First off I will state that my views on breastfeeding vs formula feeding is a fed baby is a happy and health baby, period! I wanted to share our own breastfeeding journey as its been an interesting, difficult and triumphant journey. There are so many misconceptions about breastfeeding in general including that all women are capable of nursing, that it is a natural, pain free and easy process and that the size of your breasts indicates your capabilities to nurse and because of this I wanted to share our experience!
I should start by mentioning I had breast reduction surgery when I was 16 so I was really nervous as to if I would be able to breastfeed at all. Many women whether they have had surgery struggle with breastfeeding and some even are not able to produce milk at all. That being said it remained really important to me to give it my absolute best shot. Because of this I did a lot of research on how I could naturally boost my supply without having to go on any medications on the off chance that I could not produce milk or could not produce enough to sustain Cash’s appetite! I cannot advise mamas enough to do their research on this topic even if you have not had any breast surgery it is so good to know as many healthy women also have a difficult time breastfeeding.
Initially we had started strictly breastfeeding but because Cash was diagnosed with Jaundice and had to spend 24hrs in the hospital receiving photo therapy treatment we had no choice but to supplement. I felt totally at ease with this as I had done my research on what type of formula I wanted to give Cash on the off chance I could not produce enough milk for him. It turns out my supply is pretty great thanks to the supplements I am taking and the initial three weeks of pumping (I use the Medela Freestyle Pump with a Medela bra for hands free use) after every feed but I am still needing to top Cash up with formula after every feeding. I would recommend again to any mama to do the same, you never know how your breastfeeding journey will end up so its better to be prepared and educated in the subject and have some formula on hand just in case.
We ended up deciding to go with a German formula called Lebenswert which is made by Holle. From their website “The milk of Lebenswert comes exclusively from organic farmers, whose species-appropriate stock breeding follows the strict guidelines of Bioland farming. In this way, man, animal, and land are valued and respected. Organic Bioland farmers stand for species-appropriate stock breeding, plant protection, and soil fertilisation without chemical or synthetic agents and with careful management of the soil’s fertility. Produce made under these requirements are sustainable and preserve nature.” The main bonuses of this formula include non-GMO, no added flavors or colours, no added preservatives, is strictly controlled for pollutants, easy to digest and gluten-free. I also belong to a great moms Facebook group and this formula came highly recommended from there as well. From all of the feedback and research it was the closest formula to breastmilk on the market that I could find and the reason we chose to supplement Cash with Lebenswert. For those wondering we order it from here and price wise is very comparable to the formula you can buy here in the store! Also please keep in mind every baby is so different and it may take a while to find a formula that works for them! We were lucky that Lebenswert was a great fit for Cash!
Another issue we faced early on in our breastfeeding journey was latching. Right after Cash was born we tried nursing about 3 or 4 times with no success. This was devastating to me, I thought forsure our breastfeeding journey would stop before it even had a chance to begin. Thankfully one of the nurses at the Alex recommended a nipple shield, so down Clayton went to the gift shop to get one and just like that he latched! This would be another item I would recommend to new moms to have on hand just in case, they are less than $15 (this is the one I have) and worth it to have in case of any latching difficulties. If you have flat nipples, if the baby has a larger mouth and/or smaller mouth in reference to the size of your nipples you could have difficulties and its impossible to know until they get here and you try it out! The nipple shield is also amazing at protecting your nipples. I have heard so many stories of cracked and bleeding nipples, if this is the case it is so worth trying! Although there was discomfort in the first two weeks it was nothingness unbearable or really painful!
Now lets talk about the herbal supplements I am taking to help with my supply. The product I have noticed the most difference with are the Motherlove More Milk Special Blend Capsules. I have taken 6 capsules a day from day 1 post baby, in conjunction I also am drinking Mother’s Milk Tea 3x a day and also made two batches of lactation cookies early on! Another huge factor is hydration. I notice Cash is much more fussy on the breast when I am not hydrated and we require more formula at the end of nursing for him to be satisfied. Oatmeal is also said to really assist in supply as well so mamas do some research, talk to other mamas and be prepared because breastfeeding can be really tough!
Lastly, one of the most beneficial things I have done as a new mom to breastfeeding was to join several mom groups on Facebook. I have learned so much from other moms experiencing the same issues that we have been dealing with and I can’t tell you how nice it is to not feel alone, or feel like you are already messing up this whole mom thing!!
This is our journey and although we had a rocky start, the effort we both put into it has made it so worth it and I can only hope this post helps any new moms worried about breastfeeding or moms struggling with breastfeeding!
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!