I’m Katy, a 29 year old Mum of one from Essex. My daughter Daisy has just turned one and I blog over at Katykicker (www.katykicker.com). I started bottle feeding when my daughter was around 2 weeks and I was initially expressing breast milk. My ideal feeding plan for my daughter was to combination feed until around six months.
Had you given much thought to how you’d feed your baby before/while you were pregnant?
Yes. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. I was confident that I would be able to achieve this and I bought a Medela swing pump before my daughter was born.
What was your opinion of bottle feeding?
I feel that bottle feeding is great to allow other people to bond with a baby and to give Mums a break if they are breast feeding.
Were you offered any classes on breastfeeding by your healthcare team/midwives? Did you take any classes of your own ie. NCT?
No and no. I read a few books and I watched a few YouTube videos beforehand to help me prepare. I didn’t want to pile the pressure on myself, particularly at the end of my pregnancy when I knew I would be having a caesarean section.
What support did you receive to start and continue breastfeeding? What support would you have liked?
I received support in the hospital, from a midwife. During the first night a midwife came by regularly to help ensure that my daughter was latching. Also, when I finished in the operating theatre I was helped to latch my daughter on for the first time. Both of these members of staff made it feel quite businesslike and weren’t really very excited that I was feeding my daughter for the first time. However, I didn’t let this deter me and I was amazed that I was able to breastfeed right after my caesarean section. My personal midwife, who visited me daily at home after the birth, was very supportive. She observed me breastfeeding and helped to ensure that we have a perfect latch from the beginning.
Did you have a personal breastfeeding goal?
I wanted to make it to one week initially, and then six weeks. I achieved both of these goals before I had to stop breast feeding.
What triggered your move to bottle feeding? Would you consider it a choice or a necessity?
My daughter was diagnosed with cows milk protein allergy. By the time I was taken seriously that her vomiting was not normal she was already admitted to hospital with severe dehydration. At this time I was told to move her to a amino acid based hydrolysed formula. At no point did anybody inform me that I could eliminate dairy and soya from my diet and quickly have milk that was suitable for my daughter again. As I was worried about my dangerously ill baby I made the switch without really thinking about it too much. For us it was a necessity as our daughter was losing weight and seriously ill in hospital.
How did moving to bottle feeding make you feel?
I felt upset that I would not be able to breastfeed anymore. I wasn’t worried about what anybody else would think, or the cost implications, I was just going to miss that particular part of the bonding process with my daughter. However, as my daughter was so poorly I just wanted her to have relief from the constant vomiting and this was how we would be able to achieve it.
Did you experience any backlash for bottle feeding?
No. People in my family, and friendship circle, were pleased to be able to help with feedings more.
Do you have any advice for other new mums in your situation?
If you have been told to move to formula for allergy based reasons I would say be aware that you don’t have to. You can follow an elimination diet which will allow you to produce suitable milk for your child once more. However, if you want to move to bottle-feeding to allow others to help, to have a break, because breast-feeding is difficult for you, or anything else, then do what works for you. Try not to listen to the thoughts and ideas of anyone else. You know your own body and your own baby and you will make the right choice for yourself.
If you have #bottlefeedingstories you’d like to share, please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org