Breastfeeding or bottle feeding: It’s an ongoing debate it seems between parents, who is better for whichever choice they make. Both advocates feel pressured, judged and are still faced with feeding their newborn through the sleepless nights. Personally, I don’t really care how another person wants to feed their baby. I know the facts about breast milk and I know that formula is there as a substitute. I know my decision isn’t really anyone else’s business and likewise, it doesn’t affect me how you choose to feed your baby. Do whatever is best for your family, your situation and your circumstance.
I wanted to breastfeed but struggled.
For me, I wanted to breastfeed with Evie so badly. I remember speaking to a midwife in hospital one day about it whilst I was being monitored for, I think, the baby having a raised heartbeat and my high blood pressure (after having a cervical sweep, I might add) and she responded with ‘It doesn’t matter to me how you feed your baby, you just do what works for you.’ Part of me thought shouldn’t she be championing breastfeeding as the best way, whilst another of me felt quietly relieved. I was so worried and worked up about breastfeeding not working for me that I remember being reassured that I could always have a few bottles of those ready made formula to hand just in case I was finding it tough. Looking back now, despite saying I wanted to breastfeed that wasn’t really the right advice for me.
As it turned out I fed for two weeks exclusively, crying through growth spurts and struggling with my c-section wound, a new baby and my family being so far away. It was a really emotional time, I felt completely alone and, whilst my health visitor was actually really nice and reassuring, there were some healthcare professionals that weren’t as helpful. The trouble with my breastfeeding journey is that Evie wasn’t really putting on weight. She has having lots of wet and dirty nappies. She was hitting regular milestones and she was feeding very regularly. From two weeks on we added a couple of bottles of formula in to boost her weight gain but she was still mostly breastfeed and this continued until she was about 10 weeks old. It was then I saw a different health care provider, a nursery nurse in place of the health visitor who made me feel like I was the worst mother in the world. She made me feel inadequate and useless. She made me feel like I was consciously trying to starve my baby. She told me my breast milk wasn’t good enough and that I needed to switch to formula. Over the next few weeks I was decreasing my feeds and increasing formula feeds so that by Christmas Evie had moved on exclusively to formula milk.
So now I’m faced with making that choice again with this baby however I have a lot more in my corner to help me with my decisions. Firstly, I know that I can breastfeed. I know that my body does work the way it’s supposed to because I’ve done it before. With that knowledge I know I can try breastfeeding again with so much more faith in myself. Secondly, I am a little older and a little wiser and I hope this time around I’ll be so much more confident in my decision. I have a supportive partner and I’m closer to more family who I know will back up my decision as well as being there on the tougher days. I know if I get told something like that again, feel like I’m failing, I have so many more people to reassure me. I am also confident in my decision to not exclusively breastfeed and I fully intend to express breast milk too. I feel that by expressing breast milk I will give Adam the chance for a few feeds, it will give me a little bit of rest and it will be the best milk choice for my baby. I would love to breastfeed up through to the first year, but six months is my goal.
Despite all this knowledge and wants for the baby I still have some fears when it comes to breastfeeding. I am not confident to be able to feed in public. It really doesn’t matter whether places ‘allow’ me to do it. I honestly feel the only place I will feel comfortable feeding is in my own home. This of course puts a lot of restrictions in place doesn’t it as it’s going to stop me going out and about for long periods of time. Having massive boobs kind of means any form of discreet feeding is out the window, especially as before I was only ever able to feed in a rugby ball hold position with around eight pillows stacked up around me. I’m not exactly going to be carrying a surplus of pillows around with me, especially in those early weeks, so this again leads me to believing that expressing milk is going to be a really good move for us as a family.
How will breastfeeding work for us as a family?
Through doing some research I am going to try an electronic breast pump. I had a manual one with Evie and it was rubbish. I really struggled to express with it so I’m hoping that an electronic one will do a much better job. I can’t imagine it’s going to be a comfortable or happy experience for anyone but if it means I can still continue to give my baby breast milk for as long as possible then I am all for trying. The Lansinoh single electronic breast pump is going to be getting quite a bit of action in our home when this baby is here. I’ve never used an electronic one before and it does all sound a little technical. I imagine it will take some practise. I know that you shouldn’t really express until breastfeeding is established and your milk has come through properly but I want to make sure my supply is enough to have those extra feeds ready to the point we have a bit of a surplus in the freezer. The Lansinoh single electronic breast pump is BPA and BPS free with a silicone breast cushion. It features 2-phase technology with a ‘let-down’ and ‘expression’ mode allowing for your comfort. There are six adjustable suction settings to make sure you’re getting the right suction from the pump too. The pump can be plugged into the mains or it can take 6 AA batteries when you’re out of the home. The bottle comes with a suitable sealing disc and teat so that you can pump, store and feed at your convenience.
However you choose to feed your baby just know that there are plenty of options for you and your family. I’m so happy that expressing is an option that’s available to us and one I fully intend to use to my benefit. This way I know anyone can safely feed my baby at any time with milk that is specifically designed for them. Now we just have to hope this little one will take to a bottle!
What did you decide with your children? Can you offer any advice or tips?
Disclaimer: I was sent the Lansinoh single electronic breast pump for the purpose of this feature and to talk openly about my desire to express breast milk. This may not be your decision but I hope you can appreciate that it is mine and one I’m happy with.