It’s taken me a while to write about Megan’s feeding journey but I’ve finally got round to it!
Before she was born I prepared for every eventuality when it came to feeding my newborn. Breastfeeding Harry had been a challenge to begin with and I struggled emotionally with the disappointment that he hadn’t magically latched like a pro the first time I tried to feed him. I cried a lot about it and, more than once, was told to just give up and use formula. In the end, after a draining week of expressing milk and topping up with formula, I managed to breastfeed and combination fed for 7 months.
When Megan came along I felt a lot more relaxed about feeding her and had more realistic expectations. I knew that feeding could be hard and that giving formula if needed wouldn’t be the end of the world. I had a breast pump, steriliser, bottles and some small bottles of formula at home ready to follow her lead and use whatever worked best for us.
I needn’t have worried about struggling to breastfeed Megan. She was born rooting and latched on like a pro the first time I fed her. Maybe it was because I was more relaxed or maybe she was just hungrier than Harry during those first hours after birth but feeding just felt easy with Megan.
Over the next week my milk came in and Megan steadily gained weight. During this time Megan fed constantly… I mean literally every 30 minutes. I was asked a few times by friends and family who could see how tired I was if she was still hungry and needed formula to fill her up more. They were trying to help and being so supportive but I knew that she was gaining weight and had lots of wet and soiled nappies so I stuck to my guns and continued to breastfeed exclusively. Gradually, over time, she went longer and longer between feeds and now, at 2 months old, often goes 2-3 hours between feeds in the day and sleeps for up to 5 hours in one stretch at night.
When Megan was about a week old I started expressing milk so that Alistair could give her a bottle. We decided to do this for several reasons. Firstly Alistair enjoyed being able to feed her, secondly I really needed some sleep and thirdly I really liked the freedom that Harry taking a bottle gave me when he was little. Although I’d decided to keep exclusively breastfeeding I still wanted this freedom with Megan and was keen for her to take a bottle like her big brother. It’s advised that you don’t offer bottles or dummies this early but after our experience with Harry we decided that we’d give it a go and see what happened.
When I was pregnant we were sent some MAM anti colic bottles. I liked the fact that they are self sterilising and the teat is designed to make going between the breast and the bottle easy for baby so we decided to give them a try. They also look really sweet and have cute little designs on them which the vain side of me loves! Megan took to them instantly, happily drinking expressed breast milk from them and having no issues when I fed her again later. The bottles are brilliant and I’d recommend them to anyone who is combination feeding or formula feeding.
We quickly got into a routine of Alistair looking after Megan from 9-11pm and giving her a bottle, bath and then bringing her up to bed while I got some desperately needed sleep. More recently we’ve stayed up together until 10pm so haven’t always given Megan a bottle at this time. I’ve been out a few times without her though and, even without using a bottle daily, she’s been fine when it’s offered.
I don’t pump every day any more but try to when I get chance and store it in the freezer for when we need it. I’ve been using the Lansinoh milk storage bags for this and they’re perfect to keep my milk safe and organised in the freezer.
The pump I use is a Philips electric breast pump and it works well for me. I pump in the morning as this is the time of day I can get the most milk out quickly. (Double what I would get later in the day.) I’ve recently started using the haakaa pump to catch milk from the breast I’m not pumping which speeds things up even more. I’m amazed how much I can get from using it and wouldn’t be without it now!
Using a Dummy
We also decided early on to give Megan a dummy. She would often cry and thrust her fists in her mouth but when I tried to feed her she’d get cross when the milk came, spit it out and cry even louder. The dummy gave her a lot of comfort, helping her to settle. When I first had Harry I really didn’t want to use a dummy. He was a very unsettled baby and in the end I gave in and let him have one. It really soothed him and made me realise that, if something could help him to feel calm and content then it definitely wasn’t a bad thing. Harry always preferred the MAM dummies to all other brands so we used these again with Megan and she seems to like them just as much as her big brother.
I’m so proud of how well we’re doing with our feeding journey. It amazes me when I look at my beautiful little girl and how much she’s grown. My milk’s done that! I have no idea where our feeding journey will take us and I’m open minded to take whichever route is right for Megan and I as she continues to grow. Either way, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far.
*This post contains affiliate links
*Although we were very kindly sent the bottles and dummies by MAM to try all thoughts shared our own.