I am doing a mixture of breastfeeding and bottle-feeding because my daughter has had latch issues. This has been attributed to a slight tongue-tie (ankyloglossia.) I noticed she was having difficulty getting a strong latch. Breastfeeding was my main method for feeding my first child because I didn’t work and only pumped if absolutely necessary for a caregiver. I went on to breastfeed him until he weaned at around 18 months while I was pregnant with my second son. I wanted to pump and bottle feed more often because I was in college and going on campus for classes to complete my degree. He had a preference for breastfeeding and wouldn’t accept a bottle due to the flavor differences. I would just nurse him before I left the house and again as soon as I returned from my class. For me and my husband, this was difficult until I graduated.
Now that I have a 4-month old girl added to our family, I have experienced something totally different this time around. My daughter had such a difficult time in the hospital with breastfeeding and I had minimal success getting a good latch during our stay despite assistance from an IBCLC. Hours upon hours of attempting to nurse did help with my milk production, however we still had a difficult latch. I tried using nipple shields to reduce the pain, but they didn’t help much and the baby seemed to get frustrated with the small amount of milk that came out, so I started just pumping milk and giving it to her in a bottle. I had already ordered a variety of bottles prior to her arrival in preparation. I knew I would be returning to work following maternity leave and it was crucial that she be able to nurse and bottle-feed. Little did I know, bottles would be her main source of nourishment due to her tongue’s restricted movement.
The first few nights home from the hospital I decided to feed formula to my daughter because I wasn’t able to sustain her, simply on breastmilk. After a few days of pumping and allowing my nipples to heal, I was able to have a small stash in the freezer and keep formula available for use on an as-needed basis. I appreciate formula for all of the benefits and simplicity it provides, but have been able to exclusively feed breastmilk by pumping and giving her a bottle for the last few months. Combining the different methods is tough because I’m frequently washing pump parts, bottle pieces, and having to remember to tote my pump and supplies with me when I leave the house to ensure I keep my schedule and avoid leaking. I have forgotten on several occasions and this has repercussions because I I don’t produce as much milk due to supply-and-demand, so as my maternity leave is nearing an end, I wonder how long the stash I have in the deep-freezer will last with the obstacles associated with being a working mom this time around.