Combination feeding

Lindsay Carr writes:

When Harry was born, he was tongue tied (although we didn’t know for several weeks) making it really tiring and difficult for him to get enough milk from me. He’d suck for a few minutes then fall asleep. In those first days he was sleepy, jaundiced and his blood sugar was low because he simply wasn’t getting enough.

I hand expressed colostrum in hospital to encourage its production and get more into Harry, but I couldn’t produce enough, so we had to top it up with formula.

On day 3, a midwife visited and she was really concerned at how sleepy and jaundiced Harry was. When I explained how I’d been breastfeeding for a few minutes each side, she said it wasn’t nearly enough and advised us to get something in him urgently, and for me to start expressing so we could be sure he was drinking 50ml every 3 hours. I desperately wanted to breastfeed so I expressed for 8 hours a day, but it still didn’t produce enough so we had to top up his feeds with formula. It was stressful as we were worried about Harry and I was beyond exhausted from all the expressing. The ‘mum guilt’ had set in but I remember the midwife saying ‘formula isn’t poison’ and it’s true. The most important thing is to get food in your baby’s tummy, whether it’s breastmilk or formula.

After a few weeks, Harry’s tongue tie was diagnosed and treated and he started breastfeeding much more easily. We continued with a daily bottle of formula for several reasons; it was reassuring to know he was having one big feed a day that we could measure, we wanted him to stay being comfortable with a bottle, and it meant my husband could do the feed so I could get a few hours of much needed sleep.

As mums, we all want the best for our babies, but if struggling to breastfeed means baby isn’t getting enough food or mum is left mentally and physically exhausted, then we are very fortunate to have the option formula to help us nourish our little ones when they need it.