Breast is Best Versus All the Rest

This is potentially an inflammatory post but it has been bugging me for 6, nearly 7 years now and I am finally going to get it off my chest.

Marmite!

Well actually the marmite argument of Breast vs Bottle. You can’t be on any middle ground seemingly in this debate. You have to do one or the other. Same as Marmite – you either love it or hate it.

That’s the impression I have often got from both sides and I have been in both camps of feeding yet it still makes me feel uncomfortable even now after three children.

Alex arrived 3 weeks early following an emergency section. She was give formula by the hospital as I’d been under a full spinal block and couldn’t feed her immediately. I tried! I tried so hard to feed her naturally but my milk never came in. I even had a nurse on the labour ward spend nearly an hour with me trying to get Alex to latch properly. I tried everything to do it but it wasn’t going to work. The situation was made even worse when my not-so-helpful Health Visitor became the helper from hell!

Alex had lost some weight at 3 weeks old and was suffering a little bit of jaundice and my HV decided I HAD to go to the doctors and hospital to get her checked out. We spent an unexpected 10 hours on a long Friday at the LRI waiting for blood tests, urine samples etc etc despite the fact that her weight loss was all of 3 ozs not the 8ozs my HV had incorrectly weighed those 10 or so hours earlier.

The following Monday there was an almost gleeful look in the HV’s eyes when she saw they had taken blood for jaundice tests (which were fine) and she refused to believe the weight loss hadn’t been as great as she had determined. she then instructed me that i was to feed Alex every three hours but i was to express what i was going to feed her so i could see exactly how much she was taking.

Three hours! It was taking me half an hour to express, half and hour to feed, half an hour to resettle and then i had to sleep, eat, live for myself before we started all over again. I tried! I really did but it didn’t work so, in the end, for my own sanity, I switched to bottle and was vilified by several of the breast brigade.

Jack was part and part. Again I tried to feed him myself but he wasn’t getting enough so we supplemented with formula. Goodness! This got me flack from both quarters. I shouldn’t be supplementing! i should just give him formula! There was no middle ground.

With Ben I “got it right”. I was succeeding and managed to feed him naturally for 18 month before we both decided it was time to stop. This time I got vilified because I “should have stopped at 3/6/9/12 months”, “Do you have to do that in public!” etc etc etc.

I guess what I am trying to say is before you judge someone by their baby feeding actions maybe we should give some leeway to all circumstances and all ideas. Yes, ideally breast is best for the baby but sometimes it isn’t possible and it isn’t fair to make someone feel like crap because they can’t and the same for the opposite – don’t make people feel that they have “outgrown” their motherly usefulness by telling them it is time to give baby a bottle. Let mum decide and support her in that decision.

And as for the whole nestle thing…….

I had written a whole long post to this bit but decided against it! Maybe another time when i am feeling a little braver.

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