Welcome to the first instalment of the #bottlefeedingstories guest post series, a chance for mums to come together to share their stories of moving from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, whether that was a necessity or a choice.
To kick off the series we have Lauren from Trainee Blogger and Mother.
Hello, I’m Lauren. I’m a WAHM and I have a two-year-old son. I started bottle feeding Little D within the first week but the plan was to breastfeed him exclusively.
Had you given much thought to breastfeeding before/while you were pregnant?
I’d given a ton of thought to Breastfeeding whilst I was pregnant. I wanted to Breastfeed as Breast is best! We’d also been to an antenatal appointment which was all about Breastfeeding and we even got to try it out (kinda) with a knitted boob! Looked so easy!
What was your opinion of bottle feeding?
Not that I looked down on bottle feeding but I couldn’t think of any reason why you’d need to use a bottle. I even asked a midwife would there be any reason to not breastfeed and use a bottle and she told me no, unless there was a medical reason for it!
Were you offered any classes on breastfeeding by your healthcare team/midwives? Did you take any classes of your own ie. NCT?
Yes, we attended a class where they went through all the benefits of breastfeeding. Everything was so positive towards breastfeeding and they did make me feel as if I’d be a terrible mother if I even thought of formula feeding my son.
What support did you receive to start and continue breastfeeding? What support would you have liked?
I didn’t really get much support. I had an emergency c-section and once Little D was born, he was just shoved on me. I was completely out of it, my arms wouldn’t work so I remember the midwife holding him onto me. I was so knackered the evening that he was born and I wanted to feed him but not one midwife helped. Every time they just came in and shoved him on me… I had no idea what I was doing and it was really painful.
I would have loved for someone to come in and go through it with me. I was finding it so hard but there wasn’t really anyone about as it was ‘too busy’ or so they said. I did keep trying and then before I went home I asked a midwife about expressing milk to a bottle as I didn’t think he’d had much in the 2 days we were in and she said she’d be back and never did show up.
Did you have a personal breastfeeding goal?
I would have liked to have exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months.
What triggered your move to bottle feeding? Would you consider it a choice or a necessity?
When we got back from the hospital, Little D just kept crying and I was trying my best but I was still knackered from the c-section and I got about 4 hours sleep in the hospital. I was so stressed out and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t breastfeed. One night at about 11 pm, my other half took Little D to the shop to get some formula and bottles. I’m so glad he did but I wouldn’t say it was a choice. Little D was obviously starving because as soon as he had the formula, he literally slept like a baby (a baby who sleeps well, that is!) The next day, we went and bought a breast pump and after a few days he was having my milk in the day and formula in the night. This carried on for about a month.
How did moving to bottle feeding make you feel?
So guilty! I actually felt like the worst mother in the world. It was horrible, I felt like I’d let everyone down, that I couldn’t do the one thing I should be able too. The classes we went to and what I’d read also made me feel as if I was doing the wrong thing. I’ve actually written a post on it, if you’d like to check it out; www.traineebloggerandmother.com/feeling-guilty-formula-feeding
Did you experience any backlash for bottle feeding?
I wouldn’t say backlash but some family members kept putting pressure on me to continue trying to breastfeed but I just couldn’t. It made me so stressed out and drained and it hurt! In the end, I just agreed that I was going to continue trying just to get them off my back.
Do you have any advice for other new mums in your situation?
Try not to stress. Also, get bottles and a breast pump just in case! You might not ever need them but if you try and express then it might be an easier decision to move onto bottle. Also, if you have a C-section, apparently it does take longer for your milk to come in (better to know now then 3 weeks down the line – no one bothered to tell me!). Also, it’s your baby and your body – do what feels right and don’t feel guilty whatever you choose!
A huge thank you to Lauren for kicking off the series. It’s such a shame that midwives in hospitals are often too busy and overrun to help mums get off on the right foot when it comes to breastfeeding; it has a long lasting impact on both mum and baby.
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Do you have a bottle feeding story you’d like to share? Please get in touch – email@example.com