Feeding, we all do it, some more than others and babies are of no exception. With both my babies I gained different types of experience when it came to feeding. Z who I had 4 years ago, was a colicky baby. I wanted to breastfeed her but not much came of it as she wouldn’t latch on properly and when she did I couldn’t give her enough so we moved her onto a mixture of however much I could give her and formula milk. We were taught to give her the formula in the lid of the bottle like a cat drinking milk. She learnt to ‘lap’ but feeding became more of an issue than something we could enjoy and bond over. She wasn’t drinking as quickly as she wanted so there would be a lot of screaming and this would increase her colic issues at night. So we stopped. We decided to just give her the bottle.

She was much more happier at meal times but the colic didn’t calm down and she ended up with constipation as well. Fun when everything is happening at the same time at the age of 1 month. After consulting the feeding clinic about cooled boiled water consumption we were told not to give her any. Reason, she was getting enough from her formula so didn’t need any. As parents we weren’t convinced, what else could we give her to calm down her tummy pain. Taking it upon ourselves after nearly a week of no poop, we gave her a little water. After a few hours, we had a dirty nappy and a calmer baby. As a first time mum I did notify the clinic but the only reply I got back was we shouldn’t need to, but it’s up to us as parents. So as the parents, we decided to give her a very small amount of water every day in between her feeds. It worked as a magic formula and even her colic died down over time.

When it came to Mr A 9 months ago, we were provided a lot of help from the hospital over the few days I was staying there. He didn’t take onto milk, and as I had decided this time was straight to the bottle I didn’t fuss about with the breasts. He took onto milk slowly but wasn’t very bothered. So after setting out a feeding plan with the midwife we tracked his feeding, and slowly after 4 days of being in the hospital he was feeding like a normal newborn. As time went on, he became hungrier, the feed we were providing him wasn’t enough and he would scream after every feed finished. This confused both myself and daddy as we hadn’t come across this before. He wanted more and we weren’t sure if it was good to give it or not. Speaking to the feeding clinic they told me he was cluster feeding so I should just give it when he wanted it. That was all good and well, if you weren’t already drinking the recommended amount for a 1 month old at 2 weeks old. Again we were not satisfied and decided to change his formula, maybe that would help. It helped – for 3 days then we were back to square one again. People were telling us, he’s a boy don’t worry he will calm down. But all we felt was us holding a bottle literally 24 hours a day in one hand and him sucking on it with the other.

Daddy then found Hungry milk. It included a higher quantity of whey but it was supposed to provide the baby a bit more satisfaction. After a lot of our own research, we decided to contact the clinics once more. Asking them for their advice on hungry milk. We were told it was up to us, but it wasn’t advised as they wouldn’t tell parents to feed them anything other than normal formula. On top of that we were told, the clinics were not taught about different types of formulas, they were centred to learning about breastfeeding and promoting that. This left us to our own devices. Not impressed, even after visiting a local clinic and being given the same advice about them knowing only about breastfeeding we gave up. As parents we had to once again 4 years later take things into our own hands and decide to give him hungry or not. We took on the yes option as we had all lost our tether including the 1 month old. Starting with only one feed of hungry in the day we observed how he took to it and how long he lasted. The outcome was as we envisioned so we increased the hungry feed – making his feeds slowly become switched between hungry and normal throughout the day. This kept his poops at bay with the help of a little bit of water and also kept him full for longer.

I couldn’t understand why no one was helping 100% when it came to bottle feeding or formula. I understand the pressure clinics and staff feel on learning about breastfeeding and the importance of it, but in my personal opinion there needs to be a system set up for bottle and formula feeding parents as well. As I was a second time mum I was lucky, as I had already experienced things with my first, but if I was a first time mum in the same situation, I would have felt completely alone and confused, which sadly would not have done either me, or my baby any good.

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