So we all know ‘breast is best’ believe me I heard it enough times during both my pregnancies. When I was pregnant with Georgia I was determined I would breastfeed, I went to the classes, I stayed in hospital longer to try and master it, I asked the midwives for all the advice I could- but after 3 weeks of bleeding nipples, crying on Georgia’s head every time I fed her, suffering with anxiety, putting raw cabbage on my boobs (apparently it stops them being painful- it doesn’t,it just makes everything stink) and being frightened of being close to her in case she smelt my milky boobies, I decided this wasn’t working… I tried expressing for a while, but Georgia was a tiny baby and fed every hour and a half so I found as soon as she’d fed I’d need to express again and it just became a never ending cycle of feed, express, feed, express. Leaving the house was impossible, and anyone with small children knows staying in all day will slowly drive you insane!
Then I made the big move to formula- SMITE ME NOW!!!!
For a long time I felt terrible about ‘failing to breastfeed’ I thought I was failing to do the best thing for my baby- according to many Internet forums she would end up being an obese kid, with a lower than average IQ who suffered frequent infections,struggled to bond with her mother and grew a third ear (ok so I made that last one up but you get the gist). I hated having to feed at any sort of mother and baby group in case there was a judgey mummy (I only ever came across one, shame on you mean lady/ massive bellend!!!) and I constantly battled with myself about whether I should have tried harder to stick with breastfeeding (I definitely shouldn’t have, at that point my mental health was very fragile and struggling to breastfeed was not helping)… Anyway I eventually got over my guilt and 3 years down the line Georgia is definitely not obese, is a bit too clever sometimes, wants mummy to do everything, only has two ears and is rarely ever poorly. Turns out she survived the bottle.
When it came to feeding Neve I decided I’d give breastfeeding a go again and if it wasn’t right I’d switch to the bottle- confident this time that she would not grow a third ear. As it happens I didn’t have too much choice with Neve anyway; she made the choice for me! Neve was not a fan of my boobies and wouldn’t ‘latch on’ at all. After more than 24 hours where a different midwife tried every 3 hours to ram Neve’s face into my nipple with absolutely no success I decided I’d had enough. I could feel myself getting anxious again. I wanted to go home and enjoy my baby. I left the hospital a few hours later a formula feeding Mumma once more.
This time I didn’t feel guilty about bottle feeding, I knew it was the right choice for my family and for my baby. Don’t get me wrong, sterilising bottles is a right ball ache, formula is ridiculously expensive and Neve is a bit obese but who doesn’t love a chubby baby! Too often mums are made to feel guilty about the decisions they make when they are the ones who truly know their babies, their own bodies and their mental health the best.
Breastfeeding Mumma’s and bottle feeding Mumma’s I salute you! Judgey mummy’s- I hope you step in dog shit tomorrow!