My bottle-fed baby

When I reached my 1st trimester of pregnancy, I always just assumed that I would be a breastfeeding mother. I believed that my maternal instincts would be all-powerful and I would lactate at any cry I heard from a newborn baby. Boy was I wrong!

As I’ve discussed in a previous article, breast may well be best, but it many, many cases, it isn’t actually possible. In my case, my son had a tongue tie that wasn’t detected, I wasn’t producing enough milk, my breasts became augmented and, seriously, I could go on but I’ll spare you the details.

Having spoken to hundreds of other mothers over the last two and a half years, you’d be surprised at just how common this occurrence is.

My point is that at no stage during my pregnancy, or during the support visits afterwards, was I EVER given advice on bottle feeding. It is a huge, socio-political black hole in the NHS which needs to be addressed immediately.

You see, the NHS believe that milk-substitute formula is forged in the fiery pits of Hell by evil corporate organisations that are conspiring to eradicate breasts from the earth.

So without any, and I mean any, bottle-feeding advice, my partner and I were totally lost. Once we had decided that our starving baby probably disagreed with the NHS, we set off to find an alternative in the local supermarket.

Now, there were ready made cartons, powder form milk, stay down, extra hungry, first infant, added vitamin supplements, follow-on milk, thickened milk for reflux babies, anti-colic bottles and then the hundreds of different brands offering the ‘second best to breast milk’.

We picked the formula which had the happiest-looking baby on the front (it being our only gauge) and slowly introduced this via an easy-open carton (at first), and then in powder form.

We hit plenty of snags, (largely due to my son’s reflux meaning he struggled to keep anything down). In the end, we got the right brand/bottle and type of formula to suit our son, and he has grown up happy and healthy.

Iphone back up 230313 683

Offering advice and guidance on both breast and bottle feeding would not sway a new mums’ decision, it would just help reduce anxiety and stress levels in the precious early weeks of parenthood.image

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8 thoughts on “My bottle-fed baby

  1. I’m sorry that you didn’t have the experience you expected, (our dedicated breastfeeding team are amazing, but sadly only a few places have them) I am a breastfeeding practitioner and I can confirm that the new unicef guidelines state that we MUST now discuss both methods of feeding with every expectant mum, regardless of their feeding intention xxx

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    • I know. I definitely don’t want to tar everyone with the same brush as lots of my friends have received great breast-feeding support, it was just in my experience i’m afraid. It is great to hear that new unicef guidelines have been issued to ensure both methods are discussed. I hope this will help to reduce the stress and anxiety that new Mums’ may feel when deciding their feeding intention. xx

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  2. I totally agree. I breastfed both of mine, but the experience with the first wasn’t easy. Long story short, I struggled for 6 weeks before discovering – through a friend, rather than my own health visitor – an NHS breastfeeding counsellor who immediately figured out the problem and turned it around for us. However, I had persisted with breastfeeding for a miserable 6-weeks up to that point, feeling upset and stressed, but not wanting to give up because of the feeling that I would have ‘failed’. Breastfeeding can be amazing and wonderful and has fabulous health benefits for both mother and baby, but it’s not always possible for a variety of reasons, and I am pleased to read the above comment that times have changed. At the end of the day, if your child is healthy and loved, that’s the most important thing.

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    • I do wish it could have been a beautiful bonding experience for both me and my son but it was, as you have also stated, a very stressful and painful time for us too. I also found most of my help and support from friends, and to be quite honest, Twitter Mum’s. My HA was useless (I am not saying they are all the same, this was just my experience). I just wish there was more information available on bottle-feeding/formula. I totally agree, the important thing is that both you and baby are happy and healthy. x

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    • I have just been catching up on some comments from this post and as another Mum quite rightly stated, we shouldn’t feel guilty. If breastfeeding isn’t an option and you opt for formula, this isn’t a crime. As long as our baby is happy and healthy then that’s all that matters. xx

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  3. oh dear, you should NEVER feel guilty for having to bottle feed. It isn’t “2nd best”. It’s no better or no worse. My first child was prem and didn’t have the ability to suck, no matter how much expressing I did, I only ever managed to squeeze out a tiny bit. I tried with my 2nd but after two nights of cluster feeding and screaming because I just couldn’t produce enough milk we settled on bottles. It meant Daddy could feed and Mummy could recouperate from her emegency c-section and get some sleep. It turns out both mine had reflux and the 2nd was allergic to the protein in milk so whether it was from me or a tin, she was going to have a reaction and needed prescription stuff. Both mine are now 9 & 5. Happy healthy and no worse off for being on the bottle!

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    • Oh dear, sounds like you had a tough time at the beginning! Needing an emergency c-section to deliver your little one must have been scary so the last thing you needed was a stressful time with breastfeeding. You are totally right, least with a bottle feed, Daddy could help to allow you to rest. You are quite right, I should never feel guilt or regret, my son is happy and healthy too so we are very lucky. Thank you x

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