I’m currently breastfeeding Baby B, she’s 8 weeks old this week and I must say it’s all going amazingly well. She’s bang on her weight gain curve and feeding fairly quickly, which is fab as I also have Toddler H to juggle. For the second time I have chosen to breastfeed and I love it.
I was adamant I wanted to breastfeed Baby B and wanted to solely breastfeed for the first 3 months. Why? Well I really did love breastfeeding Toddler H and I’m glad I persevered through her tongue-tie. I was quite upset when after adding a bottle of formula to H’s daily routine at 7/8 months and then moving house, I seemed to stop feeding her at 10 months. It happened naturally and all of a sudden I realised I was soothing her and she wasn’t actually drinking. I think with her eating more and more and having a couple of bottles of milk (both expressed milk which I’d stored and formula), I just dried up slowly. I was really upset, I really didn’t mean to stop.
We’d given H a bottle from when she was days old as her tongue tie was causing her to loose far too much weight, and not gain any. I was so so pleased that Baby B wasn’t tongue tied: it meant no top ups, and no need to express or use formula. Breastfeeding was much easier from the start. Easier and quicker. Don’t get me wrong it was still sore and at times toe clenching, but a walk in the park by comparison to breastfeeding a very tongue-tied baby.
I’ve always been pro-breastfeeding in the respect that I really really wanted to breastfeed both girls. In both cases I didn’t pack a bottle in my hospital bag, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding and really hoped it would work. Well after all why would you not breastfeed if you can?
Breastfeeding is free, it’s good for baby, it contains all the nutrients baby needs and provides immunity. Not only that, but it’s convenient, it’s quicker, and it doesn’t involve preparing formula and bottles before leaving the house.
I know at the moment everyone is saying fed is best and you shouldn’t try to make people feel bad for bottle feeding. That is absolutely something I don’t want to do, however I need to say I feel paranoid writing this post and about saying I believe if you can breastfeed you should try. To me, turning up to hospital to give birth with no intention of trying to breastfeed, is something I don’t understand, as I was so sure I was going to try to breastfeed. Yes, you might have a medical reason or taking certain medications which prevent you breastfeeding, but if you actively say “I’m not going to breastfeed – my baby is having formula”, it’s one I don’t understand. Why go with a more expensive option that takes more time?
I also completely understand those who stop breastfeeding due to mastitis, to the pain, to a lack of milk, to the lack of support. They tried and it didn’t work so absolutely yes, fed is best. I have many friends, best friends in these boats and I completely stand by them, they’re amazing ladies, they’ve done what they could and what was right for them, they’ve suffered immense pain. I also believe the pressure to breastfeed can feel overwhelming and lead to other problems, so everyone needs to know that it is ok to stop and be respected for that decision. All the pressure to breastfeed can be immense. I know I spent so much time googling when trying to breastfeed H, trying to find support, find a way through the pain, and I did find those things and products to help. There are countless websites and forums offering support. Our midwife also gave us numbers to call and details of support groups. Support was there.
We were told we had to suggest using the bottle or formula as the NHS will never tell you to go down those routes, it has to be suggested by you. Another thing causing pressure on new families.
I guess what I’m saying is it is hard and I’m glad I got through it. I know without expressing and formula, we’d have been back in hospital with Toddler H, she just couldn’t get much milk from breastfeeding. But I’m so glad I stuck with it through the pain, as once her tongue-tie was fixed I got to almost solely breastfeed her for so long. Hubby kept giving H a bottle in the evening, giving him quality bonding time, and I had time to pump and rest. This also worked well as we never experienced H refusing to take a bottle or formula. I’ve just bought a new breast pump so we will start hubby giving a bottle of expressed milk at some stage, but it won’t be a daily thing. I’m fairly sure Baby B is our last baby and I want to feed her as long as possible, to have that experience to remember.
I’ve found that no matter what you do as a parent people will impart their wisdom. Yes, I’ve felt judged, but unfortunately that seems to be with the way with most parenting decisions – everyone has an opinion and you will get ‘looks’ and yes, they may actually say something. I’ve had it when breastfeeding and when bottle feeding H. I’ve felt paranoid in both situations. I shouldn’t, but I have.
I know I’ve expressed my opinion here too, I am pro-breastfeeding and people might feel judged by me saying that, that’s not my intention, I’m hoping someone will be able to tell me why they chose to bottle feed from the start?
Having experienced almost solely breastfeeding and doing top up feeds, while also experiencing expressing milk and using formula with Toddler H, I know my ideal was to solely breastfeed Baby B. Say what you want but I’ve told you my reasons I believe breastfeeding is better for me, my daughter and our bank balance. I’m eager to keep her away from formula as long as possible, but that’s partly to keep costs down and also because I do believe if I can breastfeed I will. I’d like my baby to get all those nutrients from me. Selfishly, I also love having all those cuddles and a super cute milk drunk baby in my arms.
If anyone can help with my questions, I’m really interested to know:
- Why did you choose not to breastfeed at all?
- Why did you completely stop breastfeeding before 6 months?