I had both my babies prematurely, every pregnant woman’s worst nightmare.
Premature babies are a whole different ball game. They grow and hit milestones on a different timeline, the have to be closely monitored their whole first year of life, they need physical therapies, evaluations, and more. Being a preemie Mama is exhausting.
I’ve breastfed both of my babies, rather unsuccessfully.
I’ve always been able to fix any supply issues, both babies learned to latch okay, and pumping went as well as it could have, neither of my kids have gained weight they way they should have, and it was devastating. This means seeing the doctor every 2 weeks for weight checks, trying different medications, doing stool and blood tests, etc. If you want your heart to shatter into a million pieces, just watch your 4 month old get blood drawn.
Both of kids have been deemed “failure to thrive”, which means they aren’t high enough on the scale for their growth to be considered successful. There’s nothing harder to hear as a Mother, than that you’re not providing enough for your children to thrive. It’s devastating and a huge blow to the ego.
With Sawyer, it was so stressful. I breastfed and pumped around the clock and still was not making enough for him to gain weight. Eventually, after months of exhausting every other option, we started supplementing with formula, and everything changed. He finally started gaining weight! I was still breastfeeding him every 3 hours, we just started offering 2 oz or so of formula in between breast feedings, and he finally started to chunk up.
With Oliver, he’s had trouble putting weight on from the start. We’ve fortified all of his milk since birth (which means I pump, we add a teaspoon of formula on top of the breast milk, which makes it higher in calories, and feed it to him in a bottle), which was exhausting enough, and he still wasn’t growing how he was supposed to be. At his 2 month check up, the nurse asked me if I was comfortable with supplementing with formula, and this time, I didn’t hesitate.
I remember clearly how hard I fought formula with Sawyer, and it ended up being the answer anyway. In the end, I still got to breastfeed him as much as we both wanted, I just offered him a little extra in between. Sawyer was almost 9 months old before we finally started supplementing, I knew I didn’t want to go through 7 months of more stress with Oliver before giving in, so we started supplementing right away.
Oliver’s feeding schedule is so complicated. He feeds directly from the breast 2 times a day, because I don’t want to lose that closeness and bonding time. He then gets bottles of fortified, pumped breast milk, 3 times per day (meaning I pump 3 times a day), and 2 bottles of formula per day. Every feeding journey is unique, I know ours certainly have been.
So, basically, we do it all. Breastfeeding, pumping, formula feeding, the whole nine yards. It’s exhausting but I know he is getting the best of both worlds. All the benefits of breast milk, plus the extra calories needed to gain weight from formula.
Happy Baby makes different formulas for different stages of life. Stage one for 0-12 months and stage 2 for 6-12 months. Oliver is only 3 months old so we’re not using the Stage 2 just yet, but have already stocked up! Happy Baby formulas are organic and modeled after breast milk, so your baby is getting a tummy full of good ingredients. Happy Baby supports families feeding their babies however they see fit. Although they sell formulas, they also offer breastfeeding support, which is something I can definitely get behind. Breastfeeding is amazing, I’m so glad to have been able to bond with my children through it. But, for us, it wasn’t enough on it’s own. I’m so glad formula supplementation is an option, so I can give my babies everything they need and more.
Be sure to check out Happy Baby: