To feed a baby…

February 7, 2007

… it takes a bottle or one breast
one bottle or a breast

When I was pregnant with Mio my approach to the bottle-or-breast question was very pragmatic: I thought I’d give nursing a try; if it worked, perfect, if not, I was fine with bottles. I have little patience with the “breastfeeding mafia”. Although I am grateful for all the info and support on breastfeeding that’s out there, I’m also grateful for the existence of formula. In the end, a mom’s decision to breast- or bottlefeed is her very own, and she should not have to defend herself either way.

/ manifesto mode off /

So…. when Mio was born, I started nursing. Since he was so small, we supplemented for the first week or so – mostly for my peace of mind. After that, it was my milk only. He grew well, I was happy, all peaches and cream. There was that one day when I had a sore breast and a slight fever, but it resolved itself quickly and I thought little of it. Until that night when Mio was six weeks old and I got run over by a truck – or so it felt. Within two hours I went from noticing a painful spot in my breast to lying in bed, shivering with cold. Yep, mastitis.The doctor-on-call told me to cool my breast and go to my regular doctor in the morning to get antibiotics. My regular doctor told me to stop the cooling already and apply hot compresses instead (and gave me the antibiotics, thankfully). It took two days for the pain to subside, a week for the plugged duct to resolve. After that, I had a plugged duct about once or twice a week. Twice more I got a course of antibiotics for threatening mastitis. The first one I took, the second one is still on my shelf. I tried to eliminate all sources of pressure on my breasts: no more bras, sidesleeping, carrying Mio in a sling or letting him sleep on my chest. It seemed to help a bit, but the plugged ducts kept coming back. When I needed my second course of antibiotics I was pretty desperate and ready to quit breastfeeding. My doctor was supportive but warned me that weaning too quickly often caused, you guessed it, plugged ducts. So yeah. I continued nursing because I was too afraid to stop. Not exactly what I had in mind before I had Mio.

Fast-forward to today, and we’re still at it! I still get the occasional plugged duct, but over time, I’ve become much better at dealing with them (more on that in a later post). We’re down to four feedings a day, and that reduction in feedings has been so gradual that my breasts have coped remarkably well. I can even sidesleep again. Through it all, Mio has had a bottle only two or three times (again, because I was too afraid to skip a feeding, even with pumping). Not surprisingly, he wants nothing to do with bottles now. He will take a sippy cup every now and again, though, and I’m teaching him to drink from a straw, which is fun. All in all, I’m happy we’ve come this far. But I don’t want to relive those weeks of nursing hell, ever.

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