Breast Vs Bottle is one of the major things that people seem to want mums to fall out about. How, what and when you feed your baby has to one of the most contentious parenting issues of all time. Luckily, here at MGF-HQ, I am delighted to announce that we have found the right way for you to feed your baby: whichever way that suits you both the best. Whether that’s from your breast, from someone else’s or from a bottle: your body, your rights, your choice.
A sample of our exclusive, extensive and very scientific research is below:
Bottle Feeding By Choice:
Some will say it was a selfish decision but for ME it was the right decision and by making the right decision for me, I made the right decision for my baby. I decided to bottle feed but the world would make me feel guilty about that decision forever.
I love my boobs! They look good! And the thought of milk leaking out of them and having a child stuck to them 24/7 was not for me! I wanted to have the option to off load the tiny human at any point, to anyone and at any stage without any restrictions (adhering to the obvious rules of not actually handing her over to anyone on the street because I just needed that 10 minutes to sit on the loo and gather my thoughts – however tempting that became)
So we embarked on our bottle feeding journey. The advice I received on bottle feeding?…..that would be ZERO! Not one professional, leaflet, website or magazine, in my 9 months of pregnancy, gave me any advice on bottle feeding! £500 for antenatal classes…..if your breastfeeding great, if your not you’ve just thrown away your life savings to be told you’ll be doing it all wrong and forever be branded THAT mother who loved her boobs too much!
Even the instructions on the tub of formula made this process into something you needed a NASA certificate for! A 56 step guide to making a bottle and advice to give yourself approximately 1 hour! That newborn of yours will just have to wait……the LABEL clearly hadn’t ever dealt with a real life feeding machine. Amazon app open….perfect prep machine purchased!
Fast forward to D-day, one emergency c-section, general anaesthetic and a traumatic birthing experience later…….breastfeeding was still being shoved down my throat! Never mind I’ve just had my stomach ripped open and a human pulled out, you just keep firing that guilt at me!! I had brought powder formula (epic fail at the first hurdle) but there was no bottle making facilities, so we had to beg the midwives to give us some pre-made formula. The midwife told us to keep it a secret…..A SECRET? I wasn’t asking her to score me some drugs from a dealer I had lined up in the waiting room!!!
Yet here we are, 15 months later, pressure ignored, instinct followed and decision made because it was right for me…….our tiny human is healthy, happy, growing and developing each day. If I had given in to the pressure around me to breastfeed I can’t say I’d be the happy mother I am today or that our house would be harmonious!
Bottle Feeding After Being Unable to Breastfeed
Breast is best. We all know that, it’s a fact and throughout my pregnancy (and even before) I always knew that is exactly what I wanted to do when I had a baby, not only for the health benefits but because of the special bond everybody spoke about. I wanted that more than anything.
One of my main concerns as my due date drew closer was that in fact my boobs would fail me and I’d be unable to breastfeed. I hadn’t started leaking anything, my boobs hadn’t really grown to massive melon state and what if in fact I was completely defective and un-womanly? Then suddenly I started leaking colostrum and my fears subsided a bit, I was actually in working order and things would be fine.
Then I lost a substantial lot of blood during an Emergency Section.
At first nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. A very friendly Midwife petty much milked my boobs into a syringe and my little boy had a pretty nice first feed. Later that day (with some help from my husband) we got him latched for another 20 minutes, brilliant – this was working out aces. Then the issues started. Firstly, latching was a nightmare and with limited movement due to having the section we had a lot of false starts. Then when my husband tried to help he was told off and that I would need to learn to do it myself, then when we finally managed a half decent position feeding seemed to go on for ages but no satisfaction was gained.
We were discharged with a sleepy, hungry baby and I knew something wasn’t right, he didn’t seem to be getting anything from me and even with enthusiastic massage no more than a few drops of colostrum were coming out so on our very first night home I decided to supplement with a bottle. Thankfully in the pre-baby buying spree I had purchased some bottles and a steriliser so we were set and after a bit of faffing around the first bottle was hungrily demolished and I thought well this will work until my milk comes in, except it never did.
It seems having lost the blood earlier had knocked my body into a sort of state of shock and it went into self-preservation mode, which meant no milk supply but goodness did I try and get it up and running. Between latching baby onto the boob, to pumping, to massaging, every type of stimulate I could think of was utilised to no avail, milk just wasn’t coming in. So I waited, fed him with a bottle and tired again.
Ten days after birth I work up to rock hard boobs, finally we had some progress, or did we? My boobs leaked which I took to be a good sign but still nothing was really coming out, in fact on a really good days’ worth of pumping I managed to eek out just under half an ounce.
It was after one of these particularly long pumping days I finally said enough was enough. I was stressing myself out which in turn was stressing everybody else out and guess what I had a brand-new baby laying there to enjoy. He didn’t care where his milk came from, he just wanted to be fed and held and loved, all things I could do just as well with a bottle as a breast. It was a real freeing moment to finally be able to say, you know what I am just as good a mother with a bottle as I am with a breast. This tiny, little human needs nourishment and love and I can give both, just not in the way I planned.
After coming to terms with the fact breast just wasn’t going to work I never looked back. Would I have liked things to be different? Sure I would, I would have liked to have been able to have an actual choice as opposed with having to make do with the circumstances but it wasn’t and it isn’t the end of the world.
Is my baby (now toddler) healthy? Yes. Has he hit all his milestones? Yes. Is there any actual difference between him and his breastfed friends? Well he seems to have less colds and he is pretty tall in comparison to them but other than that? They are all as nuts as each other.
Bottle feeding my baby has not taken anything away from me, we still had an extremely close bond, which even the 2am feed couldn’t diminish and in a lot of ways I am really thankful. Thankful that I live in a country and age where bottle feeding is an option. That I can keep my baby alive with products made to ensure they get as good a start as they can when breastmilk isn’t a option.
There will always be breast vs bottle debates but I truly believe a fed baby is a happy baby and no matter how you end up doing it, you’ll be part of something you will remember for the rest of your life.
When I found out I was pregnant, I never even considered not breastfeeding. It was just what I was going to do; I don’t remember having a conversation about it. I just knew. I would breastfeed for 6 months and then our bundle of joy would naturally move on to cow’s milk and baby purees and sleep through the night… (I’ll let you muse over my naivety!) Before having a child I didn’t think breastfeeding should last after the baby could ask for it….
Then our daughter was born. She latched on almost right away, it was short at first, but I kept her almost constantly at my breast that first night. At the time I thought I only had a short window to make this work, and give her this ‘liquid gold’ feeding. (again first mom naivety!)
Thankfully for us, it really was easy. Don’t get me wrong I did have engorged boobs, mastitis, an overly sleepy feeder, but it never made me question our journey. It clicked for us, and that was lucky, because I wouldn’t have had any support around me if it hadn’t.
Our 6 month target soon flew by, but before I even reached that I knew I wanted to reach a year – “The Golden Boobies” award. I’d also discovered breastfeeding support groups by then. And my husband and I saw how breastfeeding fit into our lives and how well our LO benefitted.
Fast forward another 6 months and I new I wanted reach 2 years. I didn’t know what it would look like, but by then I was a breastfeeding peer support volunteer. I had read a LOT about all types of parenting styles, and was finding our own journey. And more then anything I loved the time with my LO. It was was a connected time for the two of us – skin to skin, eye contact, and those latched on looks of love.
And now 33 months in, we still do. Not every day. She receives nourishment – both emotional and nutritional, and I do believe it has loads of health benefits. She does ask me for “mommy milk” quite clearly now, and although I never thought I’d be here, with an unclear end in sight. I wouldn’t have it any other way for her.
Who’s doing it right? They all are.
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