Well mamas... it looks like its the end of the breastfeeding road for me! So when I last blogged about feeding, I shared how I had been struggling with my milk supply and that I had seemed to temporarily fixed it by eating more carbs! (CLICK HERE TO READ). However, this solution didn't last long...
Eating more carbohydrates seemed to initially give my breast milk supply a boost but within a week I seemed to be struggling again, and my combination feeding soon turned into 50% breast and 50% formula. Maddison seemed happy with this, in all honesty I don't think she really cared where her milk was coming from or what it was, she guzzled it either way! By this point I really was completely lost and had no idea what was going on, so I went to speak to my doctor about it.
I explained to my GP how I'd tried absolutely everything and anything to help my supply. I'd let her cluster feed and pumped after feeding to encourage supply, I'd tried eating more, drinking more water, more skin-to-skin, the retained placenta didn't seem to change much, I'd switch side to side.. the list goes on!! My GP was sooooo lovely and reassuring that I'd been doing everything right to try and help but for some reason she explained, some women just can't produce as much as others! She gave me these tablets (which are the only tablets recommended by midwives and health visitors) that might help give my supply a boost! I think I recall her saying they were actually anti-sickness tablets, but there was something in them that helped women's supply? And obviously safe for baby if you're breastfeeding! So I jumped at the chance of giving these a try! She prescribed me 2 weeks worth of these tablets and if they worked then great, and if they didn't.. then it looked like it was the end of the breastfeeding journey for me. These weren't a long term solution, I couldn't keep taking them forever! But if they were to give me a boost then I thought it was worth a shot!
Literally within 3 days of taking these tablets I was a milk machine!! I seriously thought I could give a cow a run for its money haha! I'd gone from barely being able to pump 20mls from both boobs, to being able to pump a full 125ml bottle from EACH boob?! whhaaatttt?! I was having let down again, had the feeling of being "full", Maddie was in a milky heaven I swear haha!! It was the BEST feeling ever having milk again.
I finished my 2 weeks course of these tablets, and I think it was literally within 24 hours, I was going backwards to what it was like before... boobs never filling, pumping barely anything, and I had to bring back the formula again.. WTF?! Unfortunately for me.. yes the tablets did give me a boost, but it wasn't sustainable and hadn't encouraged my body to produce milk on it's own.
I felt so deflated (literally!), and just cried. I had so desperately wanted to breastfeed Maddison till she was at least 6 months old. I have never had a problem with formula feeding, it's whatever works for you and your baby, everyone's journey is different! But I personally just loved the feeling and connection of breastfeeding! So I was a little gutted. But then something just clicked.. and you know what.. I had given my baby girl the best start I possibly could. Those first few months of her life when she was new to world and more vulnerable, I had provided her with the best possible source of milk I could. I should be proud that I managed to give her that! Yes, the journey stopped sooner than I had planned, but lets be honest.. with pregnancy and babies there is no such thing as planning!! Life will do what it wants, whether you like it or not!
I wiped away my tears and thought, right, Maddison doesn't mind formula, she takes boob and bottle, so lets just go with it and transition fully to formula. It didn't take long, seeing as my milk had virtually disappeared anyway!! I was able to cut back to just one boobie feed in 24 hours, and I made this the nighttime feed or first feed of the morning (if Maddie slept all the way through the night). I found this was the best time to breastfeed as lets be honest.. if your baby wakes at 3am, it's a lot more effort to go downstairs and warm up a bottle than it is to just stick them on the boob! I did this for a good week, and have now stopped breastfeeding completely.
I have now been exclusively formula feeding Maddison for 9 days and she seems really happy and content, and I'm a lot calmer and less stressed as I'm not constantly worrying about bloody milk!! I have got an appointment back at the doctors to report back how I'm doing, and I know my GP said she wanted to do some blood tests to check my thyroid as that can sometimes affect milk supply. But at this point, I'm happy that we have a healthy growing baby and I've discovered there are actually some good pros to formula feeding! These are just a few...
I think the message is at the end of the day, is you do what works for you and no-ones journey is the same! I am proud that I was able to breastfeed Maddison for at least the first 12 weeks of her life as I know some women don't have the option of breastfeeding at all! I am now really looking forward to weaning Maddison and can't wait to start that process at 6 months!! I know Josh is super keen too as he loves to cook and be in the kitchen!
I hope that sharing my entire breastfeeding journey with you all helps any other mums that are worrying or stressing about their journey. Breastfeeding is amazing! But as I've discovered it never seems to be straight forward or as simple as I initially thought! Just remember mamas, don't compare yourself to anyone else, and all that matters is you do your best! Lots of love! x
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