Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Feeding Decision

One of the first big decisions to make as a parent is whether to breastfeed or use formula.

I am not here to advocate one way or another. There are a lot of reasons for either feeding method. I truly feel it is a decision each family needs to make and I wanted to share how we arrived at our decision.

Prior to being pregnant, I had always planned on formula feeding. I wasn't breastfed and I don't feel like I was ever sick more often than other kids and I don't feel like it impacted my bond with my mom in any way. I didn't like the idea of my boobs being used for feeding, and I felt like that would make a baby boy that much more into boobs.  I liked the idea of sharing the responsibility of feeding and sharing getting up in the middle of the night.

Dylan, who was breastfed, was very open minded to whatever I wanted to do. Since I would be the one making the effort to breastfeed if that was the decision, he felt it was up to me to decide what I wanted to do. He said he would be supportive if I wanted to and he ideally did want me to breastfeed. He also was up for being more involved in feeding if I decided to go with formula instead.

Once I became pregnant and my body started going through so many changes, I completely changed my perspective. I felt that my body was putting in so much effort to make me capable of breastfeeding, that I should probably at least give it a shot.

I bought the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League about half way through my pregnancy to get an idea of what I would be getting into and how to go about breastfeeding. I read the first couple chapters and the whole time I never got too involved in it since I had heard so many stories about how it didn't work out.

As things got closer to Vander's arrival, I had my plan to try breastfeeding, but I wasn't that committed or overly optimistic. I hadn't bought any nursing bras, I had one pack of nursing pads, but otherwise was just planning to see how things went.

Things have been great! Breastfeeding has definitely been a success. One of the biggest indicators of how breastfeeding is going is the weight gain of the baby. Vander only lost weight from his birth weight on the first day and was up almost to his birth weight when he was 5 days old and he was up well over a pound at 10 days old.

From my perspective, I only had a little bit of uncomfortableness the first week, and since then Vander and I have had everything well in stride. During the first week or two, I was having some mixed feelings about breastfeeding. Mostly this was due to being the sole person able to provide for the baby. I am generally a very independent person and to have someone else be so dependent on you and to be at their every beck and call can be exhausting. The worst was (and still is at times) at night and having to be the only one getting up to feed him while Dylan is sleeping peacefully right next to us. 

I have been so grateful that breastfeeding has gone so well. I am so glad that I decided to try it. While I really believe I would be approximately equally as bonded with Vander if we weren't breastfeeding, it has been a great experience to spend so much extra time with him. I love getting to just gaze at him and to cuddle him. I also love petting his ear lobes; I kind of have an ear lobe petting fetish if you ask Dylan. He can be so hilarious to watch.

The plan is for me to exclusively breastfeed for the first couple weeks and then start pumping a little to introduce the bottle. We want him to do the bottle for times when I won't be home to feed him but mostly for when we switch over to formula. I am staying home for twelve weeks and then going back to work full time. I really have no desire to pump at work, mostly for my time management at work and the importance for me to get more sleep once I am back at work. So a couple weeks before I go back to work, we will be switching over to formula.

Dylan and I continue to touch base on how breastfeeding is going for all three of us. I am glad our decision to try breastfeeding has worked out and we will see how the transition to bottles and formula goes in another month or so!

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