This week’s #bottlefeedingstories post comes from Em over at emlinthorpe.com
Hi, I’m Em and I blog over at Em Linthorpe I’m a mam to 10 year old daughter C and an almost 2 year old son R. I breastfed both my children from birth, my daughter for 10 days and my son for 3 days before swapping to formula bottle feeding. I intended to breastfeed for at least 6 months each time.
Had you given much thought to breastfeeding before/while you were pregnant?
With the eldest, I was like a rabbit caught in headlights when I found out I was pregnant. My daughter was planned but I knew nothing about babies, raising kids or anything like that so I read every book and pamphlet I could get my hands on. All the literature pointed to the “breast is best” way of thinking and when C was born, breastfeeding was definitely what I wanted to do.
With my youngest, I was prepared with the knowledge that breastfeeding isn’t always easy, but I was wanting to give it another bash anyway. However I bought bottles and a steriliser before the due date this time around 😉
What was your opinion of bottle feeding?
I was totally cool with bottle feeding…some mums’ boob, some mums’ bottle and some do both! I suppose I wasn’t expecting to be bottle feeding as soon as I did, but it’s all good!
Were you offered any classes on breastfeeding by your healthcare team/midwives? Did you take any classes of your own ie. NCT?
First baby (2006): no. There was a 4 week course including a hospital visit, healthy eating, birth positions and things like that but it didn’t include any breastfeeding advice or information.
Second baby (2015): no. As it wasn’t my first baby and I was a relatively older mother, I wasn’t offered any classes. Having said that, I think that I would have known where to look for more help and support, should I have needed it, with regards to breastfeeding classes. The internet has moved on quite a bit from 2006 for a start! However, not all mothers have internet access, local knowledge or even English as a first language – it’s women such as these who I hope are supported the most.
What support did you receive to start and continue breastfeeding? What support would you have liked?
First baby: I was helped in the hospital, and everything seemed to be going fine there, as it was during the two midwife home visits. I don’t think there was any support available for mothers who were struggling to feed though. Would I have taken it if there was? Probably not, my mind was made up that I wanted to change to bottle regardless.
Second baby: things had definitely changed in the area I was living in the 9 years between my babies. The midwife was able to visit every day until I was confident with the breast feeding. I was also given a local telephone number where I could ring for any advice. I thought this was wonderful, even though I chose to switch to bottle…I didn’t feel it was due to lack of support that I changed my mind.
Did you have a personal breastfeeding goal?
With my first baby, I assumed all would be well, I’d breastfeed until my daughter was around 6 months old where she would magically start preferring breast milk from a bottle, and then progress on to cows milk as a toddler.
With my son, I just wanted to beat the 10 days I managed with my first baby. That didn’t quite work out!
What triggered your move to bottle feeding? Would you consider it a choice or a necessity?
With both babies, it was exactly the same situation. They were hungry, very hungry and I was totally wiped out tired. My nipples felt like they had been attacked by dragons, I tried every position, for hours at a time. I knew, for my own sanity, that I wanted to move to bottle feeding.
Choice or necessity? It was definitely a choice but it was driven by something very close to necessity. My baby wasn’t happy and neither was I.
bottle feeding stories
How did moving to bottle feeding make you feel?
I did feel like I was letting my babies down. I was a bit emotional, but then what new mother isn’t? After the initial hurt and disappointment though, and seeing my children content and my partner being able to help with feeding, I knew I had made the right choice for my family.
Did you experience any backlash for bottle feeding?
I didn’t, no. Everybody around me including my partner were extremely supportive of me changing to bottle feeding. This included the GP and health visitor too – these people want the best for mother and baby and for them to be healthy and happy.
Do you have any advice for other new mums in your situation?
Read, read, read whilst awaiting your baby’s arrival. Read the pros and cons of bottle and breast. Read what can go right and what can go wrong. Read different books, blogs, forums and magazines of different standpoints and opinions. And talk to other parents too. Knowledge gives you the power to make your own decisions.
Find out from your midwife exactly what support is available both before and after the birth – helplines, classes and groups. Do some research yourself, ask at your GP surgery and local children’s centres if they run any support groups. Look online too. Gathering the information before baby comes is very useful.
Be aware that the way you feed your own baby can often cause ill-informed judgement from strangers. Ignore them and do what is right for you and your baby, be it breast, bottle or both.
Huge thanks to Em for sharing her stories here! You can find out more about Em and follow her here:
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org