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A Tale of Two Babies


Baby A was born at 35 weeks gestation, without the ability to coordinate sucking.  The first few weeks of his life were spent with his mother in tears attempting to breastfeed on a rigid 3 hourly schedule of try to breastfeed, top baby up with a cup of breastmilk or formula and then pump milk for 30minutes, all to begin again 3 hours later.

Baby B was born at full term, breastfed beautifully within an hour of being born, and other than being quite a sicky baby, never an issue with breastfeeding.

Which baby was being formula fed at 6 months and which one breastfed until over the age of 2?

Its a bit of a trick question, isn't it? All evidence points to baby A, Ellis, but of course the answer is B, Georgia.

As my pregnancy progresses, my milk supply is dropping, no matter what I do. Normal rules of breastfeeding fall in the face of the hormones that govern a pregnant body.  I was told this was a liklihood.  While many women who are pregnant with older babies and toddlers are able to breastfeed successfully whilst pregnant, most experts in the area warned that such a young baby is still 100% dependent on my milk for nutrition and a drop in supply would have to be compensated with formula.

I had hoped I would be lucky, that my supply would be ok.  Weeks of Georgia wanting to feed every 45 minutes then sobbing at the breast plus a steep drop in weight centiles that coincided with my pregnancy told me the truth.  She needs formula supplementation.  

And so, special formula was organised and she's taken to it fine.  I, on the other hand, am not so fine--but I will be.  Mixed feeding is working for now and the future is looked at purely on a day by day basis.  A couple of bottles a day satisfy her hunger and she is back to her lovely, happy self.  The formula stinks to high heaven, but it is what she needs.

I get it now--the guilt women feel when they want to breastfeed, but can't.  Innocent comments from friends send hot pokers of embarrassment and sadness through me.  I am afraid to give Georgia a bottle in front of one lovely friend who has previously described formula as poison. The health visitor's remarks about Georgia's weight gain and obviously needing the formula made me feel I was somehow hurting her by breastfeeding in the first place. Logically, I know none of this is true and that we are in a completely unique situation. However, when I put my brain aside and feel the issue with my heart, it hurts.  More than anything, I hope that I've never made anyone else feel this way.

Change is scary and hard, and as with this entire journey, it is full of ups and downs and heartache.  But we will be fact, we are mostly there already.

Tags: family

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