Sunday, September 30, 2018

Is Breast Always Best?

It can't be denied that Breast feeding is an incredible thing. A wonderful bonding experience for you and your little one. Knowing that you've grown them inside you for 40 days, given birth to them and then you're able to be there provider on the outside world.
But it isn't as easy as they make out.

All through my pregnancy I was told about the benefits of breast feeding, every single midwife appointment, scan and doctors visit I was told that I was making the best possible thing for my baby. Never once was bottle feeding mentioned to me. No reassurance that if it didn't work (which happens to a lot of women) that it would be fine.
For forty three days I was preparing myself to breast feed. Watching videos, reading articles and buying products to ensure I could have the best experience ever.
I was lead to believe Breast was the only option if I was going to be a proper Mom.

Rupert breast fed for six days. Six days where we were at home and left to figure it out ourselves. In the hospital, after an hour of giving birth, I was asked to get him to latch onto me. Never asked if I was even thinking about bottle feeding. He latched straight away and I could have cried with how happy I was to have the bond and experience I really wanted. My labour had stuck to my plan so I was relieved this had too.

Day three is when your milk is suppose to come through. That morning we had a visit off a local midwife who helped me position Rupert in a different way as he wasn't latching very well. I was in pain, bleeding, cut and blistered. I was determined to persist as I was told that everything was going well.
I was exhausted from the constant round the clock feeding, which meant I was literally getting no sleep longer than twenty minutes. Upset and too scared to have visitors or leave the house as I didn't want to get my boobs out in front of people.
Fast forward to day six and we had another midwife appointment. Where we were told we needed to go into hospital because Rupert has lost a lot of weight. I was heartbroken, in agony that I had starved my child for six days and how he hadn't been getting much out of me at all. On the advice of the midwife we bought some formula and gave him a bottle just to feed him, he had been grizzly and crying for two days now.
You can imagine how horrific this was for me. My dreams of the perfect start had been crushed and I felt like a huge failure.

Rupert, Harry and I were checked into a women's ward where we were monitored hourly. I was told to express for half an hour just to see how much I was producing. 10ml came out in half an hour which was way too low. Rupert needed to be getting at least 75ml.
The midwives were terrific and supported me in my decision to bottle feed Rupert combining it with the expressed milk. My milk didn't come through until day nine which was six days late and even then it wasn't a proper amount.
It was my decision, after three days in hospital, to just bottle feed Rupert as expressing wasn't increasing and was causing me pain and stress. My anxiety was through the roof at the thought of even attempting to breast feed my little man again, riddled with the fear he would starve again.

It was after leaving the hospital that I have noticed there is a huge stigma against bottle feeding. What people need to understand is that a mothers decision is that, her decision. I don't know a single mother that would do something that wasn't what she thought was best.
Since switching to bottle feeds, Rupert is sleeping better, more energetic and happy when he is awake.
I honestly felt my decision was selfish and wanting to be able to go out and socialise and sleep more was me putting myself before my child. But I know it wasn't that at all and I was supported so much by my family and friends. Rupert and I are so much happier. Bottle feeding has allowed my boyfriend, Rupert's dad, to feel a part of his routine. Like he can help me and contribute.
Breast feeding is always talked about during your pregnancy and is always the first thing people mention when feeding is talked out. I never even thought about bottle feeding as an option as 'Breast is Best' is drilled into you from day one. If I'm honest I have judged people for not breast feeding their kids. Which is awful now being in the position myself.
Breast feeding is an amazing thing and it does work for lots of women but it should be recognised that it doesn't work for everyone and that's okay. Women shouldn't feel so pressured into thinking that if they can't breast feed they are a failed parent.
If bottle feeding was mentioned to me during my pregnancy maybe I wouldn't have felt so much guilt about what happened.
Online is a different story, I mean it always is.
If I ever mention how I feed my baby online I am met with people saying I am giving my child the second best option. 'Breast is best' is promoted more than 'Fed is Best'. If bottle feeding was so horrific and a bad thing to give your child then why would it ever be an option at all.
Luckily I was supported with my decision by my midwives, friends and family but that isn't the case for everyone.

A woman recently posted on a Mom's Facebook group how she was thinking about switching to bottle feeding for the same reasons as myself. She was met with mean comments, from other mothers, that she would be doing a bad thing for her kid. Can you imagine how she must have felt. I do.
We need to start encouraging a more realistic, happier, moto. Fed is best because Breast isn't always best. Breast isn't always best because it wasn't for me and a lot of other mothers I know.

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