Feeding Story

August 22, 2023

Positive Feeding Stories – Harry

Hello! If you’re new here, I’m Lucy – your Maternity, Newborn and Family photographer based in York bringing you all the best top tips, feeding stories and cutest photos to make you broodier than ever.

Welcome to my latest series of blog posts and I can tell you, I am REALLY excited about these feeding stories. It was brought to my attention that photographers and pages often talk about all the positives of breastfeeding but not so much about bottle feeding. I have so many Mum friends who bottle feed their littlies and it hit a little nerve that they don’t perhaps have as wide a resource to turn to when things get tough or tiring.. Those positive stories that you sit and read with your cold cup of tea when you want to escape for 2 minutes and hear another journey… maybe it’s similar, maybe it’s SO far removed that it gives you a new perspective..

That being said I am going to alternate these between bottle and breastfeeding because whilst there’s lots of Instagram pages on breastfeeding, I don’t think there’s enough individual stories out there! I’ve also asked for them to end in 3 to 5 of their top tips that they came across to help with feeding (whether that be bottle or breast) so hopefully it will be helpful for you. So with that being said, here is the next set of feeding storoies for you…

WELCOME! Welcome to your real, honest, no filters feeding stories sent to me by Mama’s for you to read, take nuggets from and hopefully, give you something positive to read!

Today’s bottle feeding stories are from an UNBELIEVABLE Mama. They’ve been through it all and then some and I was SO lucky to be able to capture this little boy at 10 weeks old. I cried (obviously) during that session and after because I was just so in awe of this family.. you’ll see what I mean. I’m even more excited because he’s coming back to my studio in a few weeks time for his first birthday shoot – Lord knows where that time has gone..!

A little note to say that at the very bottom of this post (with a big space at the bottom so you can read and not see), that there are photos of the gorgeous baby boy at each stage of his feeding journey, including in SCBU.

Take it away, Mama, Harry’s feeding stories……

So our feeding journey is slightly different to the normal breastfed or bottle, in fact it was slightly
more complicated than that or at least it was in the beginning.

A bit of background to our story… Harry was born very unexpectedly 10 weeks early – I was 29
weeks and 5 days pregnant when he made his early arrival, and he went straight off to SCBU no skin
to skin, nothing. Just out and gone. And so his feeding journey in the outside world began.

Harry was fed via tube for the first 5 weeks of his life. Initially the tube went in through his mouth
into his tummy, but once he was off CPAP the tube went in through his nose. For the first couple of
days he had no milk at all, just fluids called TPN. Once the doctors thought he was well enough to
move onto milk we were given 2 options, Donor Expressed Breast Milk (DEMB) or formula. There
would have been a 3 rd option, my expressed breastmilk, but due to him coming so early and the
stress and adrenaline I was feeling my body just didn’t produce any. There were no happy hormones
here to help get the milk flowing. We opted for the DEMB because this was kinder to his teeny tiny
tummy and gut, and so he started on 1ml of milk every hour.

Gradually Harry was taking more milk with each feed, we had some hiccups along the way where he
was put on tummy rest at 3ml, but we were on the way up. I was also expressing religiously every
3hrs next to his incubator (and during the night) to try and get up my milk supply. The small amount
I got was labelled up and put in the milk kitchen fridge to go towards his feeds for the day. The next
issue we had was that Harry wasn’t gaining weight – DEBM is great, but it’s cleaned and filtered so it
didn’t have much to it, so we then started adding fortifier to the milk in an attempt to add more

Not long after we had the discussion about his weight, my breastmilk and what our options were.
We then went to a mixture of my breastmilk with added fortifier (if and when I had any available)
and Nutriprem 1 – a formula high in calories specifically designed for preemies. This continued to be
given to him through his tube going from hourly feeds, to every 2 hours and up to every 3. We also
had the option to be trained up to do his feeds ourselves by tube, but for me if just felt too medical
so I didn’t want to do it – that’s just my own feelings as many other parents loved being part of the
feeding and being able to have that little bit of control.

By this point we’d made it to 34 weeks gestation and I was still expressing every 3 hours. 34 weeks
seemed to be the magic number where preemies suddenly turn a corner, and where their
suck/swallow reflexes kick in. Now was the perfect time to try him on the bottle and/or the boob
with the main feed being through the tube. Harry tried the bottle, we tried him on the boob and he
was even cup fed. Yep that’s right, he was fed by the nurses from a tiny little cup – they do this if
you’re wanting to breastfeed so the babies don’t get used to the bottle.

When I was pregnant I always said that I would like to breastfeed, but if I couldn’t then I wasn’t
precious about it because fed is best. But this was completely different to how I imagined it would
be with my baby and I felt uncomfortable feeding him. He was so small and I had no idea how much
if any milk he was getting from me – his weight was still an issue, we were struggling to get Harry to
4lb and so knowing exactly how much milk he was taking was so important. So I decided, with the
support of my husband, that we would bottle feed. I was still expressing enough for 1 feed a day of
my own milk and the rest was formula. For us that was the best decision we could make – my
husband could have that special bonding moment feeding Harry, and I could rest easy knowing
exactly how much milk he had taken. After 48 hours of feeding only from the bottle the feeding tube
came out and that was it, no more tube.

We picked up a few tips from the absolutely amazing nurses in SCBU:

1: Mam bottles. Harry took to them so well (he also used some Nuk teats but we’ve been using Mam
since he’s been 4lb)
2: Feed your baby upright rather than laying them down
3: If they stop feeding or slow down, just twist the bottle side to side so the teat moves in their
mouth. It just reminds them what they’re supposed to be doing!

For us, there’s nothing that we could have done differently in our journey. We were led by Harry and
the amazing nurses that adored him like family, and for us and our sanity the bottle was the way to
go. I’ll never forget sitting and watching my husband feed this tiny baby guzzling down 40ml, which
at the time felt like such a large amount, and just bursting with pride.

Now we have a happy and healthy 10 month old baby boy who’s gone from 1ml of milk every hour
to absolutely demolishing a 240ml bottle. And at the end of the day who cares how they’re fed! A
fed baby is best, and for us that includes a bottle.

A few images from Harry’s feeding stories to show the feeding tube – the one in the stripe baby grow is during a tube feed (the syringe is at the top of the photo!)

Harry being fed by Dad using a bottle!

A few from Harry’s shoot at 10 weeks old – I’ll update this once he’s been for his birthday shoot too!

Interested in having your own feeding shoot? Then get in touch here to find out more or follow me on my Instagram page here for more inspiration!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *