Whether you’re a proponent of ‘breast is best’ or ‘fed is best,’ the breast vs. bottle debate is a heated one. But what if we told you there was a third option? A recent Instagram photo from Carriage House Birth brings this less talked about method into the spotlight.
The photo shows doula and new mom, Rebecca McKeever using a syringe to feed her newborn in the hospital.
“A lactation consultant came to our hospital room to ask if we needed help,” McKeever tells the Huffington Post. “She saw that I was expressing colostrum but that Andromeda wasn’t latching, so she brought in little cups and syringes so we could get some food in her. I expressed some colostrum into a cup, then put it into the syringe and fed her little drops at a time.”
Did you notice a thin, yellowish liquid leaking from your boobs toward the end of pregnancy? That’s colostrum: baby’s first food if you choose to breastfeed, or syringe-feed like the mom pictured above. Colostrum is packed with antibodies and proteins, meaning it's all baby needs to eat for the first few days. If you continue breastfeeding, your body will start to produce milk instead of colostrum.
Many moms with babies having trouble latching will ask, “Should I supplement with formula until my milk comes in?” Not necessarily: Using a syringe is a simple way to provide baby with the nutrients he or she needs while you adjust to breastfeeding.
“In that moment, I felt so empowered and happy to be able to feed my baby,” McKeever says. “Even if it wasn’t in the ‘traditional’ way, it didn’t matter to me. I knew it might take some time.”
McKeever isn’t the only one to struggle with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding for the first time isn’t always picture-perfect. Like anything else, it takes time for you and baby to get used to nursing.
Whether you’re planning to breastfeed or bottle-feed, here are the feeding supplies you’ll need for your newborn.