Breast or Bottle?

I’m hoping from the title of this blog post you can guess what I want to talk about today….

and I cannot emphasise enough that in my (humble) opinion when it comes to this often uncomfortable and controversial topic I cannot stress enough that when it comes to your baby…

FED IS BEST!!

Whether that be from a bottle, a breast, breast milk in a bottle or formula. Weather you have a wet nurse or you’ve decided that you are going to encourage your baby to suckle at the teat of a mountain goat – you do you! And just make sure that little babe is fed.

In my own experience I knew that I wanted to try and breastfeed my little boy but I had also mentally prepared myself incase it just wasn’t meant to be. I took bottles and pre mixed formula too the hospital with me when he was born just in case.

I was surrounded by so many amazing midwifes during our stay in hospital (how fucking ace is the NHS) and they really supported me with breast feeding and after a little practice, both Jaxon and I took to it really well!

Fast forward 9 weeks – 5 boxes of extra absorbent breast pads, a whole tube of lanolin nipple cream and the numerous times falling asleep during the dream feed, waking up covered in milk! (Glamorous I know)

Jaxon and I are going to our 8 week check up appointment and I had in my mind that I wanted to speak with the nurse/doctor about any advice they could give me about introducing combination feeding.

For mums to be or new mums that know as little about the feeding types as I did (and still do) combination feeding is basically where you breast feed and bottle feed. The bottle feeding part can be with either expressed breast milk or with formula.

As the nurse was carrying out the check up on us both, she asked generic questions. “How are you getting on?”,”anything you want to ask?”, “has he started doing this that and the other yet?”. I straight away got started with my feeding questions, asking really for any advice at all that she could give me.

To my complete relief she was lovely and told me that whatever I felt was best was without a doubt the best thing to do for us both. She showed me simple ways to stop myself from becoming swollen and sore as I began to cut out breast feeds. I instantly felt relieved and made a mental note to stop at the supermarket on the way home and pick up a box of formula.

Shortly after this the doctor entered the room and began checking Jaxon. The first question she asked me was “are you breastfeeding?” I went on to explain that yes I was currently exclusively breastfeeding but that I had been asking the nurse for advice on combination feeding. The doctor immediately turned to me and straight away and said “no, no I wouldn’t recommend that, breast is best after all”

I was gobsmacked and my face must have shown it because as the doctor continued her check as though she hadn’t just made me feel like worlds worst mum; the wonderful nurse with her amazingly kind soul turned to me and mouthed the words “you do what’s best for you!”

The doctor finished her checks and left and the nurse continued to tell me that everyone will have either own opinions on what you should do with your own child but ultimately you know what is best for both you and your baby. In her attempt to reinstate my self confidence she went on to tell me about her own experience with feeding her twins and how the two children had such different feeding habits and the ways she dealt with them despite everyone else’s opinions.

If I could give the gift of that woman’s support and guidance to every new mum I would, a hero in a nurses uniform.

So with the doctors words still muttering in the back of my head I drove my cranky, freshly injected baby home for love and lots of cuddles. Followed by a text message to John asking him to get some formula on his way home.

I combination fed Jaxon for maybe 2 weeks until an unfortunate female issue meant that I had to take a little pill and apply some cream and no breastfeeding for a minimum of 3 days. Isn’t being a woman fantastic at times. Now I know some people may have the opinion that I should have just dealt with the thrush and continued with the combination feeding. But let me tell you, if Mama’s cranky then so is that baby and after the horrible time that I had recovering from my delivery I thought to myself “my vagina deserves a break”. And so with John’s help every feed became a bottle feed, and once all the frozen breast milk was gone from the freezer those feeds became strictly formula.

After the 3 days were over I offered Jaxon a breastfeed in the morning and straight away I could feel a difference. He had gone lazy on me and I knew when I started giving him bottles that this was a real possibility. A bottle is easier to drink from that the breast so why the hell would he want to put in more effort that he has too to get his dinner. I can’t blame you kid. And so after a little cry and a cuddle with John I came to terms with the fact that I now had a fully bottle fed baby.

Now let me just say before this next bit that this is just my experience and everyone and I mean EVERYONE is completely different.

But my baby has been so much happier since we went full time with bottles and formula.

At his last health visitor appointment he was measuring a little bit under weight and in hind sight I honestly think that my milk was just not enough for him and that my grumpy baby wasn’t going through leaps, or had colic or was over tired. He was just greedy and this left him hungry even after a full feed. Now I don’t know if there’s a way to prove that that’s what it was, but all I know is my boy is much happier now! We have less tears and fussing through the day and this has opened up so much more time for smiles, cuddles, tummy time and laughter for us both!

So new mums, mums to be, first, second and third time mums all I have to say is – DO WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT! No one can care for your baby like you can and everyone will think that they know best for whatever stupid reason but they don’t. You know what is best for you and you’re baby and if you take anything away from this then please let it be these three things.

Breast feeding is wonderful yes, but cracked nipples are not fun.

No one is you, and that is your power.

And finally I’ll say it again, and louder for those in the back…

FED IS BEST!