Breast Vs Bottleby Patricia Nicholls
When I had my daughter I chose very early on in my pregnancy that I would bottle feed. I felt this huge pressure to breastfeed that I was stressing about it before I had even given birth. I made my choice clear to my midwife so that I wouldn’t be hounded throughout every stage.
For me, it wasn’t about me not giving my daughter the best start in life. I was bottle-fed for starters and I turned out fine. I knew that bottle-feeding wouldn’t make our emotional bond any less. I’m incredibly close to my mum and my daughter loves me unconditionally.
I’m not very confident for starters and other than worrying that I wouldn’t be able to do breastfeed and then feeling like a failure (who needs that on top of hormones running havoc?) I also wasn’t sure how I’d feel breastfeeding in public (or whipping a boob out anywhere, to be honest!) and the thought really weighed on my mind. For the record, I’m not embarrassed by other mums doing it at all, where we’d frequent at our local Costa (other coffee chains are available), it was a safe place. My boobs are also tiny and I think I may have starved my daughter in the process ;0)!
My whole pregnancy and labour were quite easy/straight-forward. I was kind of in a euphoric state as it had been easy sailing that I wanted to keep that in control feeling for as long as I could and with a bottle, I had that control. There is so much stigma on everything you do as a parent, the horror stories of people being rude and commenting on mums breast (or bottle feeding) their babies. Having said that, there were a few judgemental glances (from other mums) when I’d get a bottle and formula out. I guess sometimes you can’t win either way.
I have great admiration for the breastfeeding mums as they usually tell these nasty people to jog on but for me, I would have just felt more isolated and wouldn’t have gone out. If you have nothing nice to say, you should just keep your comments to yourself! Their perseverance should also be commended through pumping, mastitis, sore boobs etc.
My daughter thrived on the bottle (and is a happy and healthy 6-year-old now). She gained weight as normal, I got to see how much she took at every feed, wasn’t constantly “attached” to me and was quite easy at self-soothing. She was sleeping through the night at 7 weeks so I don’t feel guilty at my decision at the time. This could have been a coincidence due to her nature as a baby (she’s a bit of a minx now!) but this was the right path for us. To me, it also meant that my husband could do his fair share and that I didn’t feel like I was being “milked”. I returned to work at 9 months and even though my employers had a room where you could express, the thought horrified me.
I guess my only small regret (not one that keeps me awake at night I should add) is that I can’t say I know what it feels like to breastfeed so if I’m lucky enough to have another child, I would try and summon the courage to give it a go and perhaps entertain the combination feeding method.
We all want what’s best for our children. If your decision is to breastfeed, I salute you, if it’s to bottle feed, I salute you with the other hand! Surely a fed baby is a happy baby?