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Breastfeeding - I did my best!
The Breastfeeding Debate
Member Name: mrsgladwin
The Breastfeeding Debate
Advantages: Bottle feeding my baby has made me and him much happier and content
Disadvantages: Missing out on breastmilk nutrients
After completing a chid nursing degree and spending time working with health visitors I was more than aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. Everyone knows that nothing can beat the benefits of breast milk, and the health advantages to both mother and child.
Babies who are formula fed are said to be more likely to suffer from gastro-intestinal infections, respiratory infections, ear infections and eczema amongst others. There is also evidence to show that that breast fed babies are less likely to suffer Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as cot death. Women who breastfeed are also at lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, hip fractures and bone density, and can also help the mother regain her pre-pregnancy figure.
From my nursing background I had already decided to try breastfeeding and after reading up on it and discovering the above information, my mind was well and truly made up. My mum told me of her trouble breastfeeding, and while she supported my decision she told me not to put too much pressure on myself.
Whilst in labour I was discussing my wish to breastfeed with my midwife and she was very supportive. When my labour failed to progress and my baby began to become distressed I was sent for an emergency caesarean section. While the midwife was prepping me for theatre she mentioned my wish to breastfeed and said, "I know you want to breastfeed but please don't put too much pressure on yourself after your c-section". This surprised me, I was expecting her to be fully pushing breastfeeding on me.
After my son was born, and I was wheeled into the recovery room, I was given my baby and told to try breastfeeding. The midwife showed me how to hold him properly and he latched himself on straight away. Result! This breastfeeding lark was a doddle!
This proved to be the only time in three days that he woud latch on. I went from europhic to devastated. Every time I went to feed him he seemed disinterested but was obviously hungry. I was advised to hand express my breast milk but even with both me and my midwife attempting it (how dignified!) I couldn't produce more than a couple of mls which obviously wasn't going to satisfy my little one.
Being in pain and uncomfortable post surgery I was constantly on the verge of tears. No one offered to let me forumla feed him and I felt that I would be a failure if I asked for a bottle. When my mum and husband came to visit both of them took one look at me and insisted we ask for a bottle. The poor little mite wolfed it down! He was obviously starving! To say I was relieved was an understatement! The midwives continued to push breastfeeding but he still refused to latch on, so I continued to hand express, still only getting minimal amounts but I was happy he was at least getting something.
He is now seven weeks old, a lovely weight and everyone, including my health visitor comments on how alert and happy he is for his age. I continued expressing from 4 weeks before I develped a severe chest infection and being advised to stop giving him breast milk while I was being treated. He is now 100% bottle fed. Every time I feel guilty about not breastfeeding, the words of that labour ward midwife rings in my ears. I feel proud that I persevered for so long despite feeling so rubbish. I look at my son now and feel that a happy baby and a happy mum must mean I'm doing something right.
To be honest, as selfish as it may seem, I feel relieved to get my body back. After 10 months of pregnancy (I was overdue) I finally feel my body is my own again. I've still not had any alcohol but I suffer from migraines and back pain and it was difficult to manage all that time without my usual painkillers.
I love feeding time with my son, I enjoy the quiet moments just the two of us and at time, I must admit I feel a bit sad that I didn't breastfeed. The only time he did latch on shortly after he was born, it was the most lovely feeling. Saying that, seeing my husband be able to share in these special times and feed our baby himself, makes it all worth it. Not only does it give me a break, it gives my hubby an opportunity to bond with our son, especially as he is at work during the day.
I feel I am lucky to have the support of my husband and family in my decision to bottle feed, and am happy that they gave me the strength to ask for that bottle while I was in hospital.
I personally feel that when considering whether or not to breastfeed, women should read around and know the facts. Yes breastfeeding has its benefits, but that does not mean you are a poor mother for bottle feeding, or that you love your baby any less than a breastfeeding mother. My happy thriving seven week old is proof of that.
Summary: Bottle feeding does not a bad mother make!