Mrs Mummy Harris is a blog that I started when Ben was about four months old. I was in the throws of PostNatal Depression and needed an outlet and a way to see that my experiences were the same as others for reassurance. I highlight the highs and the lows, it is a warts and all account of my life as a parent, a wife and a working mum.
I started bottle feeding Ben at about three months old but started combination feeding at around two. I had initially planned to boob feed until I returned to work and then express for a while after, however with Ben starting life off in NICU, I feel that might have been the reason my plan didn’t pan out.
Had you given much thought to breastfeeding before/while you were pregnant?
I actually had a lot of anxiety about breastfeeding outside of the house. Especially when it came to feeding around relatives. I didn’t like the idea of whopping my boobs out as logistically I couldn’t think of a way to do it without everyone seeing my whole breast. I knew I wanted to do it but I didn’t like the idea of everyone seeing my boobs but i didn’t want to hide in the loo as I wouldn’t want to eat my dinner there so why should my child?
What was your opinion of Bottle Feeding?
I was all for it. I was aware that some people didn’t get on with boobfeeding or just didn’t want to do it for one reason or another and I think formula has come on a lot since when I was a baby and the only difference between the two is that the baby doesn’t get natural antibodies passed through from mum. Nutrient wise – they’re both the same.
Were you offered any classes on breastfeeding by your healthcare team/midwives? Did you take any classes of your own ie. NCT?
In the ONE antenatal class I was provided with by the NHS (no more free ones – £75 a pop I might add) they refused to discuss bottles which i was annoyed with as I was worried I’d have difficulties boob feeding and wanted to know about bottles as an alternative so I didn’t starve my child. Once Ben was born I was advised about boob feeding support classes but I felt insecure about going. I’d just lost the first week of my babies life due to his NICU stay, I didn’t want to waste time with people telling me how wonderful I was doing when clearly Ben wasn’t liking boobfeeding without a shield.
What support did you receive to start and continue breastfeeding? What support would you have liked?
My HV was ok, but I felt like I was forced to continue boob feeding. I remember at one point when I admitted to combining the feeds I was told to take this and that to encourage milk flow, but I told them I’m not going to let him starve and if I need to top up with formula than so be it. They didn’t approach the subject again. I think when you’ve had a rough labour and you’re expressing and boob feeding and running a household; you don’t get time to rest to increase milk supply and with a hungry baby and a lack of sleep it is no wonder it started to dry up!
Did you have a personal breastfeeding goal?
I wanted to last at least six months – then I felt like anymore would be a bonus!
What triggered your move to bottle feeding? Would you consider it a choice or a necessity?
Well I developed Mastitis so I was advised to pump to help it, and with bumping I didn’t want to waste my milk so started feeding Ben via bottles and the freedom I felt made me realise that boob wasnt really for me.
How did moving to bottle feeding make you feel?
I felt so guilty to start with! I really wanted to breast feed and I think NHS and the media really seem to force it on mums. Hubby was really supportive and told me that he would be with me whatever I chose and we’ve never looked back! One thing I was so worried about was the bond me and Ben had when he looked up at me and held my hand or club to my top but bottle feeding didn’t change this at all!!
Did you experience any backlash for bottle feeding?
Not at all. My MIL actually wanted me to bottlefeed from the get go and told me how more relaxed I looked once I stopped the boob feeding. She was right! I had more me time and I could sleep as Hubby started helping with the night feeds. It is amazing what a little but of extra sleep can do for someone!
Do you have any advice for other new mums in your situation?
Do what is best for you. A happy mum means a happy baby. Do not feel pressured or feel guilty for bottle feeding. At the end of the day your child will not begrudge you for feeding them milk from a bottle or from a breast. If it gives you more sleep or more you time by bottle feeding so be it. If you want to continue boobfeeding – go right ahead. Do not let others influence what is an important decision for not only your baby but for YOU!
Another great story, and a huge thank you to Lianne at Mrs Mummy Harris for taking the time to share it with me!!
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