Let me preface this post by sharing that I have always breastfed and formula fed my babies.
When I think of my babies I have to say that there is nothing like breastfeeding. From the moment that little one comes out and everyone is all about examining him or her and all you’re thinking is when can I try to nurse? That is true for many women and many women are able to breastfeed without problem.
That was me. Always. I never had a problem. My only problem was when the baby turned anywhere between 4 and 8 months and they wanted to explore instead of “focus” on nursing! That was the time I gave up breastfeeding. I know, my bad, but I am sorry (not sorry) that I just could not do the “nurse on demand” thing at that point. I commend those that can. I just could not.
So from day one I have always given at least a little bit of formula. In the hospital I gave it only so I could sleep at night. Some may think that is selfish but when you have dealt with postpartum depression before you know that you need to sleep in order to sometimes prevent it but also to encourage it.
When my children got older I also supplemented only because I knew they needed more than I could give. I do not think that is wrong; I think it is realistic. Would it be good for my baby to starve? No. Would it be good for Mom to be an exhausted sleep deprived mess? No.
But all in all I do believe that the bond that one has with baby when nursing is something else. I absolutely loved nursing all of my babies. My youngest is almost 4 months. Unfortunately I self diagnosed myself with postpartum depression two weeks after he was born (which was later confirmed by a doctor). Due to the illness (yes, it is one) my milk supply diminished so much. I lost thirty pounds in two weeks. I was not eating. There was nothing there…
And yet, I never gave up not even up until this day. And I will be glad to tell you why. In the very beginning of his birth and my postpartum depression I feel like the baby honestly did not care how he got his food. He was happy with me; he was happy with a bottle. I was always bonding with him so I do not feel that he sensed a lot (thank God).
But in the past few months I have tried to do more, eat more, be more for him and my supply. I have taken vitamins which I know should help. And some days we are fine at semi-nursing. I say semi because he has always needed the formula due to my lack of supply. However, my supply never went away completely.
The one thing that I can see so clearly is that when my baby sick all he wants is me; all he wants is to be breastfed! What amazes me is that he doesn’t even care if there is nothing there milk-wise he just wants to snuggle and suckle. It is the most amazing thing to witness because a bottle has so much for him, heck even a pacifier, but me who has nothing to give him is all he wants.
To see your child want you and need you and be comforted by you in such a way especially through postpartum depression is simply amazing. I feel very blessed that if I can help him, in any way, I will. And he, in turn, is so helping me because I know that there is one thing that I can give him via the breast that no one else can and that is comfort.