Want help with breastfeeding? There are support groups galore.
Want help with bottlefeeding. There is, oh wait, there is nothing.
I wanted to breastfeed. Whilst pregnant I bought the breastpump and the milk strorage pots and was totally prepared for it.
In our NCT classes we were signposted to all the breastfeeding support groups should we need it. Great. Fab. Thanks.
Several weeks later, the NCT glorified birth didn’t happen, and instead my “body that would only make a my baby at a size it could handle” couldn’t actually handle it and having progressed an amazing 2cm in 19 hours (note sarcasm) I was sent down for an emergency csection.
Thankfully my little girl was fab and healthy but my body which “is made for this” was quite poorly. My little one managed to latch on immediately (once I was stitched back up) and got a good 45 minutes feed – yeah we had this shit down – but as it turned out, breastfeeding for me just wasn’t to be.
My little one couldn’t latch on anymore, I kept losing consciousness because of excessive blood loss, and not only was she struggling but it wasn’t safe for her either.
I tried the breastpump so that even if I was too unwell to feed her, my other half could, but I was only expressing 5ml in 45 minutes. The midwife said this was “great” I wasn’t so sure and I could almost hear my little one shouting “mummy, don’t listen to her, look at the size of me, do you think 5ml is going to touch the sides”
I fed her the 5ml, and I did continue trying, but after 48 hours my little girl wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy.
Cue the ‘mini meltdown’ and the most amazing midwife EVER – Rio at Jessops – I will find her to say thanks one day!!
She found me a private room and, after stripping naked throwing my tired ass on the bed and flashing everyone who lived in the houses opposite, she talked me through my options. I made the decision to try the bottle. She didn’t judge, finally a midwife that didn’t make me feel guilty or try to convince me against my better judgment
My little one guzzled 70ml.
“5ml is plenty” they said, my little one did not agree and from that moment niether did I. I made the best decision for my little girl, I was going to bottle feed.
Happy baby = happy mummy. Happy mummy = happy baby.
For us bottle feeding was the way to go and I was happy with our decision.
But was I?
I found myself justifying myself to every mummy I met who sat with their baby latched on to the breast. I found myself feeling ashamed that I wasn’t breastfeeding my baby. I felt pushed out in certain mummy groups because I wasn’t breastfeeding.
But wait, my little girl was happy. As a baby she did what babies need to do – poo, wee, feed, sleep (and she slept bloody well) and gain weight. So what have I got to be ashamed of?
Now she is 11 weeks old and thriving. She has always had a fab night time routine and in my opinion (and according to the Wonder Weeks app, which is obviously right) she is very advanced for her age.
So why should I be ashamed that my little girl is being bottlefed. I’m not, not anymore.
What I would like to know though is WHERE ARE THE BOTTLEFEEDING SUPPORT GROUPS?
If I was breastfeeding I have support galore but if I ask a question about formula, sterilising, storage – no one really knows. When I say noone I mean doctors, midwives and other health professionals. There are however thousands of women (mummies like me) that need support I see it on the message boards – mumsnet, Baby Centre etc and we try to support each other best we can online but we need that face to face guidance too. To be in a room with women who have the same problems and questions as us.
We wonder why there is a massive breastfeeding vs bottlefeeding debate and why it seems breastfeeding mums and bottlefeeding mums are against each other. Well maybe it is because we are segregating, maybe it is because one is deemed to be “better” than the other.
Here is an idea, why don’t we have ‘feeding support groups’? Isn’t the most important thing in all of this the fact our babies are being fed (however that may be) and that we as mums feel supported and can obtain guidance on all things to do with feeding.
I think it is sad that breastfeeding mums don’t really understand the issues a bottlefeeding mum faces e.g. I’ve known breastfeeding mums call bottlefeeding mums lazy (I can assure you, cleaning and sterilising and making up a bottle to meet the exact time of your little ones feed is not easy, and it is definitely not the act of a lazy person).
On the flip side, bottlefeeding mums, including myself don’t appreciate or understand the issues a breastfeeding mum might face.
Why because it is likely one has never done the other?
A feeding support group for all mummies and their little ones, to talk and share their experiences would not only help them find the guidance they need but also understand and appreciate both sides and maybe help to start bringing this judgmental debate to a close.
What are your thoughts?
Bye for now,
The Sweaty Mummy