Monday, April 27, 2009

Formula Feeding vs. Breastfeeding

Jeff and I had to make our first big decision for little Drew last week. Jeff and I always talk things out and weight the outcome together, even though Jeff says what ever I decide he will back me up. But, I like it when we talk things over and we both put our thoughts into a decision.

The big debate for Drew was to keep breastfeeding or give him formula. That conversation came about last Monday morning around 6am after 4 nights of barely any sleep for the three of us after trying to breastfeed the baby. Yes, Jeff couldn't feed the baby, but he got up with me at each feeding time to assist me getting Drew set since I was so weak.

Since before I got pregnant, I just assumed I would breastfeed. Now-a-days, that is what you should do (according to doctors, research, parenting classes, etc), so I had no second thoughts since it would provide great nutrition and antibodies for my child. It was a set decision that Jeff supported 100% since that is what I wanted and he was going to help me all the way. Don't get me wrong, I had nothing against formula feeding, this was just something I wanted to do for my child since it seemed to be the best way to go for him.

We purchased a nice double breast pump, all the supplies to go with it, attended a class at the hospital and I researched on techniques, hints and ideas to make things go smooth for mommy and baby. We were ready for little Drew to arrive.

A couple of hours after Drew was born, it was time to feed him (the reason it wasn't right away was the visitors who were waiting outside the door who wanted to meet him and he had to have a bath). Breastfeeding felt a little awkward, but it was the first time for all of us. The nurse assisted a little (the first night nurse wasn't the best), but it still didn't help. Mr. Drew had a hard time latching on and understanding the concept, but he did eat a little. We made it through the first night with the resistance from the baby and no sleep, but we were going to keep trying.

The following nights were not any better. It seemed to have gotten worse since he was getting more hungry but having problems latching on. We were all frustrated, tired and I felt I was force feeding my child since he was crying while I tried to show him where he needed to be. The nurses just kept telling me that this is new for the both of us and that we have to keep trying. I kept thinking to myself that I have no idea how much he's eating, he keeps crying, his sleep pattern was all over the place since he was so hungry and tired, never mind what Jeff and I were going through. What I was concerned about was my child.

The forth night was the worse. We were home by this time and we just couldn't sooth baby Drew. Jeff and I tried everything from rocking, different sleep positions, where he slept, household noises (like a worked for my niece) and anything else we could think of with an exhausted mind. By the time it reached Monday morning we may have gotten 10 hours sleep over the 4 days. Jeff was rocking the baby (since I tried to feed Drew for the hundredth time with no luck) and I was standing in front of him out of solutions and I asked Jeff if we should just make a bottle with the formula samples from the hospital? Jeff slightly shook his head yes and I made a bee-line to the kitchen.

I made the bottle, handed it to Jeff and there was silence. Drew was eating with no fussing, no resistance, no crying. After he ate, he slept so soundly I think for the first time since he was born. While Drew slept, Jeff and I sat at the kitchen with bags under our eyes with relief felt throughout our body.

Later that day, Drew had his first doctors apt. His pediatrician asked the big question, how was the breastfeeding going? I explained our situation. She said that I had to make a decision on which method we were going to use since you cannot mix and match with the milk production. The doctor of course leaned towards us to continue breastfeeding.

After the apt I started to cry while we drove home. I told Jeff I didn't know what to! He told me that yes the decision was up to me, but we thought back about what happened over the last few days and how much happier Drew seemed already. I took a deep breath and said "I just want a happy and healthy baby and if he is going to sleep and eat regularly this way, then lets stick to formula".

Let me tell you that I felt so guilty making that decision! I felt so selfish. I just hope it was the right choice for my child. But ever sense going to formula, he sleeps so much better and we know how much he gets. On Drew's follow up apt and we broke the news to the doctor, there was no lecture (which I had expected). I told her the progress and she was very happy with the results. Aren't we all!!


Blog Team said...

Finally got to your blog! This is such a difficult dilemma for parents. The only right decision is the right one for the entire family. Formula these days is so carefully made that there will be no downside for Drew, and lots of upsides for the family. Getting nutrition into him is the most important thing. He is adorable!

Desiree Fawn said...

Don't feel guilty mama!

You're providing nutritious meals to your babe & even by trying to breastfeed that first little while you did good for you little one. Be proud :)

(I just found your blog today -- I have a 12 week old daughter and just wanted to say 'hello!')