Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Don't Beat Yourself Up Guide To Bottle Feeding

So this is a post that I have wanted to write for a while but have never had the balls. I have never felt comfortable about writing about my experience with feeding my babies. I was worried and concerned about what other people would say. If I would get trolls. And if people would hate me. Then?

Then today there was some research issued that states babies who are breastfed are more likely to turn into well educated and higher earning adults. Brilliant. F*cking brilliant. As if those mothers who chose, or in many cases had no other choice but to bottle feed their babies, needed another big kick in the teeth to make them feel any worse about their decision.

We are all aware of the many, many benefits of breastfeeding babies. There is no argument against this. Breastfeeding is the right choice. This is not a pro bottle feeding discussion. This is not me saying "hey you guys lets start a revolution!". This is just more of a really quiet "hey you guys please just lay off us a little bit as we are tired, hormonal and could break if you bring up the fact there is a bottle in our babies mouth one more time". 

Such is my shame. I have not ONE bottle feeding photo

Bottle feeding seems to be a dirty secret. Something that many mothers are not proud of. I breastfed both of my children for three days. And I hated it. I could blame it on my emergency c section or that the baby wouldn't latch on or blah blah blah. But? It just wasn't for me. I found the nurses quite aggressive in their help and the pressure was immense. It made those first few days torturous and I was a wreck. Maybe I didn't get enough of the right help? Maybe I needed to just stick it out for much longer? But I didn't. That was my decision. I ensured when I did bottle feed I researched the best for my two, and did everything I could to guarantee they were fed safely and that they thrived. Which they did. And still do.

And I cannot live with the guilt for the rest of my life. I did everything else by the book. I was so ashamed by my lack of breastfeeding I tackled weaning with an almost psychotic enthusiasm. Neither of my children had any jars or pouches till they were toddlers. Everything was hand made, even ruddy rusks! As if this could make up for my lacking in those early days. But BOOM then more research is revealed to state that I made a dreadful decision. And one I cannot change. One that could mean my child may not be as bright as yours, may end up with a worse job.

I rocked weaning!

I am certain that many of those Mothers who chose to bottle feed because of whatever did so through good reasoning. And even if they didn't. That is their choice. And I promise it wasn't as easy as you would imagine. I am going to have to embrace that my beautiful little munches may not earn that £70 extra a month that breastfeeding could have gained them, or that extra tiny bit of IQ. They also may not be able to fight infections as well or be able to control their weight.

But what I won't embrace is that Mothers who breastfeed are "different in their motivation or their ability to stimulate the kids". That my friend is f*cking b*llocks. My choice of feeding my children bares no reflection on how I feel about them. I love them. I do everything I can for them. We have just returned from an afternoon at the park, after a morning of playing post offices. They are now happily jumping around on the bed before a bath and a story from my husband. Who also motivates and stimulates them. And he didn't breastfeed them either.

67 comments:

  1. What a great post and so refreshing. After today's news report, I feel so sorry for mums who are currently under so much pressure on whether to bottle feed or breast feed.

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    1. I know there is pressure everywhere isn't there? x

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  2. Em this is brilliant! I had a totally identical breastfeeding experience to you, with judgey aggressive midwives. It put me right off. I'm pretty sure this research is pants too. My bottlefed children are rarely ill and top of their class too. And that's all down to Aptamil my friend! :) It's high time all this pressure stopped. New mums (and ones a bit further down the path too) put more than enough pressure on themselves! Xx

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    1. You are so right chick. We all need to stop this weird ganging up on each other. It is totally uncalled for. We all try our best and our best should be good enough for our little ones x

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    2. If it makes you feel any better, I did breastfeed, but I still found the experience of midwives in the hospital appalling. My little man struggled to latch, and I lost count of the times I was manhandled when I asked for help. No sympathy or gentleness. I almost lost my mind, but my stubbornness is what kept me going. It was only afterwards that we found out he had a tongue tie which made those early days tough. And then I was even more angry, as no-one in the hospital even checked to see if that could be the problem.

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  3. There is so much pressure on all sides. When I decided to start topping h up with aptamil the health visitors were so judgey but my milk wasn't enough. I tried supplements and expressing but I'm not a cow, I just didn't fill up bottles on demand!!! Fab post lovely xxx

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  4. I feel so angry when I hear about mums who feel guilty for bottle feeding their babies. I breastfed G but started giving her the odd bottle at four months old. The GUILT I felt! I had to get Mr P to do it while I sat upstairs sobbing. Ridic. I think every mum should try breastfeeding (just like we tell the kids - how do you know you wont like it if you don't try it) but it's every mother's right to choose to feed her baby the way that is right for them. And a mother's well being and sanity is just as important as any reason that might be given as a benefit of breastfeeding. You seem like an awesome mum Em x

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    1. Thanks lovely! I tried. And then stopped and did everything in my power to ensure my little ones were healthy and happy. We shouldn't have to sit in rooms crying. But we all have been there. It sucks x

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    2. I've put off reading this blog because I love your blog and didn't want it to put me off reading your blog anymore, but I was brave and finally read it.

      I did breastfeed and am still breastfeeding my nearly 18 month old and just trained as a breastfeeding peer supporter. Some people will instantly get their backs up at the fact I breastfed at all, the fact that it's been nearly a year and a half and now the fact that I trained to "nag" others into breastfeeding.

      I always wanted to give breastfeeding a go, I never imagined I'd do it for this long. I initially aimed for 3, then 6 months then see how teeth went, then a year then I forgot my goals. I had goals because it was hard to begin with. I too had very aggressive help from a midwife on the hospital and little help when I got home. I had literally toe curling pain when she latched on in the first few weeks and told the HV who looked but didn't check the latch. I continued because I'm stubborn. I had literally everyone saying to me the moment they knew I was pregnant, don't worry if you can't breastfeed, not everyone can. One friend actually told me about the perfect prep machine in response to me telling her I was pregnant! It was like everyone was assuming I couldn't do it, which made me determined to prove them wrong.

      There have been many times I thought about stopping but I have so many reasons now to continue. Sometimes nothing but a boobie cuddle will fix my daughters mood. Now I know someone will say that if I wasn't feeding that yes of course there would be something else that would cheer her up when she's fallen over, make her feel better when she's sick, ease her off to snooze when she's overtired, but it works for us.

      The reason I've trained as a breastfeeding peer supporter is because there isn't enough help or education out there about breastfeeding. I've learnt things on the course I wish I knew before having my daughter and I'm still breastfeeding. I want to stop women feeling guilty for not breastfeeding too.

      A lot of woman I speak to bring it up and give me a string of excuses of why they didn't feed or didn't feed for long. I really don't mind how you fed your baby, if you're of with it, so am I. However I get the impression most women aren't ok. I feel if they are armed with the facts rather than press stories berating them 'you're wrong, you've ruined your child's future' then they would be guilt free and could say with confidence it didn't work for us, I made an informed decision and I'm guilt free. We'd all be happier then.

      I think you have to let it go. We all do the best for our children and as a peer supporter we're looking to help the future Mums, whether it's their 1st or 5th child. Whether they've fed before or never. Just because you've successfully fed one baby doesn't mean you won't struggle with the next.

      I'm not hear to nag, I'm here to support Mums in whatever decision they make.

      Sorry for long reply.

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    3. Completely with you, the support needs to be there for those that need it, not not there for fear of upsetting people who didn't feed.

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  5. Fab fab fab post!!! I was listening to this "study" talk on the radio on the way home from work. I bottle fed from 3 months and I've been told I didn't breast feed long enough. Umm really??!! I didn't see them coming to look after z hourly through the night when he was a tiny insomniac little owl baby. He has turned out just fine and it makes me so angry that they're linking breast feeding to intelligence and high earnings. There are a million other things that affect a persons intelligence and stature and it feels like some idiot had raked this whole debate up again and all it's done is make a whole chunk of women feel terrible about themselves :(

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  6. I think you've written this perfectly. No unnecessary defence of your choice. Rightly so. I've breastfed mine (my choice) but I've never made rusks (you crazy fool). I did however once roast a chicken just to get the stock. Then I discovered low salt stock cubes! I think the breast vs bottle debate is so pointless. It's just another measure of comparison and comparison is never helpful. The only thing I do believe in is people who want to breastfeed get the support they need to do so. But other than that? A choice is a choice and none of us should be made to feel bad about any of our parenting choices. Your child. Your way. Brill post Em x

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  7. I never got the whole 'breast is best' thing when it came to feeding my daughter, my decision was accepted no questions asked despite the fact that she was 5 weeks early! I hate all this pressure, I was the only mum in my baby group not to breast feed and the looks I got when I got bottles out was ridiculous. But she was never ill, had a healthy appetite, and no allergies. She is now a happy healthy 9 year old who is rarely ill and is doing really well in school. All guilt absolved! As long is mum is happy that should be all that matters in my opinion. Excellent post x

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  8. When I saw this 'new research' on GMB this morning I turned it off. Immediately. I genuinely think that the money spent on these studies would be better spent elsewhere. We all know the benefits. That doesn't change the fact that some mums can't, won't or don't choose to breastfeed. That's their choice and they should be left alone to CHOOSE how to feel their babies without all of this pressure and guilt. I had an emergency c-section. I was totally overwhelmed, in pain, shocked, frazzled, scared, confused. My son had already had several bottles by the time I even managed to hold him so I just thought it was best to keep him on them. There wasn't really any pressure from nurses and I was never aware of what a big deal it was until afterwards. I think I was a bit ignorant of it all to be honest which in some ways I'm quite thankful of. I had enough on my mind at that time without feeling crap about bottle feeding too.

    It's so refreshing to read posts like this. Bottle feeding isn't a shameful secret. And my son is healthy, happy and thriving regardless of never being breastfed. Just wish they could lay off these studies and pressure :( x

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  9. Great post! It wasnt for me either, I didn't breast feed my girl at all. The boy was a little different, due to his start (a bad one) they weren't sure if he'd stomach formula straight away so I expressed & then when he was home I contined expressing & combine fed for about 3 months. No mums should be made to feel guilty for their choice as long as their babies are healthy & happy xx

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  10. Awesome post, good for you for saying so well what zillions of us feel. For me, being a Midwife is about empowering women to make the right choice for THEM, not ramming down their throat what I think they should do. As long as a baby is fed then I'm happy, no matter whether it's breast or bottle x

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  11. Well said! It's so unfair of the media to keep piling on this pressure. The first time I gave my daughter a bottle at 3 weeks old, I felt so like I'd failed her. She downed it (my milk supply was crap!) and was the most content she'd been since birth. We combine fed from there til my milk completely dried up at 3 months. I'd have no qualms about bottle feeding this one either. Where's the research about contented babies and parents?! We are fab parents for putting our baby's first!!!! Xx

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  12. Yes! I have spent more time beating myself up for bottle feeding than I'd like to admit. But I didn't make enough myself, and they were hungry, and we're lucky enough to live in a country where safe and sterile baby milk just sits on supermarket shelves, ready to buy, and I'M NOT A FLIPPING LUNATIC. Breastfeeding was turning me into one, and I made a decision not to be.

    I want every mother to feed her baby in the way that works best for them both, whatever that is. And stuff the guilt.

    I still feel guilty. Amazing post! xx

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  13. I saw this on the news too, the news reader may aswell have reached through the telly and hit me with a massive guilt stick!
    I too bottle fed, I tried to breast feed, three different midwifes later all groping me and trying to manipulate my boobs it didn't work and I was not prepared to let my baby go hungry. I found that the hospital staff were so pro-breastfeeding it made me feel like a failure only a couple of days into motherhood, just what I needed.
    I try not to feel guilty now, my baby is thriving, he's a little boster and I doubt he'll be behind his breast fed counterparts.
    My mom bottle fed me and I turned out alright.
    Great post.
    Kate xxx

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  14. Hi Brummy Mummy! I'm new to your blog and wanted to say hi :)
    In regards to the breastfeeding, I will admit I used to judge women who decided not to breastfeed a lot more than I do now. It's because I never thought it could be as difficult as it was with my first one. It was hell for a few days and I came very close to giving up. I managed to get some advice and in the end it was all ok and I carried on. My issue was incorrect latch but nobody spotted it until it was almost too late. The big problem in this country is that there is not enough help, support and advice for mums who struggle with breastfeeding..and then when they stop they get attitude from fricking everybody!

    I wouldn't worry too much about that study. Journalists often mistake correlation with causation and misreport it (not that I looked at the methodology of the said study). The better outcomes of breastfed babies can for most parts be explained with socio-economic factors not the actual milk.

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  15. Brilliant post! It's wrong how those who bottle feed are made to feel guilty. Parenting is hard enough without the constant judgments. x

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  16. Very well said. Mums don't need judgement from anyone...we can do that all by ourselves. Instead focus should be put on help, support and services regardless of how they feed their baby. I agree with Spidermummy it's about EMPOWERING. xx

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  17. I never got on very well with breast feeding either. It was always a nightmare and with my first two I gave up after 2-3 weeks. Then with my third he was in the neonatal unit and they MAKE you pump milk and say it is medicine so basically make you feel really shit, Anyhoo turns out I only produced minute amounts and that is why my first two and me were miserable on it. For some women it just doesn't work out and thanks for highlighting this Emma x

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  18. A great post, I think that this is just another thing that people judge parents about. People should feel under no pressure to do anything, they should do what they feel is right for their baby, themselves and their family, and that is a decision with a lot of factors so no-one else can make that decision for you or tell you that you have made the wrong decision.
    I just don't why people feel it is acceptable to judge others for something that is none of their business! No-one should feel guilty, it's such a shame that people do.
    I am breastfeeding Boo but I get a lot of judgement about that both now at 15 months, but also from the beginning too (stares, people asking me when I am going to stop, people telling me I should stop, people telling Boo she is 'too old for that'. -I think Boo and I will decide that for ourselves thanks)

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  19. Great post Em. They make it sound so easy when you are pregnant! Easy it is not. I did 5 weeks with my first and stopped when I was weeping on the bed with the sheer exhaustion of a baby who wanted feeding every hour and I felt like such a failure. With my second every feed was a battle because he was not interested. He hated the boob! I persevered for 5 weeks because I felt I had to do the same for him as I did for my first. Both times it was a hard slog that never came naturally. Everyone stops for the right reasons and we still all feel bad about it. It's not bottle or breast that's best. Whatever works for you is best.
    Loving your work. x

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  20. Fab post lovely, I breastfed O for the first 6 weeks of his life and it was a nightmare. Every time he went on the boob he fell fast asleep so the only way to get breastmilk in him was to sit expressing, the sound of that electric pump haunts me to this day. He was losing so much weight it was completely the right decision for us to move to bottle feeding. It's makes me so angry when these "research" studies are released giving mothers another reason to feel guilty. Bollocks to it! xx

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  21. Great post! I wasn't able to breastfeed and every time I used to hear something about how brilliant and important breastfeeding was, it used to get me down. It was really hard trying to deal with everything that being a new mum throws at you and then the guilt too!

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  22. Love this post, Em.

    The pressure to breastfeed plus the disappointment and guilt when I couldn't was overwhelming in that first week of motherhood. It tainted what should have been a magical time. They are days I will never get back again.

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

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  23. This Is a spot on awesome post!
    I was bullied by midwives into breastfeeding and didn't really want to. I caved am gave my son a bottle on the first night back from hospital and hid it behind some books when the midwife came the next day.
    Turns Our he was dehydrated and had to be hospitalised and fed through a nose tube for a week. All because I was bullied to breastfeed and it wasn't working! That put me off.
    I Also sucked at weaning.
    My kid though? He is super clever...almost too clever infact.
    And he drank Aptamil and eats McChicken nuggets from time to time (ok, a lot! Feck it)
    Let's just all cut ourselves some slack and do what we feel we can do!
    I want to play post offices with you. You sound like a hoot! Xxxx

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  24. Do what you want I say, my first the midwife suggested a bottle as my milk was poor he then slept and so did I ha ha ha! Never feel guilty though back in the olden days all baby's were bottle fed I think when formula came out is there a generation who are a bit dim?

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  25. I heard the story on radio four and even though I did breast feed I felt guilty! You see the research says you have to feed for over a year- with no.1 I tick that box I fed her for 15 months -phew. With no.2 I only fed exclusively for 6 months and I (gulp) switched to bottle at 10. Should I just start paying the extract £70 a month into her account now? What if she asks me about it when I'm older? I think there is already a huge culture of guilt in parenting and I don't think more breast feeding research should be top of our list of priorities.......although I have to take issue with the post above - I'm pretty sure in the majority of olden days everybody breast fed since plastic and formula hadn't been invented!!! That doesn't mean we should go back - the infant mortality rate was also much higher- for some mums formula is literally a life saver :)

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  26. Great post. I breastfed my babies, which was my decision and right for my family. It took a few days to get established with the eldest, which was a really stressful time, but I was very lucky that the other two got it straight away. Everyone has to do what is right for their own physical and mental health, so they can be the best possible mum to their kids.
    I might have breastfed, but I can count the times I've done craft with my kids on the fingers of one hand! ;)

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  27. There are so many contributory factors to how much one earns and ones IQ. The law recognises that the nourishment path of a child is first and foremost up to parents; and there are many options. Each one must decide what is best for the family and relationship. So sad that so many mums feel bad for their feeding choices, when they know they are giving their child(ren) their best. #aNoviceMumblogtrip

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  28. Love, love, love this post. I think weirdly I didn't get pressured to breastfeed as they were all a bit unsure and unable to comment on the two babies situation. I think the mental health of a mother should be primary concern, pressure and worries of breastfeeding can cause so many indirect issues for the whole family. We've all got to do what feels right and what we're able to do at that time. xxx

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  29. I totally disagree with the suggestion that research into what is best for babies should not be carried out because the results are making you feel uncomfortable. Babies have no voice, they cannot speak up for themselves, and so it is vital that science attempts to discern what is best for them. If not, we are effectively halting human growth because it makes us feel discomfort (growth in humanity has tended to be resisted throughout history for this very reason).

    As mothers, we often suppress uncomfortable feelings for the good of those who are smaller and dependent on us, ie when we want to lose our temper but force ourselves to be patient. This is no different. Where we can accept our flaws and humanity, that is where we will teach our children most. I will never be a perfect mother, I will harm my son as he grows, it is a given. There never was a perfect parent. But do you know what? The fight to find what helps to create healthy, balanced humans should continue regardless.

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  30. I have loved reading all of posts i've seen today about this damn article. Yet another way to make mother feel like they have failed. My daughter was hospitalized as I felt SO pressured by the hospital breastapo despite the fact that I wasn't making any milk whatsoever due to the most horrendous internal infection. I'll still never forgive myself for not putting my foot down sooner and feeding my daughter how I wanted and how I needed to. If it wasn't for formula even existing I dread to think what would have happened to her. Isn't it terrible I still feel like I have to justify my decision every time articles like the one yesterday are pubslihed?!
    Thank you for writing such an honest post on an unnecessarily taboo topic xx

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  31. so very well said as always x

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  32. I thought about writing a similar post myself after I saw this "research" I couldn't breastfeed mine either and I felt so guilty the first time round - I felt like a complete failure because not only did I end up having an emergency c-section I then couldn't breastfeed - the odd one out in my NCT group.

    Cue mad expressing of my milk instead which I did for both my children for 8 whole weeks - it was so impractical but I felt like I HAD to do it.

    Motherhood is hard enough without this "research" to make us feel inadequate!

    Great post xxx

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  33. Great post Em. I am of the same reasoning. I couldn't breastfeed and even though I expressed for a week, I wasn't producing enough milk. I was made to feel pretty shitty by some people for it and felt awful. But as you have so rightly put this is no reflection on how I feel about my child. xx

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  34. Thanks for posting this. Both my babies were premature and I desperately wanted to breastfeed but it just didn't happen with my first and with my second being three months early I expressed for three months while dealing with a baby in hospital and a toddler at home. I remember feeling so embarrassed bottle feeding in public. Mothers do not need this pressure especially in less than perfect circumstances. Both my children are healthy and I can't see any differences in them compared to their peers who were breastfed!

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  35. Couldn't agree more Em and I wrote a post on the subject of bfing v. bottle feeding some time ago in which I said: "Environment, class, money and parental age are all likely to affect the outcomes for each and every child (which is not to generalise that children from lower class, more economically deprived backgrounds will always do worse educationally but just to say that there is certainly more liklihood of a difference for these reasons that there is because of the ways in which each was fed as a baby)." - and this was written way before this research came out. X

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  36. yes. yes. yes. I couldn't keep up with my little mans appetite and after a week of painfully trying to breastfeed I put him on the bottle. My husband said that it was better for him to have a mum that was happy, rather than a miserable mum. There is so much pressure to do things the 'right' way and there is no right or wrong way, just what is best for you and your baby. Well done on a very brave and great post.

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    1. yes to this, could have written this myself!! My giant 11lb baby wasn't getting enough from me so my breastfeeding journey lasted all of a few days. We switched to formula and it made everything easier! x

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  37. Thank god for normal women! I bottle fed both my sons. They turned out absolutely perfect. I don't love them any more or less than a mother who breastfed. It's not a competition so let's not make it one? Wonderful well balanced post x

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  38. I breastfed both of mine, but with my eldest it was a total struggle, and I persevered through many days and nights of crying (mine) so I wouldn't 'fail'. As though feeding him to make sure he got bigger and healthier would be failing him - isn't it terrible how Mums are made to feel?! In the end, I mixed fed him - breast during the day, bottle when Daddy got home and took over. Amazingly, my mixed feeding regime - which I was told was a bad thing - hasn't stopped him from growing up into a gorgeous, healthy 12 year old boy. Brilliant article. You are spot on.

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  39. I made a choice to bottle feed, not for medical or any other reasons just because that is the way i wanted to do it, i feel no shame to each their own and all that xoxox

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  40. My favourite quote from the guardian, 'They found that all the breastfed babies had greater intelligence...' Really?? So out of 3500 people every single one of them that was breast fed was more intelligent than every single one that didn't? Utter rubbish. My brother was exclusively bottle fed, I was exclusively breast fed. My brother is more intelligent, has a higher IQ and earns way more than me. Good thing we weren't in their study or we'd have wrecked their results! I still feel guilty now about 'failing' to breast feed my now 4 year old. It was one of the hardest times ever, and I don't know if I will ever look back and not feel guilty. Mums can never get it right no matter what!

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  41. I've just come across this post, a bit late to the party I know, but you've managed to sum up exactly how I feel but haven't managed to put on paper. My son is 16 months old, and I've battled with bottle guilt from his first bottle at 48 hours old. I've spent most of his life making a big deal of the excuses, the reasons behind him being formula fed, but I've reached the point where I need to stop. Both my SILs bf exclusively until 1, in fact one is still going at 17 months, but I've had no negativity from them, in fact I became their source for information on bottles and sterilising! I've spent a long time beating myself up about "giving up" regardless of the fact that I spent that first week in agony, he wouldn't latch, I had an undetected infection from a traumatic birth which then meant non-bf friendly antibiotics... but all I see is giving up.

    Thank you for writing this. It has really helped me realise that it's definitely not just me feeling this way. I'll get over this guilt one day, I know I will, and reading posts like this is going a long way to making that easier :)

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  42. Great blog post. I chose to bottle feed. Yep chose..for entirely selfish reasons..I wanted help. I needed help. I knew if I had to do every single feed, be the one up every single night, have zero me time for the first few months I would go insane. I know my own strengths and weaknesses and I needed the help and I refuse to feel guilty about that. There's plenty of other parenting choices to feel guilty about every single day. I genuinely think happy Mammy happy baby and every Mother needs to do what is right for them and for their families. One size most definitely doesn't fit all.

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  43. Well said! I'm so pleased to see someone having the balls to say this! I chose to bottle feed both of my children. I have absolutely no problem with breastfeeding but the idea of doing it repulsed me and I really resented the pressure I was put under by professionals. If anything it set me against it even more! Both of my children are healthy and well balanced. My daughter is 20 months and doing really well at nursery and my son is 8 and I'm not bragging but he is on the gifted and talented register and I'm only saying this to prove the point that bottle fed babies have as much chance of making it in the world as breast fed and as parents we shouldn't be made to feel bad about our choices when we are just trying to do our best.

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  44. Bloody brilliant post! Spot on xx

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  45. Really well said. It made me a little emotional reading it. I only have one child who is now 16. I was desperate to breastfeed but for a reason I don't know my 'equipment' didn't work as it should. I had to bottle feed or my baby would starve. At my 6 week check up I saw a visiting health visitor who told me my 'baby blues' were wholly my fault because I wasn't breastfeeding and that the lack of breast milk had caused me and my baby not to bond. I am now, in glorious hindsight, firmly of the opinion she was talking bollocks and massively contributed to serious post natal depression setting in. Like all Mum's I did, and still do the very best I can for my girl. She is achieving, and has done through school, consistent A * grades . Could breastfeeding have made her better educated? Who knows? Name me a single mother who isn't doing the best THEY, not others or health professionals, know how to do.


    Phew, that feels better. That vent has been 16 years brewing!

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  46. Well huni, I will probably get trolled more than you, but I chose NOT to even try to breastfeed. I didn't want to do it and knew it wouldn't be for me. Well done for writing this, we all do what is best for us and that's what matters xx

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  47. I've been lucky to find breastfeeding easy, breastfed my son till he was nearly two and still going with his little sister. Guess what? My boy's severely autistic. I guarantee he will never have a high paid job, maybe not job at all (this isn't a pity post, he's healthy and happy and perfect). What I take from this is, maybe breastfeeding does make a difference to that stuff (that's not why I did it, it just works for us). But that difference is tiny. There are so many bigger things that will have so much more impact on their lives! And loving parents, whatever your kid turns out like, is the only thing that we know makes all technical difference in the world.

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  48. You have just earned an enormous amount of respect from me! Well said and well written,i wanted to breast feed but even though i had loads of milk it was too thin to fill my babies,they couldnt latch on because my boobs were too big and quite frankly all it resulted in was a very emotional upset mummy and a frustrated,hungry baby!I put her on the bottle and she took to it straight away .I really dont think mothers who choose to bottle feed for WHATEVER reason should feel guilty,you do the best you can and thats all people should expect

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  49. Great read. At the end of the day nothing is better for a baby than a happy, confident, loving mother. If breastfeeding is making mum miserable, anxious and possibly depressed then persevering is clearly not the best for either baby or mum!
    I breastfed for 5/6 months with my 1st son and although I'm finding it more stressful and sometimes difficult with my second, I'm already thinking I have to keep it up for the same 5/6 months just so they're equal!
    Silly? Probably, but there seems to be this thing in many of our psyche's that this is what we have to do. It would be very refreshing if there wasn't the stigma of 'giving up'.

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  50. Well said. I had twins, one of whom spent a few days in special care. I tried to breastfeed but decided it wasn't for me. My girls are both very clever, are not overweight (surely that's down to diet, not whether you're breast fed), and have no known allergies. Another lady I met after I had my girls, also had twins and tried to breast feed but her babies were always crying because she wasn't producing enough milk. The health visitor told her the only way to build up her milk supply was to rest in bed all day- yeah right! In the end, she was advised to bottle feed or her twins' brain development could be affected. Breastfeeding is not always best.

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  51. My best friend was bottle fed and she is some super duper very high up manager woman who also runs a her own business and earns an absolute fortune. I was breast fed and, before becoming a 'stay at home mum' I earned just over minimum wage as a receptionist. And we are both very happy and healthy. Study debunked!

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  52. I wish that all the money that gets funnelled into proving how great breastfeeding is instead went towards supporting women to feed successfully. I desperately wanted to breastfeed my twins, but they were sleepy and didn't feed properly, and suddenly they were three days old and had dropped 15% of their body weight and we were back in hospital. It was like all the midwives had given a bit of well-meaning advice and then just sort of watched it happen until we had to start using formula. Every woman who wants one should have access to a breastfeeding counsellor in hospital and continued support at home. That is how to improve breastfeeding rates in the UK.

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  53. Brilliant post. I mix fed both of mine, despite being warned off it because of 'nipple confusion.' My eldest had spent quite literally the whole day feeding, I was exhausted and an emotional wreck, so my husband went and bought a bottle of pre made formula and painstakingly tried to feed her from a spoon and cup. Within 1/2 hour I'd ordered bottles, powder and a steriliser from Amazon. We never looked back and nor did she. She was much happier for being full, my husband got to share the feeding duties and I had more sleep. Win win win.
    With my youngest, 1 week in my nipples were red raw and bleeding. I called him a little vampire, amongst other things. And he cried all the time. We took the tough decision to introduce a bottle. He loved it, became the happiest baby in the world and I beat myself up about 'not being able to even feed my baby myself.' Until one day, we were at a birthday party and one of my 'mum friends' who is staunchly pro breastfeeding, pointed out that having seen the difference first hand in my little boy, she'd become a supporter and was even trying to introduce her little boy to a bottle.
    My mantra now is 'do whatever gets you through!'

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  54. I'm so sad to be even writing this but I feel some balance is needed here. Ive been thinking about this all night. This is such an emotive issue and im glad that you've helped to express the frustration and upset of loads of mums but I'm the opposite and feel a little defensive.

    I am a first time mum and exclusively breastfeeding. I am clueless and bumbling along the best I can trying to do the right thing. Since having our gorgeous baby I have had the opposite experience to you, whatever has happened I've been told to "top her up", "give her a bottle", "maybe she isn't getting enough". Ive had this since day one. She's not sleeping? Give her a bottle before bed. She's crying again? Your milk might not be strong enough. Ooh she's refluxy? Try some formula. Are you sure she's hungry? Why not give her a bottle. Doesn't dad want to bond? (Don't even get me started).

    These statements have been repeated to me by midwives in hospital, the nursery nurse in hospital, my health visitor, my husband, my in laws, friends and random strangers. It is purely the stubborn middle child in me that kept me going. I've cried, doubted myself, researched, spoken to others and not known what the frigg to do when everything in me has told me to keep going but it seems everyone else thinks formula is the answer.

    My baby was by no means little, she was over 10 Pounds born but eventually and 4 and a half months I realised that my body had grown this little miracle. My wonderboobs had sustained her this far so why the hell was I still doubting myself?! Almost nightly I have "the doubt" still when I'm on the gazillionth feed of the night. I secretly bedshare to help to facilitate breastfeeding or I would literally drop her when I drop off. I don't want to be seen as one of "those moms" or a lactivist or ridiculed by even my friends so many people don't know I'm breastfeeding although I feel it's massively important to normalise it. When I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed but was concerned I wouldn't be able to, I didn't know enough about it, I knew however I'd be able to use hungry bang or night time or follow on milk to "help" if I needed to. And that's the problem. The bloody adverts are everywhere. The research isn't. It's taken 5 months for me to understand why breastmilk is so good and that's thanks to the research and rising profile of it. It really is a wonder food and im so proud of my body for making it. And I'm so proud that after struggling for 8 weeks with tongue tie my baby managed to keep going. I'm so proud of my boobs (although they're changing from anything recognisable now) but I can't tell anyone. Because I'll upset someone. And it's not their fault but it's not mine either and I so wish I could help to support new moms to know it will be ok and the initial difficulties can be overcome but maybe I'm too much of a wimp and scared of offending that I don't put our story out there. But here it is I suppose. But written anonymously because I don't want the eye rolls and smirks at being the "mother earth" type.

    The research isn't an attack, neither is Jamie Oliver, it's some support for some of us who have made the "right" choice but don't have the confidence nor research background to support ourselves and if it encourages a few more people to keep going then good.

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  55. Thank you for writing this. I was 100% committed to breastfeeding when I has my first. But it just didn't work out. She had jaundice, didn't latch properly, part from sleepiness and part because I found it so painful. And my milk never properly came in. I limped on expressing a tiny amount of milk through to six weeks. I felt awful for months and months afterwards. With number 2 I made it through to 2 weeks through nipples that never stopped bleeding, crying and dreading every feed. If I had gone any longer I would have cracked up. Stopping was the sensible option. People make out easy. But this not the case for everyone. F-off Oliver.

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  56. This may be a little different as a reply, as a father of 6. 5 boys and 1 girl I have seen breast and bottle fed. My 11 year old was bottle fed - he was a premeture baby and I watch as my wife endured the heartache of having to express and feed my boy through a tube whilst in scbu. Then once out of the incubator he latched on quite easily, but we were not prepared for the soreness it would generate. Swollen nipples sore friction burn like rash tender to touch. My wife perservered and continued til six months. Our little girl came along again we went through the whole breast feeding stage it wasn't pleasant my wife was in pain all the time we spoke to midwifes and health visitors who said the nipples and breasts would toughen up - they didn't. My wife nearly crying sometimes when the baby latched on - stuff it enough is enough I said if you are happy to move to bottle we did. Oh my god why had we tried so hard, it was easier to set the routine we knew how much baby was eating they slept better. They didn't turn into monsters or dummies. Our last two were just bottle fed - we didn't attempt breast and it was great, I could take a bigger part in the whole feeding process and once agin no monsters or dummies have been generated. Once weened onto solids they eat a balanced diet same as us, they have veg and all eat most veg and meats etc. they are very rounded and sociable and are doing extremely well in school. I think the point it IF BREAST DOESN'T SUIT YOU DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT BOTTLE FEEDING.

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  57. My mum had no choice but to bottle feed my brother and I - we both have damn good degrees (I have 2!) and he's a librarian, I'm a teacher. All this bottle feeding malarkey is fine for those that can or want to, but surely a chilled mum of a bottle fed baby is better than a stressed to hell mum who can't or dislikes breast feeding?!

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  58. Agree with whichever person above said what is the point of doing these studies? Yes, we know breast milk is good but there are SO many other things that come into play when it comes to Everything to do with raising children.

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