We’d had a few good nights with the baby. He’d gorge himself on formula, then a quick diaper change, swaddle and cuddle and pass out for a few hours. This meant that I could sleep for a few hours as well. It was a nice change from when my first child was born and wouldn’t sleep anywhere but in someone’s arms. Being able to put this kid down and get some rest was absolutely vital to making it through the next day.
Formula feeding was going great, until one night, he started rooting like he wanted to nurse. It was late, and since he wasn’t settling any other way, I figured we could give it a try. I’d taken the breastfeeding classes when I was pregnant with my first, and failed at it miserably. It was a combination of a lot of factors that worked against us. My first born son had a really strong gag reflex that triggered when he latched with all the negative results that go along with that. My milk never really came in either, so there wasn’t much incentive for him to try, as there wasn’t much to get. And he was a hungry kid, needing a lot more than I could provide, even if I was pumping and giving it my all.
With this baby, though, the transition was much easier. He took to it naturally, and although he liked to take his time, the effort seemed worthwhile. I told my husband the next morning that he’d latched and we nursed and said I was going to give it the old college try. Then the milk came in, and the soreness, and bleeding. My stomach got wildly upset by the random contractions that breastfeeding caused in my guts.
The pain was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. (I know that there will inevitably be the comment here that if I’m in pain, I’m not doing it right. I’ve heard that, but also, I’ve been told that it can be uncomfortable in the beginning, and believe me, some women just experience pain.) Although I’m doing my best to take care of my body so it can nurse, at this point, I’m not sure this is sustainable on the long term. It takes the baby about an hour and a half to nurse on both sides, and even when he’s done, he’s still hungry and takes formula.
The problem there is that I have no idea how much breastmilk he’s already gotten to figuring out how much formula to give him is anyone’s guess. Also, because he takes so long to feed, I’m missing out on time with my other son, so nursing at night is something I have to find the right time for, which isn’t ideal given the demands of a newborn feeding schedule.
In the end, I’m resigning to do it for him once a day, and hopefully my supply will wane enough to wean him onto formula. I feel badly for it, because it’s got so many benefits. The pediatrician has been supportive though, and on the formula he’s gained back all of his birth weight and then some. She basically just wants him to be fed and happy, so however we get there is fine. It’s hard to know what the right choices are, and what’s going to work. In the end, I’m trying to trust my gut and make it the right call for my family.