Monday, May 16, 2011

Survival strategy

When I think about having a newborn it seems so overwhelming I just about cry. I can’t get through the day now with one kid. How on earth will I ever do it with two and no sleep?? I keep reminding myself being not pregnant will help a lot. Still, I barely survived the first seven weeks of Meg’s life (she slept for a 5 or 6 hour stretch for the first time at 7 weeks) and I’m really worried about doing it again with the addition of a toddler.

I am hoping to be a bit easier on myself this time. I can’t remember what sources I got this from, but I remember the prevailing consensus last time to be that you shouldn’t give your baby a bottle until 6-8 (or 4-8?) weeks to avoid nipple confusion. I, of course, decided that I was going for eight weeks or bust. In retrospect, this was kind of ridiculous. Meg drank a lot of bottles when she was 4-6 days old because my milk didn’t come in until day 6 and we had to supplement. She had zero trouble switching between breastfeeding and bottlefeeding in that time. I do think that was part of the reason I was so against bottles, though. Breastfeeding had been so hard to establish I refused to do anything that might jeopardize it. Plus, I already hated the breast pump and had no interest in pulling it out of the closet again, even if a bottle of breastmilk would have gotten me more sleep. So I was there for every single feeding she had the first eight weeks of her life. Even the first week when Thomas was giving her a bottle, I was pumping. In fact, I was up longer then, since I would pump until I had enough colostrum for her next feeding (2 oz, I think), which sometimes took 40 minutes.

I honestly don’t know how I did it, but you can bet I’m not doing it again. I will not fear the bottled breastmilk! I’m still not sure at what age to start giving it, though. Any suggestions? Do I wait a month? Only a week or two? I’m leaning towards two weeks-ish. But if baby boy shows starts preferring the bottle, he’s not getting any more of them until I go back to work. Pumping at work was bad enough; I’m not going to do it all the time. This time we’re going for the maintain-mom’s-sanity plan. I will only pump during working hours. The rest of the time, if he absolutely refuses to nurse, formula it is! (I say this now, but only because I really doubt nipple confusion will ever be an issue. I bet if it actually happens, I’ll surgically attach myself to the pump.)


  1. Oh my lord you pumped 40 minutes for 2 oz! Never do that again! For real! That is too difficult. Ugh I hate pumping. We gave Anna a bottle at 2 weeks and it was fine.

  2. The lactation consultant recommended I pump for 30 minutes every feeding. I was basically dry-pumping at first, because the milk just wouldn't come in. 2 oz was a huge accomplishment! Although, now that I think about it more, I'm pretty sure it was just 1 oz. 2 oz of colosturum would be a lot, I think. I seem to remember that when we used the little premixed formula bottles we only gave her half per feeding and they were 2 oz each.

  3. Here's my experience: When I was desperate for sleep in the early days, I would pump enough for my husband to give the late night bottle (10 or 11 o'clock) so that I could sleep through that feeding. They both took bottles fine at that early age (a week or so old, maybe 2? was when I started?) They didn't have any problem taking the bottle and switching back to BFing when they were getting the bottle regularly. But then they'd start sleeping better and would get fewer and fewer bottles - didn't need someone to give them a daily/regular bottle, and they'd go weeks without a bottle and THEN they'd start refusing it.
    I didn't get my milk in until day 5 with my first and it came in much faster the second time around. That happened with a friend of mine, too, so hopefully your second time will be faster/easier!