My baby feeding experiences
& 3 Products to Help Feed Your Baby -
however you choose to do so
Before I begin, I just have to say that I love both of these photographs that I found on the internet; to my eyes they are both utterly beautiful and it genuinely baffles me when people have strong views against one form of feeding a baby.
My baby feeding experiences
I have had 2 babies. Both had breast milk from me, expressed milk in bottles, and formula milk as well. I believe in the world of parenting, that is known as "mixed feeding".
My first born gave us some worry in the beginning and didn't do anything but lap milk like a kitten from a cup or be syringe fed for the first 7 days of his life.
I have had a little vampire baby who guzzled pink milk from me as my nipples were so cracked and bleeding.
And at one point a few months in I got mastitis so badly that I developed an abscess that had to be drained, twice. That wasn't much fun.
However, I enjoyed breast feeding. I enjoyed bottle feeding. I did both whenever or where ever I wanted, and I have to say that if there ever was any judgment, I was oblivious to it (my husband finds my ability to apply blinkers curious, I call it life coping skills!). I can honestly say that, personally, I have no preference of one form of feeding over the other. I can very clearly see the benefits and difficulties of them both.
I have often thought about writing a full blog detailing my breast feeding journey, in particular, as I felt that it wasn't "as advertised" on the NCT breastfeeding course I went on (this aside, I have nothing but glowing reports of my NCT course in the UK, especially the people I met). Suffice to say that breastfeeding was certainly not something that came naturally to me though. Or, I think, almost all of my NCT friends at least at first.
For me, breastfeeding hurt. With my first it took about 3-4 weeks to get to a stage where I wasn't digging my knees between the sofa cushions with tears rolling down my face, whilst my husband looked on in impotent bewilderment that we were persisting; and it was 6-7 weeks, with both of my babies, before it was something we just did without me needing to think about. Then it was easy. And yes, in case you think I blindly carried on without help: I did have midwives, health visitors, doctors, and a lactation consultant advising me.
Even so, after the first couple of weeks there was a bottle of formula used for the 11pm "dream feed". My husband always did this, and he loved doing it. It enabled me to get an early night and a big chunk of sleep, so I was only waking once in the night and sleep deprivation wasn't too bad.
But it came to a point, with them both (sooner with my first, more for financial reasons that anything else) that I decided I wanted my body back. I was not one of these lucky people for whom the weight just dropped off whilst breast feeding; I was constantly starving and I have no will power. After about 6 months with my first baby I switched to full bottle feeding (I was also pregnant again, feeling very tired, and suffering a bit with morning sickness); and about 10 months with my daughter (when we lived in France and formula is significantly more expensive).
All I am trying to demonstrate by sharing my little story is that I have been around the feeding block. I made the choices I did, when I did, because they were right for my family as a whole, and I have no regrets at all.
There are many products that I used that I would heartily recommend, but here I want to particularly highlight some favourites.
Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine
I have been meaning to review this product for AGES. I loved it so very much.
We called it our baby milk Nespresso machine! This machine prepares a bottle for your baby, at perfect body temperature, in under a minute. And anything which simplifies and makes life more streamline as a mum, is always going to be a winner for me. Whilst it is not necessary, as many millions of mums have made up formula bottles simply using water, it really is one of those gadgets that just makes life easier.
Whilst initially I tussled over the price, and waited for it to come on sale on Amazon, it was worth every penny and more and and I wish I had not delayed. I say this with love, it is even grandparent/babysitter proof!
Haakka Breast Pump
I did express milk for both of my babies. First time I used a cheap pump that was awful, I don't even remember what it was called. Second time around I used a very expensive Medela one, which was excellent!
However, I would like to share with you here a recommendation from my dear friend Sophie from Tout Simple, because she is raving about, and making declarations of love for, her Haaka Breast pump! And she is not the first person from whom I have heard good things about it.
Sophie has bought one of these for her second baby, and tells me it is fabulous. In fact, for the past 24 hours she has been sending me photos of the milk she has been gathering, when she has never been able to express milk before.
Haakaa is a pump that simply suctions on to your nipple and collects the milk while you feed your baby on the other side. This way you don’t waste the milk that you would normally lose into a breast pad.
It also works when you’re not feeding baby - although you have to lean forward a little to get a good position. Sophie got 2oz from 10 mins of “pumping” like this on the first night she got it: "I was just experimenting with it as it had just arrived. I’m confident I could have got way more!".
...and because I just have to shout from the roof tops about this next product - have a third recommendation from me if you choose to breast feed... or even if you have chapped lips!
Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream
This stuff is amazing. I've included it before in my Essential Baby Paraphernalia blog, but its so good it's worth featuring on Five Little Stars more than once!
For me, it was one of the products that made breast feeding possible. I think in the early week I had at least 2 tubes on the go at once in the house. Usually one by the sofa and one in my dressing gown pocket. My nipples were not used to being sucked on so much and it took its toll. And once your need for this nipple cream has passed from its conventional use on your nipples - it makes a rather good lip balm as well.
There are other brands of pure lanolin cream, but I was recommended this and found it to be superb, and readily available. I have to say, I have tried other Lansinoh products too and have rated them all highly. It is a brand that I love and would not hesitate to recommend. Especially what I call their "microwave boobs" (they, rather more conventionally, call them Therapearl Breast Therapy) which were reusable, washable covered, pads for inside your bra which you could warm up or chill, and were a little saviour of a product when I was engorged or had mastitis.
As always, I hope you find these baby feeding product recommendations helpful, however you choose to feed your baby. Or frankly, however your baby chooses to feed!
I am always delighted to share products that make life easier as a parent. If you are pregnant, have a little one, or want gift inspiration, I put together a list of what I think are the Five Little Stars worthy products that I bought and used with my babies in my "New Baby Paraphernalia" post.
Enjoy the journey.