New Day, New Page

After the resounding success that was birth stories, a very good friend has asked if I would feature stories about feeding after birth. Not just breastfeeding, but bottle and combi as well. Everyone who has followed my blog already knows that I’m a 100% supporter of breastfeeding, but that I chose not to and Sophie is a formula baby.

However, my best friend had such a tough time with breastfeeding after birth and a severe lack of support, despite all the ‘breast is best’ propaganda. It seems the general consensus is to tell mothers what to do, but not teach them how or support when things get difficult, which just isn’t right. Midwives should not only be a support, but they should be patient and understand that breastfeeding, though the most natural thing in the whole world, is not easy and not automatic for some mothers.

So feeding stories has been launched! I want to hear from mothers everywhere about their feeding journeys regardless of method. Women need to hear the good and bad and know that while they’re cluster feeding at 2am, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that they are NOT failures because they cannot produce more than a few oz of breast milk at a time and that they are doing a fantastic job, whatever method they choose!

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The Great Debate

And no, I’m not talking politics. I’m talking BOOBYMILK and FORMULA. There is always a huge argument about whether breast is really best or is formula the best. Every mother has breastfeeding advice given to them by hospitals now and sometimes formula feeding is put second by midwives. I am not talking about every midwife or every hospital, this is just a generalisation. 

Sophie being formula fed

This wikipedia page has all the info you will ever require about breastfeeding, and this wikipedia page is all about formula feeding. Do you see the significant difference in the amount of information about breastfeeding and the benefits and the lack of the benefits of formula feeding? Now, there are so many benefits of both boobymilk and formula milk, and my opinion is what is expressed in this blog. *Disclaimer* – MY OPINION IS NOT LAW, IT WORKS FOR ME AND FOR MY DAUGHTER AND DOESN’T HAVE TO GET UP YOUR NOSE. Moving on…

I admire every woman out there who has the guts to breastfeed. However, it just wasn’t for me and yes it was for a very selfish reason. Are you ready for it? No, really, are you ready??

I did not WANT to.

Ooo let’s all give that a moment to sink in. Has it done so? Good. Now, let’s take a moment to judge me as a terrible mother who blah blah blah blah… Zzzz… oops sorry were you busy judging me? I took a nap instead of choosing to listen.

My daughter is guzzling up to 24 ounces of Chateau Cow & Gate 2012. It has a light and creamy nose, disgusting to an adult but the way she holds her bottle when she’s chowing down makes me happy. She is just over 12lbs in weight, is laughing, chattering, holding her head up when on her front. In short, all the milestones she should have hit already, she has hit.

I think ladies who get up the guts to breastfeed through the utter pain of the hot, cement filled bombs that used to be boobs after birth are flipping amazing! When I was done having Sophie, I for the first few days wondered WHY people always complained about sore boobs after. Then Oh…My…God. The PAIN. My boobs swelled up like balloons and leaked milk night and day. Of course, Husband thought this was a great adjustment in our lives, but the rule was most definitely to look but not touch! My nipples were sore, huge and throbbing with heat. Having seen how hard my daughter would suck on a bottle teat, I was thanking the BoobyGods that I hadn’t allowed her to latch. I could barely lift my arms above my head.

My midwife (ah the wonderful, patient Lorna) at the hospital saw us at 34 weeks and asked outright whether we would be breastfeeding or not. I was expecting a fight or disapproval at my choice but when I said ‘bottle’ she actually accepted my decision with a smile. All too often friends and family have told me that they have had to argue with midwives or other staff because their decision to bottle feed and honestly, I find this ridiculous! Hospital staff are in a position of care and should support the hormonal ticking timebombs that are most pregnant women.

Boobyfeeding

Yes, breastmilk is the best thing a baby can have – the nutrients and the room temperature and the ease of access are all good reasons. Live bacteria, it’s completely natural. Kinda like Yakult in a tit. But what about the babies who refuse to latch? Or the mothers who suffer from cracked and bleeding nipples to the point the pain of it makes them cry, then the baby gets agitated and screams the place down? Or the thrush/mastitis? What about the babies who are allergic to breastmilk no matter how many times you change your diet? What about the feeling of utter desperation and failure when your baby is screaming with starvation because you don’t actually produce enough milk?

See, all these reasons can be fought through after the first couple months/weeks, but sleep deprivation, insane hormones and the shock of just pushing a person out of your body can really make all the above reasons a right turn off. I know that babies can be allergic to formula, which is why you can switch formulas. But you can only change your diet so many times before you have nothing left to change if a baby is allergic to your milk.

Then we get onto the bonding. I kind of take offence at the idea that bottle fed babies don’t bond as much with their parents. Yeah ok, breastfeeding allows a different kind of physical skin to skin, but I’ve fed Sophie while topless. Sophie rests her hands on my hands while I feed her and we maintain eye contact throughout most of a feed. The only difference is that she doesn’t feed from my body. She and her Daddy also have a fantastic bond. And to be honest the utter relief of having Husband taking over and assisting with bottles in the night (and day!) was one of the biggest reasons I didn’t succumb to postnatal depression. That’s not to say that Daddies of boobyfed babies don’t bond at all.

Then there’s the issue of babies that ‘are prone to allergies and sickness’ when formula fed. Well, I don’t know about that. Husband was boobyfed, I was bottle fed. He’s sickly, I get sick maybe once every two years. SHRUG

Unfortunately as a new mother, I have been ganged up on by ‘lactivists’ who believe breast is the ONLY way to go. Balls to that I say! The way to go is what is both best for mother, for baby and for family, whether that be booby, bottle or straight up sticking the baby on a cow (no, not really)

Too effing right!

As long as every baby is fed, warm & happy, then you Mother’s out there are doing a FANTASTIC job.