So I am three babies down and these days I am well versed in being asked about how I feed, formula or breast? From your booking in appointment with the midwife to random people in shops or cafes everyone wants to know how you feed your baby. I think everyone is aware of the benefits of breastfeeding so I am not going into that. I know not everybody likes the saying fed is best but as a mum it is how I feel.
I always assumed I would breastfeed my children, it never really crossed my mind to think anything else. It is what my rather substantial boobs are there for after all!
Roll on Seb being born. His birth was traumatic on us both. After his birth I couldn't hold him properly until the next day. My breastfeeding help post birth was someone trying to shove him on my boobs and getting annoyed with me because I couldn't hold him properly. They seemed to ignore that fact that I had just had a huge operation and had a general anaesthetic which was still wearing off.
When I was more able I struggled to get him latching on, the staff in hospital were too busy, I had pretty limited knowledge(I had read about breastfeeding but it certainly didn't mention how hard it can be, there is so much more information now), I had read that it shouldn't hurt but that didn't tally with the excruciating pain I felt. I remember sitting on our bed crying and in huge pain with a bleeding cracked nipple. I also remember my community midwife telling me he was a typical lazy boy. Back then there were no breastfeeding cafes or supporters that i could find in our town. I put him onto formula full time and he thrived. Now he is 5 and has a pretty obvious tongue tie, something nobody ever mentioned and I had never even heard of it back then in 2010.
Alex was a different story, I knew a bit more this time around, his birth was smoother, he latched on and seemed to feed well. However he lost a big percentage of his body weight, we were under threat of being readmitted to hospital when he was 10 days old. Having already spent 5 days in hospital sobbing because I was missing my 1 year old at home, being in pain post c section and finding hospital a really stressful suffocating environment, I couldn't face going back in. I once again turned to formula, he started to gain weight right away.
Do you see what I did there? I explained why my they were formula fed. Why do so many of us do that? So many mums who turn to formula feel they need to explain why they did it, myself included. I guess I felt guilty and like I have to explain or justify myself.
And now we have baby number three. Barney is three months old and fully formula fed. I am now well educated in breastfeeding. He had his first feeds from me but I opted to give him formula. I no longer feel the guilt or like i need to explain why i'm not breastfeeding him to people. He is fed, he is healthy, he is happy, so am I, so are my other children and that is my main priority. I guess the confidence comes from me making the choice instead of feeling like I had no other option. I am confident that I made the right choice for us both.
No matter if you breastfeed, formula feed, express or combination feed, you are doing an amazing job. I hate that people try to put others down for their choices. That people who breastfeed get told they should put baby on a bottle, that people who formula feed are told they are not doing the best for their child. We are all mums trying to do our best, life isn't black and white, let's support each other.
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