By Renee Christel Rispin x

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Breast is Best...Part 2...(my journey from breast to formula) x

#TodayImExhausted...Little Monkey just won't settle. He's been fed, winded, cuddled, changed, singed to, danced to & pushed in the pram and yet he is not happy.  I'm now taking a well deserved time out in our bedroom while daddy takes over for an hour. 

Earlier this year I shared my concerns over how I was going to feed Little Monkey once he made his entrance into our lives.  In my ideal world I would produce milk and my son would receive the best of breast . Unfortunately even when I wrote my original post, I had major doubts on whether I would be a milk producing machine. Read here for Part 1...Click Here

My primary reason was due to the breast reduction I underwent in my early twenties to correct my mahooosive breasts. My surgeon had advised that the procedure could damage my nerves, my milk-producing ducts and my glands, making breastfeeding difficult.

Therefore I set about researching everything I could find online and asking health professionals about my options. Most of the information advised that I wouldn't 100% know whether I could produce milk until I had given birth. However I could start stimulating my nipples from week 36 in the hope it would get my colostrum started.  So armed with my lotions & potions, I took to my daily massages like a military operation. Unfortunately this became a daily frustration as my breasts produced nothing.

I still held onto some hope that I would produce colostrum post birth, however I was also realistic.  Therefore I set about researching different formulas and bottle brands.

The Steriliser
My first purchase was the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Starter Kit. I picked this up during a Black Friday promotion at Mamas & Papas for half price. Why Tommee Tippee? I just loved the classic and understated styling of the bottles and they also came highly recommended for switching between breast and bottle. 

Tommee Tippee Bottles x
The Formula
A week before my due date I became obsessed with milk formula. There was still no early signs of colostrum and I wanted to be prepared with a back up plan. Firstly I googled 'best breast milk substitutes' and it brought up 3 main contenders - Aptamil, SMA & Cow & Gate. Next I messaged my mummy friends and Aptamil was the milk of choice. Therefore we stocked up on the ready made bottles for hospital.

Aptamil Formula x
The could I couldn't I
Fast forward to post birth when I was required to try Little Monkey on my breast. Now at this point I'm traumatised by my recent birth experience, stressed for my husband who looked drained of life and more worryingly I was still feeling the effects of my diamorphine.

I remember at the time that our baby was crying and wouldn't even entertain my breast for a feed. When I gave them a squeeze, they were void of milk. Therefore I made the decision to go straight to the bottle. Little Monkey took to his feed like a trooper and has done since.  Aptamil has been fantastic and touch wood we've had no problems since. 

Little Monkeys First Bottle x
The Milton Tablets
Back home my husband and I settled into a feeding routine. However we became frustrated with conflicting advice on sterilisation. We were advised that each bottle was to be made up fresh for each feed. You could no longer make up a batch to last you 24 hours.

So with a screaming baby you had to boil a kettle and press the steam button on the Tommee Tippee steriliser (once opened, the bottles were no longer sterile). Add on top of this the cooling down period, our little monkey would scream the house down.

Our midwife came up with a great solution for knocking time off our bottle making. Rather than having to sterilise the bottles each time one needed to be made, she suggested we use Milton Tablets instead.  Therefore removing the shelving units in the steriliser, we just created a large sterilising bucket.

Our DIY Tomee Tippee Bucket Steriliser x
The Dreaded Colic 
In all honesty I still don't know to this day whether Little Monkey has Colic.  We went through a period when he just looked so pained and would straighten his legs out like stiff rods.  Concerned he was suffering with Colic my husband went out and bought Tommee Tippee Anti Colic Bottles.  Now the crying after feeds has decreased, but I'm unsure as to whether thats because we are getting better settling him, or due the bottles.  I guess we will never know.
Tommee Tippee Anti Colic Bottles x
My Conclusion
Little Monkey is now feeding happily at 5 weeks old, currently taking 120ml every 3-4 hours.  Our health advisor is happy with his progress and development and we've been lucky that he's not been a sickly baby.  Therefore I don't feel guilty that our son doesn't get breast milk, I think having a Mum who can pick him up without back problems is far more important. I have also been able to share those precious feed bonding times with my husband and my Mum.  Which I know for my husband has been invaluable. X
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