All the Shades of Gray

The following is a student blog post by Olivia Jones



All the Shades of Gray

Our journey into combination feeding

When my third child was born, I had visions of nursing that sweet newborn the same way I had nursed my last baby. I could fondly remember my nursing toddler and the two and half years he breastfed. I was excited to have that special bond with this new baby. Everything was going really well, until it wasn’t. My sweet baby turned into a screaming howling gremlin, who projectile vomited anytime he nursed. Nursing became a nightmare and soon he started to refuse. Weeks later we would get the diagnosis of severe GERD (reflux disease) and proscribed medication to help, but the damage to our nursing relationship was done.  Gone were the days of sweet snuggling newborns and milk drunk babies, and instead we got around the clock feeds, timed dream feeds. And at the end of the day it still wasn’t enough, all the special diets and supplements and dream feeds wasn’t enough.

Side Lying Position(4)

My baby was still sick and was still losing weight. When our Pediatric GI recommended, we add formula to his diet I was devastated. I KNEW what would happen, I knew the horror stores and I knew our days nursing would come to an end much sooner than I wanted. I cried the first few bottles my son ate. I cried thinking of my failures and the relationship I was sure we would lose. I nursed him as often as I could and gave bottles too. We eventually got into a routine, nursing during the day, two bottles at night.  And you know what? My son gained 3lbs in two months. I cried happy tears, his GI cried too. It was somewhere in this moment I realized something, breastfeeding doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Breastfeeding isn’t all black and white. Moms don’t fail because they give their child formula and moms don’t have to formula feed 100% of the time. It’s important that moms find a balance that works for them and their baby. Breastfeeding is all the shades of gray and it’s important that you feel supported in whatever you choose to do. I don’t know where my nursing relationship will be in 6 months, I don’t even know where it will be in next week but I’m learning it doesn’t matter. I’m learning to let go of the guilt I feel about formula (because its self-imposed), and just like with the rest of parenthood, I’m learning all the shades of gray.


All student article posts are the expressions of the student who wrote them. We do not take responsibility for the content, these are done as part of the educational experience and we try to encourage students to use their voice and learn to connect with clients through blogging and social media.
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