Breast or Bottle, Which Is Best?

If you’d asked me this question at any point before the last eight months, I would have given you a smug look ( you know the one, the breastfeeding is easy, anyone who tries hard enough can do it kind of face) and answered quite clearly that breast is best.

Number One and I breezed through breastfeeding, she loved it from day one, she came out (albeit out of the escape hatch) knowing exactly what she was doing. I didn’t have to think about it, worry about it, or focus on it, it just happened. She had the knack and she taught me what to do. And we kept doing it for almost two years, it worked for us. I was more than a little bit proud, the difficulty of this I decided had been massively underestimated.

So when Number Two came along, I didn’t even contemplate not breastfeeding. This was the one part of being a second time mummy I wasn’t worried about. This I knew how to do.

How wrong I was. Number Two struggled from day one, rarely feeding for long, and even when he did having such a poor latch that feeding exhausted him, meaning he would quickly fall asleep. In the evenings he would scream from hunger, yet he didn’t seem to understand how to open his mouth to feed. Ultimately he stopped gaining weight, and would only feed when he was asleep. He hated every moment of breastfeeding. And if I’m honest I hated myself for putting him through it. Who was I really doing this for, for him or for me. Because it was what was best or because it was my ideal of what a mother should be?

I decided there and then, there was no best. Best was what was right for my baby. Best was feeding my baby. Best was not putting us through torture every single feed. Something needed to change.

We tried a bottle. Enough was enough. It was time to stop being so stubborn. For us it didn’t work. The flow was too fast, and he hated it more than the breast. But what had changed was me, my attitude, to what was right, to what should be done.

We were luckily, Number Two’s Reflux was diagnosed, and brought under enough control to enable him to feed. Now at almost eight months I still breastfeed, we have tricky days but he’s got the knack, and mostly enjoys it.

That doesn’t mean I was right. I will always wonder if I’d introduced a bottle earlier whether it would have saved him some of the pain, whether if he was taking some now it would be easier to find out which foods affect him; because what I am eating would be taken out of the equation.

The point is when it comes to our feeding choices, we need to stop judging (and that very definitely includes judging ourselves), we need to stop the smugness of the breast is best movement, we need to start realising that what’s right for each family is right. There is enough mummy guilt in the world, we need to take it out the equation for this one. It doesn’t matter how we feed our babies.

It does matter that we love our babies. It does matter that they are able to be fed. It does matter that as mums we make the decision to do what is right for us and our baby without feeling like we failed.

We are good mums. Breast, bottle, or tube. Whatever works for our babies. That is what is right.

Dear Bear and Beany

 

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11 Comments

  1. December 1, 2016 / 8:08 am

    Personally I think whatever works best for you and baby is the best form of feeding. We need to support women’s choices on how to feed their baby. Not judge. Great personal post. x

  2. December 1, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    I’m kind of with you on this. Breast milk is best; but I also understand that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and I agree that each family needs to do what is best for them. At the end of the day it isn’t really any of our business!!
    I struggled with breastfeeding for the first few weeks. My daughter couldn’t/wouldn’t latch. It was tough, but we got there.
    p.s. I haven’t heard of the escape hatch before!!! 🙂 🙂
    #SharingtheBlogLove

    • December 1, 2016 / 10:27 pm

      Hahaha, it’s what I always call it to Number One. Both of mine were emergency C-Sections, I always think the escape hatch makes it sound a little less scary:-)

  3. December 1, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    With my first daughter we struggled with breastfeeding, she couldn’t the hang of it, she constantly fell asleep within seconds, it was hard work. She lost a lot of weight at the beginning, It was a stressful time. And whilst we did get there, it was never easy all the way to the end. With my second daughter, she latched on straight away and it was easy and no problems at all. Some of that I think was her and some of it was me and I was a more confident mum. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    • December 1, 2016 / 10:25 pm

      It never ceases to amaze me how different our children can be. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I’m so glad you got a good experience the second time around x

  4. December 2, 2016 / 1:45 pm

    I definitely didn’t have an easy time breastfeeding with my first – I’d totally expected that he would just know what to do, but it turned out we needed to learn together. We got there in the end, but I know I put so much pressure on myself and caused myself a lot of anxiety worrying about whether he was getting enough milk (he was always a small baby). Second time around I like to think I’ll be more laid back, but I guess we’ll just see how it goes! I do believe that whichever choice you make, it’s entirely yours to make, and none of anyone else’s business. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  5. December 2, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    Thank you for this post. I had a terrible experience breastfeeding my first, like with you tears at every feed from me and from her. I started formula feeding her from about 10 weeks. Second time round breastfeeding worked a treat from the start! Yes, breastmilk is better than formula however there is so much more to being a ‘good’ mum than which milk your baby gets. Babies will grow so long as they receive nutrition. It took me months to realise this. After the tears of struggling breastfeeding followed many tears from feeling a failure!
    #ShareTheBlogLove
    Helen x

    • December 2, 2016 / 10:09 pm

      It’s so hard when it doesn’t work. I’m so glad you had a good experience the second time around. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment x

  6. December 3, 2016 / 5:12 pm

    I didn’t breastfeed, through choice and I’ve never let anyone make me feel bad about it. It’s something I feel quite strongly about.
    My little one had reflux too. Before he was diagnosed we tried different brands of formula, different bottles. We spent a fortune. You name it, we tried it! Finally he got diagnosed and thank goodness for those little sachets of Gaviscon. Finally we had a happy baby. Not once did I worry that if I’d breastfed it might not have happened. It didn’t occur to me. You can’t worry about hindsight. Chances are if they’re going to have reflux then they’re going to have it. Poor poppets. #sharingthebloglove

    • December 3, 2016 / 6:23 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and for your kind words. I hope your little one is doing ok now x

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