An open letter to a new mum

Why I won’t be exclusively breastfeeding my second baby

Breastfeeding hey, everyone has an opinion on it, even those without kids do. I am due my second baby in a matter of weeks and I have made a decision that I will not be exclusively breastfeeding him like I did for my daughter.

Some people will be up in arms to read this, some people will nod along agreeing with me, whilst some people will think why bother with it. Truth be told, it’s nobody else’s business or decision, other than my own. As long as my baby is fed is all that matters….whether that’s breastfeeding, formula feeding, or a combination of both. As a second time parent I’ve made the decision to go down the route of combination feeding and here’s why.

Baby bottle

Although breastfeeding is such a special experience between mother and baby, I found it exhausting in the early days. In fact I found it quite resentful, I certainly didn’t get that mother and baby bond that everybody says you get from breastfeeding. It felt like I was always feeding and it was consuming me, spending hours and days marooned to the sofa watching Netflix, with no idea how much she was actually getting.

With a toddler on my hands this time round, spending hours and hours on the sofa is not going to be possible. My toddler wants constantly entertaining and flicks quickly between one activity to the next. Having my husband do some of the feeds would be so helpful, and allow me to spend time with my daughter without having to whip my boob out every two seconds.

My daughter when she was born lost over 10% of her birth weight, and there was so much pressure from midwifes and my health visitor to feed, feed, feed, which just added to the pressure and worry. This was something I didn’t need as a new sleep deprived parent. We were advised to give her 90ml of formula a day, and to be honest I found this such a relief. She would seem so much more contented and actually sleep, which was what I needed after being in pain from a c-section.

However once my daughter gained weight we were advised by our health visitor to stop with the formula. Why, oh why, did we do ever do that. From that moment on she refused any type of bottle, even a bottle with breast milk in it. I tried everything, all the different brands, and milk heated to various temperatures, but nothing worked. I felt trapped I couldn’t go anywhere without her, as she needed feeding every hour (I’m not joking), and I only felt that I could leave her for more than a few hours when I stopped feeding at 10 months.

This time round there is no maternity leave for me, and I will be continuing to work on this blog and my social media business. There will be times that I need to leave my son with my husband or another family member. This is another reason why I have decided to go down the combination feeding route from the beginning to avoid him refusing a bottle.

Lastly there are the nights, those long and lonely nights. I found them agony with my daughter, I would spend most of the night feeding, especially when the four month sleep regression hit when she would wake between 12 to 15 times a night.

Having my husband take over some of these feeds would be a huge help, and hopefully mean that I am not a mum who spends her waking days living in a fog, surviving on coffee, and studying the hours that my daughter woke to see if I could find a pattern. It also means that my husband has some involvement too, and I think that the constant feeding in the early days with my daughter alienated him a little.

Mother breastfeeding her baby

So those are my reasons why we will be going down the combination feeding route. When I first found out I was pregnant, this was one of my first thoughts. Strangely second time round when I tell my midwife, she is happy with my decision, when I was fully expecting to have breastfeeding pushed onto me yet again. Maybe that’s because I’m a second time mum, or maybe it’s because they are realising that it’s better for baby to be fed, rather than bombarding parents with the breastfeeding only option (which is what I found first time round).

For anyone who is thinking about going down this route, here are my top tips:

  • Do what is right for you and your family, it is no one else’s business or decision how you feed your baby.
  • A fed baby, and a happy mummy are important. Breastfeeding can be stressful as you have no idea how much baby is getting. If you’re worried about this, do not worry too much about reaching for a bottle that either contains formula or expressed breast milk.
  • Give breastfeeding a go, however if it doesn’t work out for you, don’t beat yourself up about it.

I hope that anyone reading this understands why I am going down this route. I am not against breastfeeding, in fact it’s a wonderful thing, but exclusively breastfeeding is not for everyone or me (for my second child).

If you do or did combination feeding I would love to hear how you got on, and whether you had the same concerns as I do about exclusively breastfeeding your later children?

Claire x

Why I won't be exclusively breastfeeding my second baby




  • Jade The Parenting Jungle

    Hey lovely, I have been combination feeding Norah. Did plan to exclusively breastfeed and I did for the first month…then a combination of colic, reflux, a bad latch, CMPA worries, my supply being affected by retained placenta and trying to manage two children means I started formula feeding at night. I was brutally exhausted and my partner being able to feed her with a bottle was a godsend. She is a demon of a greedy baby! Combination feeding really worked for a while and I was so pleased with it. At 10 weeks I have just fully switched to formula as I found keeping up the pumping at night etc to keep up supply quite time consuming and Norah started refusing the boob. I get a pang of I should have kept it up guilt but similarly my hv was amazingly supportitive as Norah still doesn’t sleep for more than 3 hours a night she was like, you body has enough to deal with! Do what works for you lovely xxxx

  • Rachel | Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles

    I managed to exclusively breastfeed my first and man, that was hard work! He also refused a bottle so that was tough. I am proud to say though that we kept up the breastfeeding well into his 2nd year and I never regretted it. When my second came along, I was much more open to the idea of combi/bottle feeding and introduced it very early on! I know “they” say wait til breastfeeding is established at around 6-8 weeks before introducing the bottle, but we also didn’t want to risk refusal this time round!
    Luckily, my second was just a total milk monster and didn’t care f it came directly from the boob, expressed into a bottle or a bottle of formula! We also breastfed until around 20 months but she would have gone on forever if it was available!
    I totally agree with you, “fed is best” and you HAVE to do what is right for you and your own family, regardless of what “they” say!! Good luck with your next feeding journey!

  • Tubbs

    Everyone has do what’s best for their family and their circumstances. As long as you’re happy and baby is healthy, that’s all that matters 🙂

  • Jennie

    I struggled with breastfeeding so much with GinGin – to the point where she was becoming ill and so was I – that I vowed I wouldn’t do it with baby number two. But, when I was in labour I thought I’d at least do the first feed. That went well. So I thought I’d see how the next feed went. Again it went well. But about a week later I decided I needed to do combination feeding. I didn’t care less what anyone else thought because, like you say, it’s nobody else’s business 🙂
    Good luck with your last weeks of pregnancy!!
    Best wishes,
    Jennie xx

  • Sara @ Magical Mama Blog

    Cheers to this whole post! My first was exclusively breastfed for 7 months until I just could not take it any more and my body could not keep up. We switched to formula from 7-12 months and our little one switched over like a dream! I am definitely planning on combination feeding our second. I made that choice when ours was a few months old. Having some help, letting dad and others bond during feeding, not having to stress about amounts, times, and if you can keep up… I’m definitely on board with you! All families, all babies, and all situations are different. Fed babies are the best kind!

  • Sandra Black

    As a grandparent I saw the tiredness and strain it can be on my daughter-in-law for the hourly / 2 hourly feedings and also the problems about refusing bottles. Far better a happy, not tired mum to enjoy all her time with the baby . #fortheloveofblog

  • Briony

    You have to do what’s right for you, and it damn sure isn’t anyone else’s business. I loved breastfeeding, but I was on maternity leave with nothing else to do, no kids, no work and I was blessed with a ridiculously easy going baby. I was sad when I switched to formula to go back to work but that’s the only thing that worked for us and he loved formula just as much, little traitor. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Morgan Prince

    You are so right, it’s your decision and you do what is best for you and baby. I combination fed my youngest (now 9) because when I tried to breastfeed exclusively he lost weight, much like your daughter. I was warned that if he continued to lose weight he would have to be admitted to the hospital – I made the decision to start giving him formula then and as soon as I did he started to gain weight. I struggled to breast feed with my eldest too – he lost weight too, and as soon as he was given formula, gained. For us the first time round I formula fed after trying with breastfeeding. Second time around it was both and I felt much better about it too. Brilliant post.xx

  • Tracey Bowden

    It sounds you definitely have given this a lot of thought. And if this is what is best for you, no one else needs to have any input. I bottlefed as that was what was best for me and I am a big believer in doing what is best for mum and baby #fortheloveofblog

  • Noleen Miller

    I always say do what is best for you and your baby. I did’t exclusively breastfeed my babies and they turned out fine. I think people should stop judging others’ decisions when it comes to the breastmilk vs formula debacle #fortheloveofblog

  • Carrie Ford-Coates

    Agree! Do what is right for you, your baby and your schedule. Every baby is different and everyone’s situation is different. I took a breastfeeding class and that made a world of difference. The class gave tips on how to tell if baby was getting fed enough (like how many wet diapers or signs to look for) what positions to use to not get your nipples sore, etc. Fed is best 🙂 #fortheloveofblog

  • Lisa Pomerantz

    Everyone’s decision is a personal one and well thought out, I am sure. Be mindful of the judgemental ninnies that will attack you for your decision. And most importantly, Mazel Tov and congrats on number two! A bei gezunt (be healthy!) xoxo #fortheloveofBLOG xoox

  • Amy - The Rolling Baby

    It sounds like you’re making the best decision for you and your baby and that’s all that matters. I felt I had to give breastfeeding a go and I did, but it really didn’t work for me or my daughter and we swiftly switched to formula. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Gabby | Gabby Writes

    Hey mama! Wow, you had it tough with breastfeeding your first. I commend you for sticking with it. I’ve noticed being a new mom that moms have such unique experiences and that’s 100% okay! Some women loved pregnancy and some didn’t, some women love breastfeeding and some don’t. I didn’t like pregnancy and LOVED breastfeeding, but my son was an eater and would eat no matter how it was served to him (other moms told me that boys are usually less picky). That’s why I love it so much but what’s beautiful is that your story is just as beautiful as mine, even though is different. Good luck with your second baby! Don’t let any mother make you feel badly about how you’re feeding your baby. As you said, as long as he eats, he’ll be okay. Thanks for this post!

  • Jade | Mommy Matters

    Same! I fed my oldest daughter on demand, and she ate non-stop around the clock too. I’m supplementing with formula for #2 and absolutely LOVE it!

    I’m glad that you are choosing to make your well-being a priority. It’s the only way to be a happy mom.

    So funny to come across your story. I’m starting a series on infant feeding on my blog. It was inspired by my own miserable experience with on demand feeding —> supplementing.

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