When I was pregnant, the plan was to exclusively breastfeed. Of course, by the time I gave birth there were a few factors that detoured me from my plan… so we had to formula feed. As a hormonal new mom, this was very frustrating and devastating.
When I tried to breastfeed, it was a struggle. He was so sleepy or when he did suck, it would take about 1 hour and it felt like he was still hungry. Not to mention, I had my mom and MIL constantly implying that I didn’t have enough milk.
I continued to combo-feed. Allowing him to feed at the breast first, then followed by formula feeding. I also tried to pump whenever we gave him formula – but not consistently. My goal was to try and pump the equivalent amount to what he was fed in formula.
We did this for about 2 months and then one day I went on a “nursing vacation” (which is very misleading name – it’s more like a “nursing marathon”). From my research, they said to take your baby to bed and do nothing but breastfeed on demand for about 2-3 days. So that’s what I did, every time he would fuss a little, I would just breastfeed him.
I ended up taking a 2 week long nursing vacation. I think this took longer for me because he was mostly formula-fed for the first 2 months. And because he was drinking mostly formula, I had to slowly reduce the amount of formula he was drinking during each meal vs cutting him cold turkey. I think if you’re mainly formula-feeding you can try one of two things:
- Reducing the amount of formula (about 30mL each time) and see how it goes
- Breastfeed for as long as you can (to trigger your body to make more milk), if baby still appears to be hungry, feed about 30mL at a time.
I should note that formula fed babies stay full longer and sleep longer at night. So when we moved to EBF, he was waking up every 1.5 hours throughout the night. Luckily it doesn’t stay this way… eventually he started to sleep longer stretches… ish… unless you’re hit by a sleep regression.
After switching to exclusive breast feeding, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I guess a part of me thought he would be back on some sort of feeding schedule… I tried to look for answers online but didn’t get a clear answer. Now that my son is 9 months, I realized that I’m supposed to continue to breastfeed on demand.
I think if breastfeeding is important to you, keep trying. But at the same time, if it’s driving you crazy and stressing you out. Formula is okay too. As long as your baby is fed, happy and thriving. Your (mental) health matters too.