Bottling it

I tried breastfeeding I really tried. It wasn’t a pleasant experience and it didn’t release any happy hormones in me. My beautiful boobs were made for men – but not this one. So a few days after birth, once my son had the creamy goodness of colostrum, I changed my plan. Boo would be combination fed.

You see naïvely I hadn’t realised that if you wanted to breastfeed you would have to commit to it like a drug user to heroin. Every few hours, relentless, so baby can get his fix. This wasn’t ever going to be for me, but good on any woman that has the endurance.

Then I experienced the sort of pressure women talk about. The ‘just persevere’ line, the ‘breast is best’ comment and so forth. Now, I’m strong woman and aint no one going to make me feel bad or guilty. In fact I felt proud of what I had achieved especially as I had expressed for a good month. Being a strong woman, people are scared to challenge me, and I got on with it my way. But seeing some of the girls I know, who don’t have my confidence, being coerced into something they found challenging was hard to see.

The other thing that struck me is the lack of information available for women who want to combine or bottle feed from day one. It’s as if it doesn’t happen, so no one writes about it. My health visitor told me I’d have to express eight times a day to be able to express so early on. I ignored them, and you know what – I managed twice a day to get about 200ml. My baby had breast milk this way and no other for his early life, and I was very proud of it. I was also very proud that my husband could feel him using the bottle, which he mostly had.

Good on anyone who can breastfeed, whether that’s exclusively or a little, but it was not for me and I feel no shame or guilt saying that. Noone knows my body better than me, and I’ll continue to listen to myself.

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  • Louise

    I never felt any pressure to breast feed. I wanted to give it a go, if it worked and we both took to it then great, if not, bottles it was. After the birth I tried feeding, not very successfully, and then was whipped away to theatre and of course while there baby needing feeding and he had formula. I felt a bit cheated that it wasn’t me to give him his first full feed. We carried on with breast though and although the first few days were pretty awful, that glorious day when your milk comes in arrived and we were all a bit happier. Now out and about I had real trouble feeding, you see Harry is a side feeder which doesn’t allow the best modesty. I’ve been topless on beaches, had the pups out on nights out etc, yet trying to feed my baby in public was terrifying, and I felt so judged for doing so. Now I don’t want to see women with their boobs out all the time especially when they’re not discreet but I do love the ‘brelfies’, I think they’re beautiful and the more they’re out in public the safer I feel. My breast feeding journey didn’t last too long as I fell pregnant with our second when Harry was 3 months old. I managed to get to 6 months with mostly just boob.

    I feel like this whole new ‘bressure’ term is making those who can breast feed actually feel a bit guilty.

    If you can breast feed that is wonderful. Give support to those who want it, not preach to those who can’t or just don’t want to. Don’t be smug and all Mother Earth about it either!

    If you choose not to breast feed then that’s fine too, but don’t slate everyone else who does and make out it’s unnatural or wrong. If you can’t and need support go online and find a support group with an infant feeding specialist. Midwives and health visitors are not experts in breast feeding.

    At the end of it all just feed your baby 🙂