Having an oversupply of milk is HARD. As I enter my third trimester of this pregnancy, I am going to prepare myself with the best feeding plan possible this next time around, for my baby, my family and MYSELF. Keep reading below to find out why I am choosing to formula feed from the beginning with my second daughter due in September.
As I just entered my third trimester, a flood of emotions and thoughts about breastfeeding have come over me. Will I have an oversupply again? Will I constantly be engorged again? Will the baby choke on my breast milk? Will I be able to feed in public due to my oversupply?
My experience with an oversupply
I wrote this blog post about my postpartum anxiety after having my daughter, Palmer, 2.5 years ago. As I reflect on that time, I realized that one of the main culprits contributing to my postpartum anxiety was breastfeeding with my oversupply of milk. I didn’t know that I had an oversupply and an abnormal amount of milk until a friend of mine who happened to be a NICU nurse came over to meet my baby.
She was shocked at how I filled an entire haakaa and more at each feeding and my breasts were so massive and hard to the touch that I had to use a nipple shield for my baby to even be able to latch. I remember not being able to nurse in public because during my letdown, the milk would spray everywhere like a sprinkler (not kidding ha!). I felt confined to my home because the thought of giving her a bottle and not getting relief from the fullness of my breasts from nursing sounded overwhelming to throw pumping into the mix too.
I was lost and I needed to stop breastfeeding for my mental health, but I felt trapped. Many think an oversupply of milk is a blessing and would make comments such as, “wow, you’re so lucky!” LUCKY? These comments made me feel guilty for stopping to nurse because I knew so many friends who had a hard time keeping up their supply, so I stuck with it and exclusively breastfed for six months. When I started to wean, I felt a sense of freedom. I could finally get back to activities I enjoyed such as going to the gym or meeting friends without having to worry about my breasts or breastfeeding.
Why I’m choosing formula
Based on my feeding experience with Palmer, I have decided to set myself up for success as part of my postpartum care plan with this new baby. I wish I could go to Deema for consults through Bumblebaby like you all can, but unfortunately that would not legally work since we are coworkers (and friends!), so I am going to a new therapist that I see once a week and who is going to help me through this transition into postpartum with this new baby.
When I talk to my therapist about feeding this new baby, I instantly feel overwhelmed and I have some negative and dark memories that flash back from my prior breastfeeding experience. It’s holding me back from being excited about bringing this new baby into the world and joining our family.
Because of this, I have decided to give formula to the baby starting night one and to give myself some more options when it comes to breastfeeding. If breastfeeding goes well, then I will stick with it as long as it’s working for ME and my family. If it becomes overwhelming and not serving me, I am open to stopping and weaning ASAP (see our weaning e-guide here which I will be using).
I feel so fortunate to have Kate, Natalie and Lauren on my side to help me come up with a game plan this next time around that works for ME. I am very open to formula feeding night one at the hospital and even addressed this with my provider at my last appointment. He was very supportive, but did mention that the hospital I am delivering at might push back a little, but to stay firm and to make it known to all of the nurses as soon as I arrive. I read through our “how to strictly formula feed at birth” blog post to prepare myself and my doctor for formula feeding from the start.
I would like to give breastfeeding a shot again, but I am really hoping to eventually get to two breastfeeding sessions a day and the rest I will formula feed or supplement. I also might just not breastfeed at all after starting if it’s causing anxiety and negative feelings and that is ok! I have learned so much from working for Kate and I wish I had Bumblebaby as a resource when I had Palmer.
It’s ok to formula feed and it doesn’t make you a bad parent if you choose to do so. The way you choose to feed your baby is your choice and I am now confident enough to make the decision to stop breastfeeding altogether if it’s not a positive experience for me and my family.
The uncertainty of what will happen is contributing to my anxiety, so I am going to have Kate, Natalie and Lauren come up with different feeding options for me and how to execute each scenario during the first few weeks (they can do the same for you too if you book a consult with them here). I do know that I will be formula feeding from the very beginning (which I didn’t do until month six last time) and will be training my body to only breastfeed 2-3 times per day). I will keep you all posted on what happens when the baby arrives!
Reminder: It doesn’t matter HOW you choose to feed your baby (watch this reel!)
Do you need someone to talk to during prenatal or postpartum? Book a text or video chat consult with Deema. Deema is a psychotherapist specializing in women’s mental health issues including maternal health and perinatal mood disorders and can help you today.
She also has a postpartum care plan e-guide that you can fill out to ensure you are best equipped mentally for after baby arrives!
Do you need help with breastfeeding, pumping or bottle feeding? Schedule a text or video chat consult with Kate, Lauren or Natalie (NICU RNs) and they can help answer any questions that you have!
Other helpful blog posts:
- Renée’s postpartum anxiety
- Kate’s postpartum depression story
- 13 things no one told you about postpartum
- How to correctly bottle feed your baby
- 5 signs it’s time to wean from breastfeeding or pumping
- 6 signs of oversupply
- How to supplement with formula
- How to strictly formula feed after birth
- Everything you need to know about formula
- Why you should use a Haakaa and how to do it properly
- All about nipple shields
**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider.