The controversy surrounding how you feed your baby is at an all time high and many mothers are feeling pressured to breastfeed even though they don’t want to..
I’m a pro choice, I think it’s up to the individual how they choose to feed their child, it actually bothers me how mothers are judged for their decision, if you choose to breastfeed, great, if you choose to formula feed, great!
You do what you want to do and ignore those people who judge!
It’s funny really, some people are so pro breastfeeding, that is until you do it in public then suddenly it’s offensive? Figure that one out…or you’re judged if you do it after the age of 1, “shouldn’t you stop now…”
Then those same people see a mother feeding her newborn baby with a bottle and assume its formula..maybe mum expressed, or maybe she did decide to use formula, but its unfair to judge.
It could even be that she tried to breastfeed, she might have had problems, milk didn’t come in fast enough, poor production etc..
I have 2 lovely ladies here to tell their stories of their journey with breastfeeding..please read them all the way through, they’ve put their heart & soul into them 🙂
Thursdays post will be 2 lovely ladies who formula fed their little ones 🙂
Louise & William
After suffering the immense sadness of 2 miscarriages, when I finally found out I was going to have a healthy baby I thought I wouldn’t care if I had a normal deliver or c-section and if I couldn’t breastfeed it wouldn’t matter.
All I wanted was my baby in my arms safe & sound. I went into labour 10 days early, my waters breaking at home at 6.50 am. By the evening I was in the local community hospital birthing unit, having a very calm water birth, until my baby got stuck.
After a speedy ambulance journey to the RUH, I was taken straight to theatre where my beautiful baby boy (a surprise) was delivered onto my tummy at 8am in the morning, by forceps…boy did he cry 🙂
After resting in recovery with my baby boy nuzzling into me I was put into a ward. And here my journey of breastfeeding began.
The first couple of days were a blur to be honest. I thought I was doing okay whilst in hospital. The midwives would pop over to see me every now and then, have a look, say he was latched on just fine & off they’d go.
Looking back I was surprised that no one actually spent any time with me to show me how to breastfeed, I was left to get on with it. Then I came home…
On day 3 the midwife that came to our house weighed William and he’d lost 11% of his birth weight – which was too much. By this time my nipples were cracked, bleeding and scabby & even though the pain of him latching was would make me cry with pain, I was persevering.
The midwives showed me how to hand express and collect the milk in a syringe. I couldn’t even get my head round that as so little milk was coming out.
William was also very jaundiced so not getting enough fluid was making this problem worse. We were asked to go to the community hospital where William had bloods taken, by the early evening the RUH called us to say William had lost too much weight plus his high jaundice levels meant we had to go to the hospital to make him better.
Here I was given a hospital grade pump which I had to use every 3 hrs. William needed 50ml of milk every 3 hrs.
To begin with I could only express 10ml, so we had to ‘top him up’ with formula. After 24 hrs of expressing, I was getting 30ml which meant I could reduce the formula amount. William had put on weight, had a big poo & his jaundice levels were safe again.
The relief was amazing & back home we went.
I still had so many problems with feeding. The pain was almost unbearable. I don’t know what made me carry on as switching to formula would have solved all my problems, but I really wanted to breastfeed this little baby of mine – I don’t know where this determination came from, all I knew is that this is what I wanted to do.
I researched what help I could get in the local area with the help of the internet, the HV team and the NCT.
I found we had a La Leche League group, so I contacted the leader who said to go along to the next meeting. William was 2 ½ weeks now and was taking over an hour to feed. The leader at the La Leche meeting was amazing and spent time with me showing me how to position William and watching him latch on etc. This helped and we improved slightly.
The NCT breastfeeding consultant got in contact and one evening in our 3rd week, she came over and spent a couple of hours with us. When William was awake and ready to feed, she carefully picked him up and laid him diagonally across my tummy, he latched on perfectly – with NO pain – something so simple & natural – and things just got better & better from here.
I was also expressing a lot during these weeks, so I knew William was getting a good drink of milk at bedtime. This however had its drawbacks as it caused me to produce too much milk which in turn caused an over active letdown causing William to almost choke when he fed and made his reflux worse.
My midwife called one evening to see how we were getting on, I was telling her all my problems and she said to pop in and see if he had a tongue tie – which he did & it had gone unnoticed when he was first checked at 3 days old. This was snipped when he was 8 weeks…. This also improved his feeding.
We also started going to the Health visitor breast feeding group, which I love. I have made some great friends there – it’s great to know you aren’t the only one having problems. I still go every week for a chat but also I still have questions.
I have had so much help and been through so much I was invited to do Peer Support training through the HV team. I have just started the course. I had so much support in the beginning – and still do – I felt I really wanted to give something back and help any one that I can.
I think it took us till William was about 12 – 13 weeks old before we really got to grips with breastfeeding. But we persevered and we conquered it J William is now just over 8 months old and even though he is on 3 solid meals a day, I still breastfeed about 6 or 7 times through the day and night & I love it.
He now feeds so quickly he works up a sweat – gone are the days of sitting on the sofa for hours on end feeding – it’s a quick feed and off he crawls to play with one of his many toys. I’m back to work soon so have just bought myself a lovely new manual pump so I can express at work to keep my milk supply up & it means he can still have my milk when he is in kindergarten.
I’m in no rush to end this amazing and special bond between me and my wee son and will continue to breastfeed for many months to come. I feel it’s such a privilege to be able to do this and to provide my baby with something I have made especially for him.
So that is my journey 🙂
Amy & John
When I was a baby, my mother chose to formula feed me and my sisters. That was the norm then, so where my choice to put so much pressure on myself to breastfeed came from, I’ll never know.
Right from when I was pregnant I decided I’d breastfeed. I’d love to say it was to give my son, John, the best start in life but in reality, my reasons were purely selfish – it was free and it was ‘easy’ – what more reason did I need? And with the world telling me it was the “most natural thing a mother can do” I assumed it’d be ‘easy’. Oh how naive I was.
John was a natural – right from the minute he was born he started rooting about, looking for his breakfast. Me however? I was clueless. I assumed a baby would know what to do with very little guidance from me – not the case unfortunately!
We ended up spending two days in hospital post-birth purely as we were struggling to establish breastfeeding. And things were no easier when we got home, ending up back in hospital during our first night home at 4am with a screaming baby and a hugely engorged me.
Things didn’t improve quickly either. For 8 weeks I suffered in agony with cracked nipples (which bled and became infected), engorgement & oversupply issues, as well as a bout of suspected nipple thrush.
Each night we questioned whether going to the 24/7 supermarket for a tin of formula was for the best but each night I wrestled with myself and decided we would succeed in breastfeeding.
For some reason I’d developed tunnel vision and didn’t allow myself to see any other option – whether it was the thought of “we’ve already come this far” or a case of not wanting people (read:myself) to think I had failed. Not to mention my research into what was actually in formula milk putting me off the idea of ever giving it to a tiny baby.
Thankfully by 2 months, the pressure I’d put on myself started to pay off. Things had finally started to improve. No longer did it feel like I was being stabbed in the boob every time John latched on & we could make it through an entire feed without my toes curling in pain and eventually being brought to tears.
And despite a couple of bad days from time to time, things continue to improve.
By six months it seemed like everyone around us was finishing up on their breastfeeding journey but I felt like we’d only just got the hang of things. I vowed to continue for as long as breastfeeding worked for us. 18 months on and it’s still working for us, even with baby number 2 now on the way.
Extended breastfeeding does have its ups & downs and I’m sure tandem breastfeeding will present its own challenges but as long as breastfeeding works for us, I’ll continue to provide my boobs for my babies!
What was your journey like?