My breastfed baby out of a bottle

My Breastfed Baby Out Of A Bottle

I am a first time mommy of the age of 25 and when I was pregnant I was determined to breastfeed. I thought breastfeeding was plonking the baby on the breast and that’s it. Ha! Little did I know!

I tried to prepare myself as best I could. I read articles, watched videos but nobody really talks about the struggles about breastfeeding, I was so ignorant. I was about 36 weeks pregnant and I started leaking colostrum and my gynae told me that I have a very good chance at breastfeeding.

I was so excited and determined. We attended ante natal classes and had a class specifically focusing on breastfeeding. Which was informative, but in my opinion, more focus must be spent on breastfeeding – I will share in more detail later in my writing.

So my scheduled c section arrived for the 11th of July 2016. I told the nurses no formula unless it was medically necessary as I wanted to breastfeed. My little boy was born and it was the most beautiful day of my life. My breach, 3.92kg baby had arrived. The baby we have waited 9 months for!

So as I lay in recovery my husband went with baby. They measured his sugar and unfortunately his sugar was too low and they couldn’t wait for me so my husband had to consent and they had to supplement with formula. That was the biggest mistake which affected my breastfeeding journey.

When I finally got to try and breastfeed my baby he had already been supplemented twice. He was lazy and sleepy and wouldn’t latch. The nurses are also not really pro breastfeeding and didn’t offer much help. It’s so sad to think how little encouragement and help we get, even from our private hospitals.

We tried getting him to drink with a nipple shield but the flow was too slow for him. He was already used to drinking from a bottle – and that from only two times. I kept trying full force to breastfeed him for the next three days but I didn’t succeed. I ended up giving him a bottle just so that he could get milk into his little tummy.

I was also still recovering from a c section so comfort was zero. I had help, My grandmother came to help me, my mother tried, we tried all the positions under the sun, we even got a lady nurse to come and help me but my boy just wouldn’t. He continued to take two sucks and then sleep on the breast.

I eventually started expressing for my little boy with a hand pump that I was blessed with from someone. I was determined for him to drink my liquid gold by any means even if it meant in a bottle. Hand pumping became really strenuous and very soon bought a single electric pump and not long after that we upgraded to a double electric.

I had been pumping religiously; Every. Single. Day. For the past 8 months. As if being a full time working mother isn’t tiring enough, sitting jailed to a pump for 4 hours of your day is nothing enjoyable. You can only read Facebook so much, then you have seen everything already. Expressing was so boring for me. My breastfeeding journey was nothing enjoyable. The only reward for me was knowing what I was producing was growing my baby.

You plan your day around your expressing schedule. While you are expressing you can’t even see to your own baby – Thank God I had a hands on Husband. I don’t know what I would have done if he wasn’t helpful.

I was very blessed to have a great milk supply with the help of medication; I was able to express 1.2L of milk a day which my boy used to drink everything of. One of the terrible side effects of the medication was picking up weight. Which made me REALLY negative. So I decided to slowly wean myself off of the medication by dropping one pill every 2nd week and I can proudly say I completely stopped the medication and my supply was still intact.

I recently had a few rough weeks where I struggled to express. I couldn’t get the milk out. The milk was there but I couldn’t get it out. I was unable to initiate a let down. I now know how other mommy’s feel that struggle to get a good reaction from expressing. Where it took me 40 minutes a session to express it took me a hour and a half. Which ended up killing me as I had a teething baby and was waking up 6 – 7 times a night sometimes. I just couldn’t anymore.

I gave my baby boy 1.2 L of liquid gold for 8 months but my body was telling me it was enough. I was exhausted and I couldn’t anymore. I was also emotionally stressed. Every time I have to express I started worrying about if I am gonna get enough milk for my babys daycare the next day.

This led me to making the most difficult decision I have ever made it my life. I decided to stop breastfeeding.

My goal was to feed him to one year and I couldn’t even reach my goal. I feel so guilty. It feels as if I am failing my son because I am giving up before I was ready to give up but my body was telling me its time. I went and got the pills to dry up the milk and I started taking them.

I was so engorged I wanted to cry. I had to pump and dump to avoid mastitis. That was the most difficult thing I was ever to do was to express and throw my milk away. I couldn’t bare the thought of it. After expressing I left the milk in the basin and my husband had to throw it away, I just couldn’t.

Today is the first day that I feel okay. The milk is mostly gone but the guilt is everywhere. Every time I make a formula bottle that guilt hits me like a bat in my face.

I don’t think anyone realises the sacrifice a mother makes to either breastfeed or to exclusively express for your little one. I mean you have to eat healthy, avoid spicy foods, some mommy’s have to avoid all dairy products, limit caffeine intake and the biggest killer for me was not being able to take a proper pain pill when necessary.

Watching my little boy grow from my milk was an absolute dream come true but I have to put myself first. I completely agree with the statement “Fed is best” as long as you are feeding your baby that is all that matters, whether it be by breast or by formula. Mommy you are doing a great job!!

If I can give a small word of advice to new mommy’s to be please attend a La Leche League meeting if you can or join their Facebook group. They have lactation consultants and can most likely help you with your baby’s latch. I only found out about them when it was too late, I wish I knew about them while I was still pregnant.

If you plan to breastfeed empower yourself with as much information as you can. Do research on how a baby should latch, the latch needs to be deep in order to avoid cracked and bleeding nipples. Watch videos, watch them over and over and over again.

Know that a baby is going to want to breastfeed ALL the time to establish your milk supply. Throw your clock away and wear comfortable clothes and just breastfeed. Know it is not going to be sunshine and roses. It is going to be difficult but I do believe that it can form a special bond between you and your child. But if it doesn’t work out for you. Thank Goodness​ for technology. Thank goodness for formula.

Remember Fed is best!!!! (I need to keep telling myself this)

I felt the need to share my story and hopefully get some closure.

Thank you for reading.

Article sent in by Olga Neuhoff

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  1. @olgzie thank you so much for sharing your story. I know there are so many moms all struggling with their mommy guilt for so many different reasons…but I think breastfeeding is something that sparks guilt in a lot of moms. I know that I have my guilt. I followed the wrong advice with my first born and started topping up her feeds with formula which resulted in her weaning herself from the breast by 6 months old. I felt guilty about that in itself but on a deeper level I felt guilty because I struggled so much with the breastfeeding that I was glad she wanted the formula so I could rest.

    Then with my second child the breastfeeding went a lot smoother because I had learned a lot by then, but I still struggled and my health was suffering. I weaned him at 13 months even though he very clearly didn’t want to.

    We all have our mommy guilt moments, but honestly like you say if your baby is being fed you are a GOOD mom.

    • Thank you so much for publishing my story I really appreciate it. It felt good to get that off my chest!!

      • It is an absolute pleasure @olgzie I am so sure that a lot of moms will be helped by reading your story.

  2. Thank you for the story it was touching! My babies sugar was also a problem at birth but luckily they put him on my breast straight away. I also pump 4 times a day. I breast feed and bottle feed and its been 3 months. I now start to freeze milk for when my supply is low as i would love to give him breast milk for as long as i can. Sometimes i feel quilty for not putting him on my breast with evey feeding but im happy that i can give breast milk

    • @olgzie @karla I also found expressing really hard. I would spend so much time expressing and hardly any milk. I can only imagine that it would have taken hours out of your day to express Olga! I remember once spending 2 full days expressing milk so I could leave my son with my mom for 4 hours while I went out with a friend to watch a movie and have dinner. I think I got about 500ml out. I called my mom after dinner before we went into the movie to ask how it went and she said my son was sleeping but he had guzzled all the milk! This was my first outing without my son and I was in a panic he would wake up and want milk and I wouldn’t be there. Luckily he never woke up but it is very distressing.

    • Good luck mommy. I am sending you lots of love and thoughts as I know how tough expressing is. But if it gets too much and you cant anymore dont feel bad if you switch to formula. You also need to consider your well being!

  3. Thx for sharing your story…for someone that could not breast feed i find this inspiring and interested. I could not even express enough to bottle breast feed my baby.

    • Thank you Lisa. You did the best for your baby that you could – you fed your baby which is most important!!

  4. Aw, Olga, I feel for you! I want to cry when I hear that babies have been given formula without Moms knowledge or consent – and I agree with you, that is exactly what affected your breastfeeding journey. You have done SUPERBLY well to express breast milk for your baby for such a long time. I really take my hat off to you. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. You did whatever it took (and it took a LOT) to give your child 8 months of liquid gold. I wish there was a way I could reach through the ether and give you the hugest, warmest hug that would squeeze that Mom guilt right out of you.

    • @happyhumanpacifier I should make a MEGA like button for comments like yours 🙂 I knew you would be able to help @olgzie with some kind words What you have said is so right. I tried expressing a few times and it was so hard I gave up on that only breastfed my boy. I honestly don’t think I would have been able to be as dedicated as Olga. I think she did an epic job!

    • I needed to hear this again. Thank you again for your kind words

      The guilt has been bad again today

      • Oh shame @olgzie I am sorry to hear you had a bad day.

        I have to say that I often have bad mommy days, it goes with the territory I think. The mom guilt is always there, I just have to find ways to cope with it and to be positive.

        Try and remember that you did an awesome job. You know I once did nothing for 2 full days except breastfeed my son and express and all I managed to get out was about 200ml of milk. I wanted to go out with a friend to supper and a movie and leave my baby with my mom. He chowed all that milk before we had finished supper and we hadn’t even started the movie!

        I never bothered again after that, so I take my hat off to you being able to feed your baby expressed milk for so long.

      • Thank you Lynne you are such a special person!!

      • So sorry to hear that Olga @olgzie
        Hope you feel better soon. Just noticed I forgot to mention how very rare it is in our Western culture to breastfeed even to 8 months. Have you looked at the Stats? Take a look at this article…maybe you’ll feel better…

      • Geez I had no idea the breastfeeding stats were so low. I would have thought that the countries that have the best maternity leave benefits would have the best rates of breastfeeding but obviously that is not so.

        Thanks for sharing that article!

      • Fascinating hey Lynne? Thanks for leaving a comment on that post. Where do you find the time? You’re an absolute HONEY! Can I award you 50 Bonus Points?? xxx

      • 50 points yes please @happyhumanpacifier LOL

  5. Lauren Kinghorn

    Totally agree with you, Lynne. Epic!

  6. Thank for sharing your story 🙂 This is a great story and a useful information for mothers

  7. @olgzie You have probably expressed so much details and your own emotions that many mommys can relate too and wont feel alone. Although my son is now 11. I personally can relate on a different level as i had too much milk and stopped for my sanity of trippling my boob size my boobs got rock hard every feed my son was satisfied but only for my sanity did I chose to go on the bottle. i emotionally couldnt handle my own body and the amount of milk that I fed my son and expressed daily. I even bathed in my own milk. But talking of you here you have done your utmost best and your child received the best in those 8 months you supplied him milk. That is blessed in itself

  8. Thanks for sharing your story its really touching

  9. Oh you should not feel guilty at all. I found breastfeeding so hard and I was never able to express breast milk successfully. I hardly ever got anything out so it was not worth the time and effort.

    I found that hard because I had to keep my baby with me all the time in the beginning and felt like I never had a moment off. I would have loved to have been able to successfully express some milk and get some rest.

    I am sure that you worked really hard to feed your baby. I can say with absolute certainty that if my baby didn’t want to latch or if I had more difficulty than I had with breastfeeding I would have put my baby on formula.

  10. Thank you for such a lovely heart felt article.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article, was rather tearful but was reality and was so touching.
    I am almost certain that there are a lot of moms that can relate to your story, maybe not exactly the same but similar in many ways.

    Just so you know, you did an awesome part in breastfeeding your little one.
    Well done. ?
    Mommy guilt is going linger around for the rest of your life. My son is four years of age and mommy guilt is a bad nightmare that doesn’t go away period.

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