Breastfed from birth to 4 weeks old.
Bottlefed from 4 weeks to 11 months old.
I never wanted to breastfeed. I was adamant throughout my pregnancy that I didn’t want to. I had watched my aunt struggle for almost 3 years to wean my younger cousin off of the breast and battling depression along the way… it had put me off big time! So it surprised even myself that I decided to at least try to breastfeed in the end. It seemed the natural thing to do.
It started off well, Harrison latched well when just a couple hours old and was quite happy sucking away. I loved that closeness of the skin to skin contact. After a few about 4 days my milk came in, and that was when it started getting difficult.
At first it was just sore nipples and achey boobs. The midwife gave my some lanisoh and told me just to keep going. I persevered for a couple more weeks, but was finding it more and more painful, and also Harrison wasn’t gaining as much weight as the midwife would have liked. I started putting pressure on myself about the slow weight gain and started stressing before, during and after each feed. Had he drank enough? Would he have gained enough weight by his next weigh in? And also, the thought of letting him latch onto my ever increasingly painful boobs was enough to reduce me to tears. Each time I asked for support I was told that it was normal and just to keep trying. By the end of the 4th week (just before I switched to formula), I had stopped enjoying being a mum. I was exhausted, I was in constant pain and I was stressed. I tried one last time to talk to someone about how to make it better. The health visitor I spoke to just said the exact same thing, “It’s normal to feel some discomfort. Just keep going. You’ll regret it if you stop.” A couple days later I just couldn’t take it any more. We went out and bought all the bottle feeding equipment and a box of formula.
Within a week or two Harrison had shot onto the 50th centile line. He was now effectively gaining weight! Also, my milk only took about 3 or 4 days to dry up, leading me to believe I had a low supply.
I think I would have fed longer if I had had proper support. Nobody seemed willing to listen to me when I was trying to tell them how much pain I was in, and I was also led to believe Harrison wasn’t thriving enough. I now know through research that some breastfed babies don’t always gain as quickly as bottle fed babies. I have also discovered a local breastfeeding support group, so despite my previous bad experience, I’m willing to try again. I figure that even if I don’t continue to do breastfeeding long term, then at least I have given my baby a little bit of a head start.