Ahh where to begin. The logical start I suppose would be Oscar’s birth. He was an 11lb baby, who quickly lost almost 2lbs and we have been on an uphill battle to help him beef up ever since. I exclusively breastfed him until 5 months when Jerry and I made the decision to add 1 bottle of formula to his diet daily. We chose to do this, not to acheive some magic weight number, but because no matter how often I nursed, how much fenugreek I took, or the amount of pumping I did, he. was. always. hungry.
I was so SO nervous about introducing anything other than my milk because of all the horror stories I had read. You know the ones. Like, the minute I showed my son a bottle, he cried every time I reached for my shirt kind of stories. I was so worried that it would become a slippery slope to early weaning and that was not my goal AT ALL. So we decided that his last feeding of each day would be a bottle of formula and that Jerry would feed it to him. We have since increased this to 2 bottles in the evening, but the 2nd bottle is adding another feeding, not replacing one. THE BOY CAN EAT.
Oh the doubts that come with a decision like this. Was I failing my baby somehow? Was I failing myself? All these questions. This was not what I had planned. Another change? Can we do this? The doubts….. and yet, the freedom! Wow, I now had the ability to make dinner, pump milk for making cereal and create an opportunity for Jerry to have those precious moments of feeding our son. I still nurse him all day and if he needs to eat overnight (he eats 7-8 times a day) so I don’t feel as if I am missing out. After a while, the doubts gave way to confidence. Interesting how it works that way. Jerry loves his time with Oscar and I love standing in the doorway watching the two of them study each other. I know that moment. I LOVE that moment and now we both get to have it!
No, it won’t work for everyone. And yes, I have to really watch my supply and make sure that I don’t fall behind. But for the past month, combo feeding has made us a MUCH happier family and we seem to have found some balance. I am proud that I made it to 5 months exclusively breastfeeding despite the circumstances and hope to continue partial breastfeeding for many more months. It just goes to show that flexibility is the key to raising a happy family. And what works for someone else, might not work for me. And that is ok.