BREAST MIGHT BE BEST BUT IT’S NOT FOR ME

breast is best but it's not for me, fed is best

So, as the saying used to go “breast is best” but I’m firmly in the “fed is best” camp. There’s no denying breast milks benefits and I’m not about to pretend that formula is as nutritious. But I do know that breast wasn’t best for us. It wasn’t best for my kids, it wasn’t best for me and it wasn’t best for mine and my husbands relationship.

My first experience of breastfeeding was shortly after my sons birth in 2009. I decided I wanted to give it a go as, at that time, it was heavily encouraged and I didn’t want to feel like a failure or as though I was giving my son second best. I managed the post birth feed well and I was encouraged to continue. However, Logan had other ideas and showed little or no interest when he was presented to the breast. I was shown all kinds of positions to sit and lie in but I just sat sobbing on my hospital bed. I was alone, I was bleeding heavily, my son was crying with hunger and the nurses were reluctant to provide formula. I just couldn’t do it. Eventually we were discharged after having proved I could latch my baby but I knew I’d struggle when we got home and we resorted to formula. You see I said resorted….that’s what it felt like. Like we were offering second best and, after 48hrs of being a mum, I felt like I’d already let my son down.

My second born was again offered a breast feed after birth which went well but I was adamant she would be formula fed and my mind wasn’t being changed on that.  The midwife was lovely but she made a comment along the lines of it being a shame that I hadn’t continued breastfeeding as Florence had seemed to take to it so well. Again I felt guilty. But, at least my daughter was happy and content. However, I did always wonder if I should have continued.

When we finally found out we were expecting a third child I’d already decided to give breastfeeding another crack. I’d made more of an effort to read up on it and what I was letting myself in for. I was so determined to succeed that we didn’t buy any formula or bottles.

The feeding went well in the hospital and I went home with a breast fed baby who seemed to have a decent latch. I spent the first day at home in a permanent state of undress. Elsie’s grandad was already there looking after the other kids and I felt a little on edge that he might get a glimpse of something he shouldn’t as I was still mastering breastfeeding let alone doing it discreetly!

The days passed in a blur of nipple cream and breast pumps and eventually we got the hang of it, but at what cost? I’d spent no time with my other children, I slept in a separate room to my husband for months on end and I looked disheveled, at best. I snapped at everyone through tiredness and I became a little bit “I know what’s best for our daughter” which is inevitable after spending so much time with her. I don’t think I was great fun to be around in those first few weeks and the switch to formula seemed like a huge relief!

Suddenly we had all this time, we could go out knowing we had two whole hours before Elsie would be hungry, I could help my kids with their homework, Matt could bond with Elsie through feeding her himself and Elsie was happy and content between feeds. I absolutely take my hat off to women who can run their household and have a breastfed baby on their hip but it’s just not for me or my family. I know she will have received a lot of goodness from my milk but, at this moment in time, I shall be choosing formula for baby number four.

 

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11 Comments

  1. January 25, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    it is so odd how different babies can be. My son was pretty good at nursing to start with but after a while it was just hard work with him. So he was on formula from around 3 months. My daughter took to it like a duck to water though and I fed her until 18 months old. As much as we can make plans, our babies have a big say in it all! x

  2. January 25, 2017 / 4:46 pm

    Fed is definetly best. I tried breastfeeding with my son but really struggled and mixed fed for 4 weeks til I decided to move on to just formula as I was struggling too much and wasn’t happy. I think each child is different just as each parent is and u have to do what is best for u.

  3. January 25, 2017 / 7:12 pm

    I was in the ‘fed is best’ camp as well, and I was lucky to have a midwife who never pressured me to continue with breastfeeding. My first girl was amazing at latching and feeding but I could never keep up with her. I would go from feeding her, to pumping, then 20-minute sleep, back to feeding etc. I was tired, cranky, and it seemed like my husband was never getting any time with her. After 6-8 weeks I changed to formula and it was so easy sharing the load. My second on the other hand had breastmilk jaundice so no way was I going to continue with it when it made her look so unwell. As soon as I switched to formula within a week her jaundice numbers had decreased and she got her colour back. Of course, if I had a third I might try breast again, but it will always be my decision. x

  4. January 26, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    Always do what’s right for you and baby. I breast feed Rosalie for over a year and hope to do the same with my second but it just shows it might not work this time round xx

  5. January 26, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    Aw never beat yourself up ever. In my eyes it is never about how you feed your baby only that your baby is fed and loved and mum is happy those are the most important things I think. You can only breastfeed if you want to and if it is not for you that is completely fine. Lovely to see your views lovely xxx

  6. January 27, 2017 / 7:47 am

    There will always be this stigma around breastfeeding. It angers me that people force it upon us when we are vulnerable. My breastfeeding journeys were pretty bumpy with all three. My first couldn’t latch as she was so premature but I expressed until my milk dried up from stress and lack of baby contact. Then my second daughter fed perfectly fine for 6 months until she just stopped and that shocked me. Then the third struggled to gain weight and cried continuously so I switched to formula to find out a few weeks later that she had a tongue tie.

  7. January 27, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    I decided from the beginning that my kids would be bottle fed. It is a decision I made. Maybe because I was bottle fed, who knows. Another advantage is that my hubby could do some feeding too while I get jobs done. It was just handier.

  8. January 28, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    I’m always on the fed is best camp. I actually breast fed both my girls but I didn’t have my heart set in it. I was just gonna wait and see what happened and take my lead from the baby. X

    • admin
      February 13, 2017 / 2:02 pm

      I think that’s the best thing to do – getting your heart set on feeding one way or another doesn’t always work x

  9. January 30, 2017 / 11:42 am

    Good for you being honest about your journey. I didn’t get on with breastfeeding for lots of reasons, but I don’t regret it or make myself feel bad because of it. Everyone can do it just the way they feel they can

    • admin
      February 13, 2017 / 2:01 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Stephanie – I totally agree! x

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