So little dude is 14 weeks old, can you believe it! And since the very beginning we decided we would try to combination feed him. Combination feeding, or mixed feeding is where you feed you baby via both breastfeeding and bottled formula. Some health visitors and midwives tell you you can’t do this, but luckily both of mine were really great and very supportive of our decision, they said as long as he is gaining weight then I should just do what is best for both of us. And combination feeding really is the best of both worlds for us!
I really wanted to try my best to breastfeed and luckily he took to it quite quickly, we had a few wobbles at the start but I persevered and we got there in the end, now he loves to boob feed and I love it too! I know that breastmilk really is the best thing for a baby and it has huge health benefits that formula just can’t give them, combination feeding meant that he would still get all the benefits breastmilk provides. Luckily the little dude also took to bottles straight away too and we never seem to have suffered from teat confusion which I know can be an issue when little ones are boob and bottle fed. He did dribble lots and has had the odd day where he struggled to latch on to his bottle for a minute or so, but this was with the Tommee Tippee bottles and once we switched to MAM ones this issue seemed to disappear.
There were a number of reasons why we decided to try combination feeding from the very start:
- Going back to work – As we are wedding photographers we take bookings up to 2 years in advance so we already had lots of bookings after Elian was born. I took off around 10 weeks from weddings, 5 before and 5 after, but then I had to go back to working weddings (the only issue when you run your own business) and we knew this was going to be the case well in advance of Elian being born. Him taking a bottle when I was working was crucial to allowing me to go back to shooting weddings with Jon.
- Sharing the feeding/bonding time – Mums get loads of bonding time with babies when they are breastfeeding and this can be a little hard on dads, so knowing that Jon was able to feed Elian and have his own bonding time was important to us, combination feeding meant he didn’t miss out.
- Flexibility – The ability to feed Elian wherever and whenever I needed to. Now I am all in support of mums being allowed to breastfeed wherever they need to as it is the most natural thing in the world, but I personally find it difficult to breast feed in heavily public areas or in places like restaurants, so being able to bottle feed Elian in these cases is great. Plus there are the times he is having a melt down when we are in the car, simply feeding him a little often calms him down and I can give him a bottle while still in his seat when Jon is driving.
- For the times when my nipples are too sore or I am too tired – yes this might sound like a bit of a cop-out to some, but when we both got thrush at just 7 days old, Elian being able to take a bottle was an absolute life saver! I was in so much pain feeding him that I was in tears, so being able to take just 24 hours off (I still expressed) and give my nipples a little break meant I could heal a bit quicker
- Not struggling to switch to bottles at a later date – So many of my friends who have exclusively breastfed have had issues getting their child to take a bottle at a later date, so have been unable to leave their baby for longer than an hour at a time even when their baby is a bit older. As Elian is just as happy to take a bottle as he is to breastfeed it means I am never stuck not being able to leave him. A friend couldn’t even go out for her 30th birthday meal and surprise party as she couldn’t leave her little one.