Real Mum Confessions - I’ve fed each of my three children differently: Here’s what I want you to know.
How you feed your baby is a hot topic for new parents. Breastfeeding, formula feeding, pumping, mixed feeding; there are so many ways a baby can be fed, and everyone seems to have a really strong opinion on what’s the right (and wrong) way.
Personally, I have 3 kids, and each of them was fed differently. The reason for this is that each of my babies were different, and my own personal circumstances were also with each child. So if you’re confused or feeling guilty about how you choose or need to feed your baby, here’s what I want you to know.
Don’t ever feel shame about how you choose to feed your child
My firstborn was exclusively formula fed. I was a very young, single mum and breastfeeding just wasn’t on my radar. Whether this was because my own mum never breastfed, and none of my friends had started having babies, I don’t know. But I do know there were some people who tried to shame me for not breastfeeding and it felt awful.
I absolutely acknowledge that breastfeeding has some amazing benefits, and we should provide a supportive environment to empower women to breastfeed if viable, but shaming someone for their choice is just never appropriate. My baby was healthy and thriving, and formula feeding was the choice that was right for me and my child at that time. He’s now a healthy, and incredibly smart teenager.
Sometimes the choice is taken out of your hands, and that’s ok too
My second baby was never able to successfully breastfeed due to several medical issues associated with her birth. I found this idea very hard initially, as I really wanted to try breastfeeding this time around. But eventually I realised that again, if my baby and I were happy and healthy, our feeding journey would work itself out. I exclusively pumped and fed expressed breastmilk for the first 6 months of my daughter’s life and then we switched to formula. Out of all my children’s feeding methods, I found exclusively pumping probably the most challenging, however it was something that was important to me at the time, so I’ve got zero regrets.
Breastfeeding is amazing, but it can be difficult
I am currently still breastfeeding my third child at 18months of age. We’re at the stage now where I basically have to do nothing apart from sit down and she does all the work for me, but it definitely didn’t start that way. Whilst I was a 3rd time mother, I was a newbie at breastfeeding, and I needed a fair bit of help from a lovely lactation consultant to help us find our groove. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you feel you need it, lactation consultants are worth their weight in gold.
There are some products that really helped me out
Just as every feeding journey is different, every parent will have different products they really love that suit their circumstances. Here are mine!
For breastfeeding I didn’t go anywhere without my Milkbar Breastfeeding Pillow for the first 4-6 months. Apart from having a super cute name, it saved my back and neck, especially in the early days when I was having a lot of trouble getting into the right position. I also adored the Lactivate Ice and Heat breast packs to help soothe sore and engorged breasts.
If you’re planning on doing a lot of pumping, a good breast pump is essential. Personally, I used a Medela branded double electric pump, like the Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump. The double pump meant I got more milk in a shorter period of time, and I combined it with the Medela Easy Expression Bustier so I could be hands free.
To be honest, when I exclusively formula fed, there weren’t as many cool gadgets on the market to make life easier (or if there were I didn’t know about them!) so I was pretty low tech. But if I were to formula feed in today’s world, a good steriliser would be on my wish list such as the Phillips Avent Microwave Steam Steriliser or the Tommee Tippee Electric Steriliser for something a bit fancier! A no-brainer is finding a bottle that works well for you, such as the Tommee Tippee Newborn Bottle Feeding Pack.
If you’ve read this far, the only thing I want to leave you with is even though I know it’s hard, have the confidence to stick by the decisions you think are best for both you and your baby. I fed each of my children differently and I’ve had amazing, loving bonds with all three of them. No one else knows your situation better than you do.