Tales of a first-time mum: Why I formula-fed my five-day-old baby against the doctor’s advice
For all those who say that breastfeeding makes the mother-child bond stronger, can you actually differentiate a bottle-fed baby from one that is breastfed?
Breastfeeding is special? Yes.
Breastfeeding is wonderful? Yes
Breastfeeding is for everyone? NO.
Yes, you heard that right. As a new mum, I was advised by one and all on how I should be exclusively breastfeeding my baby for the first six months. And, then I also read all those articles and studies on the Internet, which said that breastfeeding is the best thing that could have happened to mankind.
I was really looking forward to it and I had also shopped for feeding bras and pillows to make the entire process comfortable for my newborn and me. However, my daughter decided to pop three weeks ahead of her due date, which meant that my body didn’t really start the milk producing cycle and milk had not set in. Till the time we were in the hospital the nurses fed her dextrose (a form of glucose) whenever she wailed with hunger.
I was in distress and I really didn’t know what to do. The whole issue had caught me unaware and I for one didn’t know what to do. Strangely, my doctor kept on advicing me to not give formula to my baby and wait for the milk to come, despite the fact that there was no milk. All went on smoothly till the time we were in the hospital.
But all hell broke lose when we were home. While my breasts were undergoing engorgement, there was still no milk. How was I supposed to feed my baby then, I wondered? Which is when I consulted another doctor, who also happens to be my friend’s father and a leading child specialist from my hometown. He was baffled by my doctor’s suggestions and asked me to use formula at once and without any hesitation!
This is what he said-“The last thing you want is a hungry, cranky child. Formula is specially designed for a baby’s nutrition requirements. While breastfeeding is surely recommended, formula is also specially formulated for the baby. However, make sure you choose the right brand.”
My breastfeeding cycle took a period of 10 days to really get going and though I started breastfeeding after that, I also gave my daughter formula once a day to keep up the routine as I had to return to work after six months.
Does that mean I don’t love my child? Or does it make me less of a mother? Clearly not! And for all those who say that breastfeeding makes the mother-child bond stronger, can you actually differentiate a bottle-fed baby from one that is breastfed? Really?
However, that does not mean that I am advocating against breastfeeding. In fact, for mothers who wish to breastfeed, here a few things that would ease the whole process.
- Visit a trained and certified lactation consultant, a thing which I missed totally and chose to rely more on old mid-wives and aunties. With the right guidance you will be able to overcome the challenges.
- There are growing number of breastmilk donors and milk banks that are worth a try. Find more about them from your circle of mommies or your doctor.
- There's no harm in finding about homemade formulas or a readily available commercial formula in the market. Sit with your doctor and chart a nutrition plan for your baby.
While the World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, the truth is there are a few unlucky mothers who just can’t breastfeed and there is no crime to feed your baby formula, trust me! Like it or not, there can be many reasons for a mother to not breastfeed her child such as an illness, or the simple fact that their breasts can’t produce enough milk. Period!
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