It has come to my attention that it was the national breastfeeding awareness week this week (i’m a day late) and as someone who has both bottle fed and boobie fed a child I thought I would write a little post about it.
When I fell pregnant with little cheese I was adamant I was going to breastfeed, there was no question about it.
However things didn’t go to plan. She was born via emergency c seciton at 38 weeks, everything seemed ok as far as I could tell having been a mum for all of 3 hours. The nurses on the ward were very forceful when showing me how to get her to latch, there was a lot of literal shoving of her tiny face into my giant boob on their part. I have since learnt that this is not what should be done. We were discharged within 24 hour and I was planning to feed on demand as and when she needed.
After a couple of days my milk came in and it was so painful, my boobs were like fucking watermelons, she wouldn’t latch and I felt like a bag of smashed crabs. The midwife came on day 3 and informed us that she had lost 10% body weight and that she was jaundiced so we were readmitted and she was put under the special little lights for 24 hours. The doctors kept telling me she needed formula but I wasn’t having any of it despite them giving me little cartons and bottles. I asked for a pump which they delivered and I began pumping as often as I could, I barely got anything out, even using a fancy medela pump i struggled to make what she needed and they wanted her on a strict feeding schedule to help her weight, a lactation specialist came round and showed us how to cup feed which was helpful. We were sent home the next day, ben went out and bought me the exact pump that the hospital had which cost an arm and a leg but I was so determined. I was feeding on one boob and pumping the other. I hated every second of it but was being stubborn as all you ever hear is breast is best.
On day 10, at midnight, it was Ben’s 30th birthday, I was sat up in bed feeding her when I was hit by a smell, I passed her to ben for him to change but the smell was getting worse. Long story short, my section scar had burst and was massively infected. I was taken into hospital and put on a drip. The doctors informed me that the medication I was on was not suitable for a tiny baby and I would have to stop breastfeeding. When they told me this the arse fell out of my world, I was utterly devastated. After a few days I was allowed home but my milk had gone and she was now on formula. I felt so much guilt about this.
I shouldn’t have felt guilty, looking back, I was on the medication I needed and I needed to get better to look after her.
4 months later when I fell pregnant with Fishy, the second I knew I was pregnant I knew I didn’t want to breastfeed. Now this might sound strange but I never wanted to feel that guilt ever again. I had come to terms with bottle feeding and formula, I even got a perfect prep machine which I still think is the best gadget we ever got.
As the pregnancy progressed I was always having to tell people, when they questioned me, why I wasn’t planning on breastfeeding this time. I think people can be so fucking nosey, cheesey girl was thriving on bottles and was never poorly, in my eyes I was doing what was right for her.
fast forward a few months and Fishy arrived, she was a planned c-section (thats another post) which was another decision I still find myself explaining to people even now, and shes 3 in October.
The midwife helping with the extraction was someone I had known for a few years and once we were in recovery she said ‘are you gonna breastfeed?’ I said no, we have formula and bottles. She smiled at me and said ‘go on give it a try, even if you only give her the liquid gold, its better than nothing and she is really tiny.’
Fishy was born 3 weeks and 1 day early so was classed as premature, she weighed 5lb 9oz. Those words that she said stuck in my head and i thought ‘fuck it, ill try and see what happens’. My inital goal was a week to give her the best start, I didn’t feel any pressure whatsoever from anyone, including myself. One week turned to 2, 2 turned to a month and eventually over a year.
Those little words of encouragement from her led to me feeding Ari for 13.5 months, I weaned her by choice but again thats another post.
I was so lucky this time, don’t get me wrong it was so painful for the first few weeks but then all of a sudden it just clicked and it was easy. I didn’t like feeding, I am not a mum who felt breastfeeding was an incredible bonding time, I did it because it was easy and I was too lazy to make bottles, while looking after 2 babies. (Big cheese was 13 months old when little fish arrived). I was also lucky that I was not shy at all about feeding, I fed her wherever she needed feeding, whoever was around, if they didn’t like it they could fuck right off or just look away.
I am so proud of myself for sticking with it for as long as I did, but I am also proud that I was able to forgive myself for not being able to feed Miicah. They were both fed, that is what is important.
During the last 3 and half years I have had people say, to my face that formula is poison or that my baby was too old to be breastfed, these people need to mind their own business, I know if I wasn’t as strong as I was about this then comments like this could really hurt someone. You can never win, do what is right for your baby and for you.
If you are someone making these kinds of comments to a mum, stop it. Being a new mum is fucking rollercoaster of emotional up and downs and a comment like this on a bad day could be devastating.
I have friends who are now becoming parents for the first time and I tell them that I’m here for advice and chats, if they want to breast feed thats awesome, if they want to formula feed thats awesome too, if anyone has anything to say against them I will be there to fight their corner with them.
I am a firm believer that fed is best.
One of my babies was forula fed, one was boob fed, both are fucking perfect.