One of the decisions I pondered and analyzed and researched and drove myself a little nutty over prior to Layla’s birth was breast or bottle.
You would think with this being my fourth child, a decision like this would be a non-issue. But that wouldn’t be complicated enough for my liking. Thus, for nine months, I stressed about making the right decision.
When Grace was born, I was very young and very inexperienced in all things baby. I chose to breastfeed her mainly because being so young and inexperienced I was worried that we would struggle financially with the cost of formula. If my body produced food for her, why shell out the money to buy it? Plus, I was convinced it was the best thing I could do for my baby.
She took to the boob like a pro, but my lack of knowledge and my modesty issues at such a young age proved breastfeeding to be more challenging than I originally considered. I didn’t like the whole “feed on demand” thing because this child would be attached to my boob 24/7. And I had things to do. So, I put her on a schedule for every 3 hours and for three months we dealt with her screaming her head off whenever she wasn’t sucking boob.
At her 3 month check up, she hadn’t gained enough weight. After a humiliating tongue lashing from the pediatrician, I was instructed to supplement with formula after every feeding. Basically, I was told I was starving my child. I went home and cried to Chris about how I am a terrible mother and gave up entirely on nursing. Then I found a new pediatrician.
Four years later, Alex was born. I decided I’d give it another try. I had gained some experience and knew what signs of failure to look for. But this boy could eat! I tried to feed on demand as much as possible, and he was more often than not attached to my boob. At his 2 week check-up the doctor was concerned with his weight as well. Feeling like my body was failing to produce enough to sustain my child, I threw in the towel and switched to formula.
When Eva was born 22 months later, I didn’t even consider breastfeeding. And at her 2 week check up, her weight was low too! The doctor looked back at the other kids’ charts and shrugged. “It looks like you have skinny babies.” No tongue lashing or humiliation. She wasn’t concerned.
So was it really not my fault with the first two kids? And now I had opted out of breastfeeding when I really didn’t need to?
During my pre-op work up this time, the nurse asked whether I was going breast or bottle feed. I still didn’t know. I braced myself for the lecture of benefits of one over the other when on the day of her birth I still had not decided. But, the nurse smiled and said ok. That was it.
When I finally got to the recovery room and held my baby for the first time, the nurse told me I could feed her if I wanted or wait and the nursery would give her a bottle. Left alone with my little girl, we snuggled into bed and she seemed so hungry. Without a second thought, I fed my baby. She latched on immediately. It was one of the best feelings in the world.
Now at 3 ½ weeks, we are still nursing successfully. She wasn’t quite back to her birth weight at 2 weeks, but she is gaining an ounce a day…something the doctor was happy with.
And we have experienced Booby Success!