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I've never met an adult who was like, "the reason why my life has been so terrible was because my mom didn't breastfeed me."
Which is best- bottle or breast. The debate is neverending. I've nursed exclusively all my babies, up until now. Had things gone as planned, I would be home with a 4 month old, exclusively breastfed baby, who had doubled his birth weight within 2 days of coming home from the hospital, but in life things don't always go as planned. Silas was not gaining weight. It took him almost seventeen days to gain enough weight to where we didn't think he would have to go back on the IV. I was pumping, offering him the breast, burping, offering him the bottle of breastmilk, burping, getting him to sleep, and then doing it all over again. Each feeding was lasting longer then the next, and with 4 other kiddos and BLANQI, I just didn't have it in me. So I phased out of pumping and into exclusively bottle feeding. It wasn't what I expected, switching exclusively to formula. It wasn't what I wanted, but when faced with the situation of a baby who needs to gain weight or will stay longer in the NICU, you do whatever it takes.
One of the things I learned with pre-term babies, was how important it was to keep them calm, eating and sleeping; so that they would develop in the same way that they would have if still in the womb. That is one of the reasons they really promote the pacifier in the NICU. I felt the heat of the super judgy gals out there stressing the downfalls of the paci, but my opinion is that each baby is different and to do what is best for your baby at that time- so, pacifier it was. I am obsessed with the newborn pacifiers from Smilo, Inc. It's been an amazing product. I totally recommend it for all newborns, but especially small preemies. It's designed with 3 support arches, is small and compact for their little mouths, and was the only one Silas took to for that reason.
Which makes me really want share how the design process behind our BLANQI postpartum + nursing support tanktops. If you look around on the market as a new mom, your options are to choose one or the other. You can get the standard nursing tanks with clips that scream 'breastfeeding" or you can get too-tight shapewear that doesn't give any access to your breasts if you are pumping and/or nursing. There really isn't anything for the hybrid mom- the mom who may do it all, or a variation of a couple ways, or maybe one exclusively that changes over the course of a couple months like it did for me. We made the conscious choice not to just call it 'nursing', but "postpartum + nursing" because it does it all. It's designed for bodies motherhood made. For breastfeeding bodies, we designed the tanktops based on the action behind how mothers really nurse. We either "lift up" of "pull down", so we designed our support tanktops with that feature in mind. No clips, just easy access for busy moms who breastfeed on the go. The same design works well for a pumping mom. As someone who has pumped in both public and private places, I prefer to pump with my midsection smoothed and covered. Our support tanktops do just that. And bottle feeding. Just because a mom uses a bottle doesn't mean her body- and breast- need any less support. Especially during the painful transition that can occur when weaning, supporting the breasts can help make that process more comfortable. The smoothing support on the tummy helps ease the discomfort when healing after a c-section, as well as a more comfortable option than tight, bulky belly binders and wraps. While some mamas may swear by them, they are far from practical and not easy to do anything in when wearing- especially when feeding a baby by breast or bottle! Try them out for yourself and let us know what you think?