I want to give my children the best start possible. That is why my breastfeeding goals are the recommended first full year of life. I was unsuccessful with my first baby, breastfeeding for only five months. I significantly lost my milk supply during the fourth month because of my own errors. I was new to breastfeeding as a first time mother and did not truly understand what was required to maintain a steady milk supply. I am slightly embarrassed and feel guilty about the mistakes I made with my first child. My second baby is definitely getting the better deal as I am more experienced… and more mature!
My first mistake was introducing the bottle too soon. I was so ready to drink again that I decided to introduce the bottle at only two weeks of age. There was no issue with nipple confusion, like some babies experience but I really started to enjoy the breaks that bottle feeding offered. I started bottle feeding with breast milk. That alone will not necessary decrease your milk supply. However, it is necessary to pump if you give your baby a bottle.
The second mistake was introducing formula. I don’t remember exactly when I introduced formula to my first baby but it was within the first month. I did not keep a large milk bank in the freezer for babysitters so I let them use formula. I also had easy access to formula because I could receive it free from the WIC program. If you supplement with formula, it means you are not using your milk supply; therefore your body does not produce the exact amount of milk needed to nourish your baby. Your baby completely controls the amount of milk your body makes. If the formula is nourishing your baby, why would your body even need to produce milk?
The third mistake was skipping pumping sessions. I started off pumping every time that my baby was fed a bottle. However, I slowly started to give my baby more bottles throughout the day and my pumping sessions grew further apart. If my baby was at a sitter, I might not have pumped to mimic my baby’s feeding schedule. I ended up breastfeeding 75% of the time and giving formula the other 25%. My body was only used to making enough milk to feed my baby 75% of the time.
I started to worry and look into ways to boost my milk supply. I tried Fenugreek and More Milk Plus by Motherlove herbs (shown above) known to boost milk production but it did not work for me. You have to take a lot of capsules in order for the herbs to be effective and I simply could not keep up.
Eventually my milk supply completely dried up and I was left with only formula to feed my baby. I remember the last time feeding my daughter and it was one of my saddest memories ever. I lost that connection and special bonding experience that only mothers get to cherish. I was very disappointed with myself. Therefore, I am very adamant about strictly breastfeeding my second baby. I do not want to make any mistakes.
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Current Breastfeeding Goals:
- Minimal to no bottle feeding until I return to work.
- No formula ever.
- Pump directly after feedings to boost milk supply.
- Keep a large milk supply in freezer.
- Continue nursing for at least one year.
I will not fail! I am keeping my fingers crossed for luck. If anybody has any additional breastfeeding advice, especially about returning to work, please share below! It would be greatly appreciated.