Agonising Over Whether to Breast or Bottle Feed?

When I was pregnant I wasn’t sure I wanted to breast feed, I had all the leaflets and information given to me by my midwives about breast feeding and despite not having made a decision I was never given any advice on bottle feeding except the cons. I went online and searched breast feeding and bottle feeding and was shocked to discover how this issue tormented new mums and mums to be.

Why we should breast feed is drilled into us whilst we are pregnant yet they do not prepare you for how you will feel if you are unable to. I came across many mums online that for many reason were unable to breast feed and were torturing themselves, they were absolutely distraught and felt like failures.

Early on in my pregnancy I decided that I would wait and see what happened once I had my baby, I was almost certain I didn’t want to breast feed. I prepared myself for both breast feeding and bottle feeding and after reading the basic information on how to do both I thought no more about it. I told my midwife team this too and informed them that I had all the information that I required and if I needed anymore I would let them know. The decision whether to breast feed or bottle feed is yours and yours alone, you should never feel pressured into doing something you do not want to.

In the end the decision was out of my hands. When my little girl was born she latched on straight away and really took to breast feeding. We were then taken to our room and left alone with someone popping their head in every few hours to see how we were doing. I didn’t know how to hold her whilst I breast fed and different midwives told me to hold her different ways which was very confusing, in the end I settled on looking in the book I had been given and just copying the picture in there.

I got myself a little stressed and upset as I was supposed to keep filling out this form every time she fed with how long she fed, everyone kept asking me if she was getting anything and my answer was I don’t know, she seemed to be. By the next morning my baby was a little grumpy but the midwife said she was latching on fine so I could go home. That night my baby cried and cried, I tried to feed her, she would latch on and then just pull away screaming. She eventually fell asleep for a few hours but by 5am the following morning my boyfriend and I decided to try to bottle feed her as we just didn’t know if she was getting anything from me and I was getting very upset at not knowing.

It was the best decision we made, my boyfriend fed her for the first time and she fell asleep in his arms peacefully after taking 2 ounces. Later that day we had a midwife visit and it turned out I was not producing any milk, we were advised by a lovely midwife to carry on bottle feeding and told that their was probably a delay in my milk coming in and if it did come in I could breast feed then if I wanted to.

We continued bottle feeding taking turns and after such a stressful first day with our new baby we settled into a very happy and comfortable routine in the first week. Being able to share feeding our baby was great and I immediately felt the pressure ease off as I didn’t have to do everything myself.

On day seven my milk eventually came in, we had all settled into bottle feeding, our baby girl was happy and thriving and bonding with both me and her dad. Ultimately it was my decision and I decided to continue bottle feeding. My baby is now 5 months and a healthy bundle of joy. This is not a decision I will ever regret and I am glad I did not put pressure on myself to breast feed or let anyone else put pressure on me to breast feed.