Now this is efficient bottle feeding!

To Breastfeed or Bottle Feed? That is the Question…

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Categories Parenting, Twinfant Tuesday

I always thought I would breastfeed my children. When I got pregnant with twins, I hesitated a little bit, but not much. I knew about the football hold, and I knew it could be done.

Then my little bits were born at 29 weeks. And all of a sudden the NICU was raising them and not me. Feeding wasn’t even an option, forget about breastfeeding. But I still had my plan. I started pumping milk every 3 hours one day post C-section. And I didn’t stop until after they were home 3 months later. I was encouraged by the nurses: “Oh yes, we will let you start breastfeeding as soon as they’re strong enough.” I was encouraged by my mom: “It’s so good for them, keep going!”

And then, when they came home it was obvious. They are NOT going to breastfeed. They are hooked on a bottle. Can I fight through it? Yes. Could I retrain them? Yes. Did I want to? No.

I was TIRED! And done letting others dictate how I was going to raise my children.

So I gave up trying to breastfeed. And I kept pumping milk. Sometimes every 3 hours, sometimes every 4 or 5. I was proud of the overflowing freezer filled with liquid gold. And then, one day in the middle of taking-care-of-newborn fatigue, my milk supply started drying up. And I started having some pain. And I knew that I had filled up my last bottle of milk.

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It was totally okay, I thought. Someday I will have one baby and I will cuddle and breastfeed that one all day long.

But fast forward four years and I found myself pregnant again. Only not with one snuggly baby. Two again.

I admit that I mourned a little for what I knew was coming. “This time I’m prepared,” I thought. “I know what’s coming. I’ll be more proactive about breastfeeding in the NICU. I won’t let them get too attached to bottles. But maybe I’ll do some bottle feeding cause I know I’ll need a break.”

I was grateful the second time to make it to 36 weeks. But I still had a painful C-section, and my girls still spent 2 weeks in the NICU.

It was a much better experience. I did breastfeed some and Baby B seemed to like it. Then we came home and even though I had help from grandparents my schedule looked like this: breastfeed some, bottle feed the rest, pump some.

Every 3 hours.

That meant I had less than an hour to eat, spend time with my other children, and sleep. The sleep ended up getting pushed back more and more and the girls were feeding less and less.

This time I wanted more control. My decision was made by simple math. I made a pro/con list of how to feed the babies. The pro list for breastfeeding had only 1 item on it: Breastmilk is the best food for babies. That was it. The cons list went on and on. Bottle feeding had tons of pros and just a few cons. So there I had it. I pumped my last bottle of my own milk, and went looking for formula coupons.

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Afterward I had a friend lecture me about not breastfeeding, and then at the end she said, “But they’ll be okay.”.

And I smiled. Because I knew she didn’t mean any offense. And I knew she was right. They WILL be okay. They ARE okay. Because no matter what our mother heart tells us about feeding our little ones–they somehow or other get fed. And instead of fridges filled with bottles and breast milk and formula, all of a sudden it is filled with whole milk and yogurt and Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets.

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I didn’t want to waste the time I had with them being little stressing over milk. And that was OK.

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Amy Fitzgibbons

I am a SAHM of two sets of twins. My B/G twins (6) came through IVF and were born at 29 weeks. So we did the whole NICU thing. My fraternal girls (2) were a surprise and made it to 36 weeks. I'm grateful to have this community to help navigate this crazy life!

29 thoughts on “To Breastfeed or Bottle Feed? That is the Question…”

  1. I certainly hope that the friend who lectured you about breastfeeding also has two sets of twins, because otherwise there is no. way. she. could. understand.

  2. I couldn’t even being to think about breastfeeding twins, I really couldn’t so hats off to you for all that expressing – breastfeeding Boo was hard work at the start and also for several other periods too, like growth spurts etc. I think you were so right to do a pro/con lists – life needs to go on and there isn’t always time to cluster feed or feed whole days away through a growth spurt etc. The way I see it is that we are lucky that we have two very good options for feeding our babies – breast or bottle and the only thing you need to think about is which method is best for your family, your whole family.
    Jenni – Odd Socks and Lollipops recently posted Wicked Wednesdays 27th May 2015My Profile

  3. TWO sets of twins?! You are an amazing mother for that alone. Why do we beat ourselves up about the breastmilk thing?

    1. Great post. I tortured myself exclusively pumping for 5 months because I couldn’t get our tot to breast feed. I was tired and spent more time hooked up to the pump than I did with him. I’m not sure what I’ll do if there is a next time. My brain tells me to use formula if breast feeding doesn’t happen but that darn mother’s guilt sneaks in. I feel upset and panicky just thinking about it and it’s still very much a hypothetical. Ugh.

      #twinklytuesday
      Mama, My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows recently posted Photographing a BabyMy Profile

  4. I was so looking forward to breastfeeding and my baby latched on like a dream, the problem was my breasts never fully produced enough milk, I breast feed what I could for 13 months and topped her up with formula. I was devastated that I couldn’t fully breast feed. I had the same issue with my other two children, but I did my best and yes I TRIED EVERYTHING! Good on you for doing what was best for ALL of you xx
    Mackenzie Glanville (reflectionsfromme.com) recently posted My mini modelMy Profile

  5. Great post. I thin there is an intensity in the breast feeding camp which I can understand but what I don’t like is that those of us who cant or choose not to get to feel so guilty or even criticised for it. I had one woman suck in her breathe with horror when I said I wasn’t breast feeding. Thanks for sharing #Twinklytuesday
    Kirsten Toyne recently posted Fantasies of MotherhoodMy Profile

  6. You are incredible!!! It makes me really sad that mummies give themselves such a tough time over this. I was really easy on myself and took the attitude that I’d give breastfeeding a go and if it worked for us great if not I wouldn’t feel bad about bottle feeding. As it happened both my girls took to it like a duck to water, so I was lucky. I would not have expressed for three months, that’s such commitment! (I hated expressing – so time consuming!) #TwinklyTuesday
    What Mummy Did Next recently posted I Burnt the Baby…My Profile

  7. Wow, two sets of twins! I hadn’t realized that until this post. You did amazing to raise them so well, I can’t imagine how busy that must have been when the second set were babies. You gave them all a few months of breastmilk which they say is the most important time to have it. Each mom has to do what’s right for herself and her family and shouldn’t feel badly! #TwinklyTuesdays
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted Styling Toddler HairMy Profile

  8. I had a very similar experience with my daughter who was born at 31 weeks. I felt as though the only thing I could actually do for her was express. So I expressed…and expressed…and expressed and it was so tiring! Xx

  9. I breastfed my son till he is 2. There was a part that we have to be separated for medical reason. In a week he was bottlefed and then after that I breastfed him. I think that no matter what you chose to do the most important thing is you are taking care of your child. That their health is the priority. Thanks for sharing your story. A beautiful read =) #TwinklyTuesday
    Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) recently posted Nesting Season in Backwell LakeMy Profile

  10. Two sets of twins! I get exhausted at the mere mention of twins!! You are officially Supermom!
    I breastfed my boys and had to pump when I returned to work. I came to seriously loathe pumping & being hooked up to that breast pump!!! Anytime I hear about a mom who pumped around the clock to give her little ones the best start, I am completely in awe!!! That is serious dedication during those early days!!!
    The best advice I ever heard about feeding babies is that the most important thing is that they’re fed with love – regardless of what they’re eating! :)
    Claire – Unfiltered Mama recently posted Insights: A New View of Your StatsMy Profile

  11. Breastfeeding is hard and nobody tells you that. They also don’t tell you how awful you feel if you can’t breastfed for any reason.
    Attempting to breastfeed twins is a massive decision. I only managed 3 weeks as once hubby had gone back to work I couldn’t manage it and look after my other children. Nobody has the right to judge you. Breast milk may be best for baby but formula isn’t going to kill them.
    Btw, you’re my hero for having 2 sets of twins!
    Sam recently posted Alton TowersMy Profile

  12. I felt breastfeeding was easier than pumping and bottle feeding (or preparing formula), plus you get that extra bonding, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with formula, if you can’t breastfeed, plus you get the bonus of other people being able to help you feed your baby/babies! Wow two sets of twins are so tough, but pretty cool! #twinklytuesday
    Carolyn recently posted Silent SundayMy Profile

  13. Oh the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding. I had mastitis 3 times with my first born and am quite surprised that I ever wanted to breastfeed again. But as mothers it’s just such a bond and so good for you and baby. Thanks again for hosting #TwinklyTuesdays.
    Trista, Domesticated Momster recently posted Favorite Quote #4My Profile

  14. There are a couple of other posts on Twinkly Tuesday this week — the bottle/breastfeeding debate. Ultimately you do whatever you can to get through. I tandem breastfed for 3 months, then bottle-fed — everyone’s different aren’t they. It should be anything to do with anyone else xx Thanks so much for being a fab co-host #TwinklyTuesday
    Caro | The Twinkles Mama recently posted Home Etc #3 — Home and Garden Inspired Blog HopMy Profile

  15. This is a fab post – I had ONE twin in NICU and it meant that the one at home breastfed (and still does) and the other has never been fussed. Twins are hard – they dynamic is tough and I found the early days of feeding with different methods a real strain. So cool having two sets of twins – I can’t imagine!
    Mummy R recently posted Gender madness in Thailand- part 1 My Profile

  16. Wow, congrats to you. I spent a month breastfeeding my twins and after not being able to produce enough milk for them had to make the choice of moving over to formula, would have given anything to have carried on. There are always pro’s and con’s to every choice but aslong as it’s better for you and the little one’s, there’s no need to feel guilty. #TwinklyTuesday
    Christine Kenny recently posted To be Happier, I do NOT need…My Profile

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