Welcome back to #bottlefeedingstories. This week we have the ever so lovely Amy from The Mighty Duxburys
I’m Amy. I blog over at The Mighty Duxburys and live in a little village with my husband Wes and my little one, Short Rib. Before he was born, the ideal scenario would be that he would be breastfed whilst I remained on maternity for eight weeks and after that, I’d express for when I was at work and then breastfeed at home for maybe another four or five months. In reality, I wound up combination feeding right from the off, because my boy was a “sleepy feeder” and wasn’t really interested in my boobs. He just wanted to nap. He continued to show complete apathy towards my chest, so I tried to express instead but after three or four excruciating weeks and very achy boobs, I packed it in and he’s been solely bottle fed ever since.
Had you given much thought to breastfeeding before/while you were pregnant?
A lot. I was essentially interrogated about it from my very first antenatal appointment. In a nice way, but I was constantly told that breastfeeding was best for every baby and that I should definitely do it. Literature on tables, posters on the walls of waiting rooms. Everywhere, it was the same message and I was happy to follow it. I also knew that my maternity leave was not going to be a long one though, so I had to have a plan for the best of both worlds. I felt that expressing milk was going to be best for everyone.
What was your opinion of bottle feeding?
I had absolutely no problem with it whatsoever – it was part of the plan! What else was the expressed milk going to go into? I had planned to go to formula feeding after six months, when Short Rib had started weaning, so I clearly had no issues with that either. I still don’t. There are so many reasons why I like it. I means that Wes (and anyone else) could get involved with the feeds and even do the occasional night shift, it was easy to be organised and I knew no matter where he was, he would be able to get everything he needed. There are a lot of advantages to bottle feeding, for sure.
Were you offered any classes on breastfeeding by your healthcare team/midwives? Did you take any classes of your own ie. NCT?
The health visitor and midwife talked about it a lot – no classes as such, but they did offer a lot of support. I didn’t really feel the need to have classes before he was born, I mean we were naturally put on this earth to breastfeed – how hard could it realistically be?
What support did you receive to start and continue breastfeeding? What support would you have liked?
In the hospital, it was clear that my baby wasn’t having anything to do with my chest. He would rather just sleep. When he was hungry, he got so wound up that he wasn’t getting anything that he wouldn’t even bother. I asked for help because of his refusal to latch on. At the hospital, I had a couple of midwives rag my boobs around (which was genuinely awful) trying to get him to stay on, but no joy. Some breastfeeding support lady came over to my house, but even she couldn’t get him to stay on. When she failed, she just left, telling me to “keep trying, he’ll get it”. After that, I gave up. In their own way, I think they were all trying to help but in reality they all just made me feel like a massive failure.
Did you have a personal breastfeeding goal?
No. I mean, other than “feed my child”. What kind of goal is there? I don’t understand this milestone thing about breastfeeding them when they get to two and three or whatever. I mean, as long as your child is getting all of the nutrients they need, that should be enough for anyone.
What triggered your move to bottle feeding? Would you consider it a choice or a necessity?
My child not starving to death. Me not worrying about whether he was actually getting any food. My husband getting to bond with my son. So many reasons, but all basically a necessity.
How did moving to bottle feeding make you feel?
Relieved. He thrived immediately when I stopped trying to force it. It was like a weight had been lifted in a lot of ways. Away from the judgmental eyes of the health professionals trying to suss out why “I wasn’t getting it”. I understood it completely – my son just didn’t want to comply. It turns out, this is because he was quite greedy – my boobs would never satisfy him.
Did you experience any backlash for bottle feeding?
Not from anyone other than myself. In the first instance, every time I would try to get Short Rib to latch on to me and ultimately fail and reach for a bottle I felt utterly useless. Every time I would try and express milk, wincing at how uncomfortable the whole thing was, I just sank into despair. I was worried I was failing my child. It was only when I ditched breastfeeding altogether that I started to feel a lot better about it. In terms of backlash from anyone else, nobody has said anything – negative or positive – about bottle feeding. I think the Internet is the only place where people actually voice their feelings on the subject, because nobody I met in person had anything bad to say.
Do you have any advice for other new mums in your situation?
You are not alone and you are not a failure. There is so much pressure on new mums for all sorts of reasons, so it’s easy to feel a little bullied into making decisions. Just know that sometimes, your expectations are not the same as the reality, but that isn’t failure. It’s a change of plan. Trust your instincts – because you ultimately know best. There is absolutely no shame in feeding your child, however you choose to do it.
A massive thank you to Amy for sharing her story with me. Please go and check out her blog and her links below 🙂
Have you got a story you’d like to share? Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org