Collaboration With Mumsnet
By Ali & Her
This week I am talking about my combination feeding journey. I have combination fed with all my children and so I thought I would share with you what has been a bit of a roller coaster of a ride. With all three, I have initially struggled to breastfeed to some extent, be it latch issues or not producing enough milk but third time round I have come to accept it for what it is, without questioning why. Although I intended to combination feed, I always hoped somehow that I would be able to exclusively breastfeed, that unlike my other two experiences I would be overflowing with milk and have a baby with a perfect latch, but this hasn’t been the case.
A Love/Hate Relationship
I have spoken about my love/hate relationship with breastfeeding in some of my previous posts. Exclusive breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, there are so many things to contend with, from getting a good latch, to sore nipples, having no time to yourself, not knowing if the baby is satisfied, and constantly wondering whether you are producing enough milk. I couldn’t enjoy it in the past but was also way too harsh on myself. I would think breastfeeding was a choice I had made and I had to deal with the consequences, that it’s not about my enjoyment, it’s about what is ‘best’ for baby. But actually, what’s best for baby is being fed, full stop. This time I am older and wiser and it got to the point where I had to make a decision, do I carry on feeling anxious or do I do what I know is best? So I came to the conclusion to introduce baby to the bottle and combination feed. ™
Combination feeding, or partial breastfeeding as some people call it, is feeding baby both with breast and bottle (this can be formula or expressed breast milk). It has been the best decision for the both of us. Giving me time to be away from the baby, as well as giving my boobs a rest. It has also allowed my boobs time to refill, as sometimes they would feel so drained. There is something for me about seeing the baby physically drinking the milk that is so satisfying. And literally, as soon as I began combination feeling, I instantly felt the anxiety drain away.
Choosing A Bottle
With all three babies, we opted for *MAM Easy Start Anti-Colic bottles. The first thing that appealed to me was the fact they were self-sterilising. I didn’t have room for a big steriliser in my old house, my kitchen was tiny so I loved the idea of being able to pop them into the microwave to sterilise. It also meant when we were out and about or visiting family, we had all we needed and didn’t need to carry any extra bottles. The bottle’s innovative design also makes it suitable for combination feeding as the shape and feel of the SkinSoft teat mimics a real nipple, it has also been named Mumsnet Best Baby Bottle 2020! It has a 94% acceptance rate and all three of my children have been able to suck sufficiently without any problem. The bottle also has ventilation through the bottom, meaning it can reduce colic. The transition from breast to both breast and bottle has been so easy and it means I can leave the baby if I need to without worrying about her feed, it also gives her dad some lovely bonding time with her and just gives me a break.
Fed Is Best
She is having two bottles a day, one at around midday and one before bed and it’s just the right amount for me to still be able to produce enough breast milk in the day and night for her. It also means I can plan play dates or arrange for visitors at this time, as I have always felt a little awkward feeding in public. I am so happy that by introducing the bottle at this stage it means I am still breastfeeding! Not only that, but I am enjoying breastfeeding. I am cherishing the bonding moments we get rather than it feeling like a chore and I couldn’t be happier. Fed is best and I feel like if I had left it any longer, I may have just given up breastfeeding altogether. Combination feeding can often lead to women breastfeeding for longer as it gives them the best of both worlds. So, I hope to carry on with my journey, it has been nearly two months of combination feeding, I am in control and it feels great.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with MAM UK x Mumsnet. All opinions are my own.