s feedings. After less than two weeks at work I stopped nursing altogether. I felt a huge cloud of disappointment creep over me when I made that decision. I honestly can't pinpoint why I was so disappointed. I promised myself before  <A> was born that I wouldn't put that kind of pressure on myself but in a lot of ways I enjoyed my time just him and I. I think men are instinctively providers and women are more so nurturers. But this was one case where I took great pride in the sense that I was providing something for my son that no one else could. Relinquishing that was hard for me. 

Since  <A>' s gone to all formula I've seen so many really positive changes in him. He had some minor stomach issues early on and they seem almost completely gone now. Plus, he's really fattening up (I sounds like I'm describing a Thanksgiving turkey). I don't think I was getting enough calories in my daily diet (hence this post) and when we made the transition to formula you there was almost instantly a visible change in his appearance and weight.

If you do decide to nurse your little one I recommend the following:

  • Expect some serious pain when your milk comes in and when you decide you're going to stop nursing.
  • Do research and talk to a doctor, nurse or lactation consultant when you decide to move to formula, you can't just stop cold turkey.
  • Invest in pads, cream, proper nursing bras, and a couple nursing tops.
  • Get a good breast pump. Call your insurance provider before you purchase anything because a lot of times you can get a pump for free under your insurance plan.
If you decide to formula feed your baby I recommend the following:
  • Sign up for coupons via Similac or Enfamil (or both).
  • Once you find a formula that your baby likes don't change it. Babies have a hard time adjusting to formula and from the research that I've done it takes about 10-14 days for them to really get used to a certain formula. Don't fix it if it's not broken.
  • You will need more diapers. Breastfeed babies may only poop once a week, bottle feed babies have completely different bowel movements. Make sure you note anything out of the ordinary and discuss it with your baby's pediatrician.

I think the ultimate goal is always doing what's best for you and your baby and only you can decide what that is. There are plenty of people that can offer support no matter what camp you fall into. Don't be afraid to reach out for help and advice.

And just to make you smile I'll leave you with this little ditty.

Happy Friday!

Be Blessed,


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