We have been supplementing with formula since day one because my recovery was so difficult. I have been struggling with guilt over this. My plan was to breastfeed exclusively for three months and start pumping so that I can slowly introduce bottled breast milk before I go back to work. I wanted Aiden to have only breast milk for the first six months of his life… there go my plans again! Parenting so far has been in a word – unpredictable.
My guilt about giving my baby formula is somewhat complex and I myself don’t fully understand why I feel so guilty. I know that it was important for me to recover and be in good health, I know that formula offers adequate nutrition for my baby, I know that I myself was a formula fed baby! But to me, for me, I just couldn’t help but feel deep down that I wasn’t giving my baby the best food for him. For days I cried and thought "I’m giving him milk from a cow... he isn’t a baby cow!” But more than that, I had made a commitment to breastfeed and on day two of being a mom, I had already broken it.
Since the first few days are so crucial to establishing milk supply, it has been difficult to decrease the amount of formula we give Aiden, but it is going great so far. He nurses all day long, and all night for the overnight feedings. He usually gets one bottle of formula right before bed. Sometimes he will get some more if he is staying with a babysitter and I don’t have a chance to pump. Pumping has definitely been a challenge but that’s another blog post entirely. For now, I am learning to let go of the guilt and feel good about how I have cared for my sweet boy so far. He is growing, he is happy and he is healthy... what more could I ask for?
At about six weeks old now, my baby has started to make it very obvious that he prefers breast milk over formula. For the past two days, he has been refusing it and wanting to nurse longer. I have to admit, this has made feel all kinds of wonderful. It’s like he is choosing me or something. Regardless of what happens though, I am thankful for how far baby Aiden and I have come in the past six weeks and hopeful for the weeks and months ahead of us.