Friday, August 19, 2011

How to bottle feed with love

Ahh the joys of a pregnancy.. You have all these dreams, thoughts, and expectations for your baby. When I was pregnant with N I knew exactly what an dhow I wanted to do things and along with that I just KNEW I was going to breastfeed. Its natural, more bonding, it cures cancer, makes your child smarter, never ill, and all around its just better in every way.. Right? Wrong. I tried to breastfeed N, I really did. I battled through the pain, cracked nipples, engorged breasts, some consultants telling me "No he's latched properly he just has a forceful suction" to "NO if it hurts you're doing something wrong hes not latched right" but then no one could tell me how to fix it. I decided I could get through the pain (another tips that it takes a few months for the pain to go away) because I knew it was best to breastfeed for at least a year.  But then his first big growth spurt hit.. And he was feeding every 30 mins and fussing the other time. He never seemed full and he just cried. The PPD was already setting in and J came home from work early after a frantic call from me to find me sitting in the dark, alone, crying, wondering how crappy of a mother was I that I couldn't handle breastfeeding. He promptly went and got the "just in case" can of formula we had and made up a bottle and fed N. And he was quiet and content. The next day I changed his diaper and he has blood in his stool and I freaked out again, he had a milk allergy and I did it to him by feeding him the poison known as formula according to my google searches (Fast forward 3 1/2 years and we find out hes not actually allergic to milk but any dairy that isn't organic.) But I still cant keep up w the breastfeeding and he was so content with the formula. After seeing the Dr. she tells me that formula is not the evil poison Ive been reading, has me change his formula around and tells me that hes gaining a little slowly with just breast milk. A month later he's content and gaining perfectly. But that didn't stop me from my guilt and in that guilt I searched desperately for ways to bottle feed with love and bonding and there was nothing. So I taught myself through trial and error and when my 2nd baby came along I made the choice to skip breastfeeding altogether and M is a bottle fed only baby. So I want to share with all those mamas that maybe couldn't or just didn't want to breastfeed how to bottle feed with love and connection.
*Disclaimer: Breastfeeding has great benefits and it is natural, but to me so if not shaving your legs. Both of which are natural but not natural for ME or my family. Bottle and formula feeding is the natural choice for my family and myself. My son is 3 days shy of turning 4 and I can count on 1 hand how many times hes been sick despite being regularly exposed to illness between play dates and me being sick. Hes ahead of many milestones and is an incredibly loving, compassionate, imaginative little boy. M is 9 moths old and again has been sick twice and neither time was bad enough to go to the Dr. And is also ahead of his milestones by 2-3 months. Breastfeeding has benefits and so does bottle feeding. Please make the choice right for you and your family and don't feel guilty if that choice isn't breastfeeding.*

Ok. So after we have clean and washed the bottles and made up the formula (1 scoop for every 2 oz of water) Sit down and make time for your feeding. Boppy pillows are a Godsend, they prop the baby and allow you to cradle without your arms hurting. When you cradle your baby their mouth naturally will be close to your breast, position your bottle there, I tried to wear soft, thin shirts or low cut V neck shirts so baby's face can nestle against your chest or they can feel your body heat through the shirt. You can look into your baby's eyes, smile, talk, give kisses on their little nose. My boys always wrapped their little hand around one of my fingers and stared at me while we had feedings. Steady your breathing to breath deeply and relax, baby can feel your energy and moods. If feeding before a bedtime or nap time then have the area darker and maybe play soft music or read stories. Bottle feeding doesn't mean that we are lazy mommies and just prop feed our kids all the time. You can easily create the same bond and love bottle feeding as you do breastfeeding. And I hope this helps moms out there searching for answers and help.

Note: The baby in the picture isn't mine ;) But seemed perfect for the topic. Happy bottle feeding mamas!

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