Home babies How my own experience of breastfeeding turned me right off the subject

How my own experience of breastfeeding turned me right off the subject

A FEW days ago I posted on Facebook how I was bored of the whole breastfeeding thing – and as a result people went a little bit nuts, either agreeing wholeheartedly, slagging me off personally, or getting into pretty heated arguments with each other. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?

Many seemed to miss my point entirely, many seemed to just jump on the bandwagon of ‘debating’ the whole breast v bottle issue, without actually realising this wasn’t what the post was about in any way shape or form. Maybe I should have written that I was bored of the whole ‘feeding’ thing. It seems to me people can’t just let mums feed their babies how they want (or have to) and keep quiet about it. That’s what I’m bored of.

Some mums left funny jokes to lighten up the mood (definitely needed), some posted selfies of them breastfeeding (not really sure why, but thanks anyway), and others helpfully shared my post on a local private breastfeeding support group for the ‘debate’ to rumble on – although I can’t help thinking this must have been rather one sided seeing as, well, everyone was a BF mum. But it gave people another chance to slag me off, especially when they knew I couldn’t respond, so it achieved one thing, I suppose. Being called a ‘knob’ has literally been the highlight of my blogging career so far!

Trying to do my best

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bothered about people attacking me personally. I’m a blogger and was fully aware a post referring to BF was likely to provoke a reaction, and was totally expecting a response. (The post reached over 2,450 readers, people were always going to have something to say) I’m also a journalist and with 15 years experience, I’m used to reaction and am pretty hard-nosed. But, now here’s the shocker, I’m also a person and a mum of three young children trying to do my best.

So after being accused of judging people, not supporting other mums, and being a ‘breastfeeding hater’, I thought I’d ride the wave, and reiterate that my whole point was not about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding and whether people should or shouldn’t do it (an age-old, really quite dull debate) but about how some people feel the need to go on and on about it like it’s the be all and end all of parenting. Clearly it’s not.

Contentious issue

This has to be one of the most contentious issues connected to motherhood, and I’m by no means professing to be an expert – as you’ll see if you read on, I’m probably the least expert person ever, and maybe that’s the problem. But blogging is all about opinions and I just happen to have a platform in which I can share things.

 

Obviously I’m not generalising about every single breastfeeding mum out there, before everyone gets the knives out again, and I’ve heard and agree with the whole analogy of BF being like running a marathon and it’s an achievement if you do it successfully, but there is a very small minority who (in my opinion which I’m completely entitled to) seem to want to boast about it a bit too much. What is that all about??

As a few people pointed out on Facebook, we’re all mums trying to do our best for our children. Why do some people feel the need to act like their way of doing it is better than other people’s? This of course goes for all aspects of parenting whether it’s feeding, sleeping, or even screen time. (I’m thinking of my three year old rather than my babies with the latter, before someone starts judging again).

Backlash both ways

One Facebook commenter said that anytime there is a mention of breastfeeding there is always a backlash by the formula feeding mothers becoming defensive and unsupportive. But I would say this definitely works both ways. A large majority of the comments on the thread were from breastfeeding mothers being seemingly defensive and frankly quite aggressive, many telling everyone how long they breastfed their children and their own story. No bottle-feeding parents did that. But why should there be a backlash in either direction?

Now don’t get me wrong (although some will anyway), I have lots of breastfeeding friends, and just as many bottle feeding friends. One of my bestest friends is feeding her three year old and one year old at the same time, and I love her to bits. My friends and I all bring our children up differently, but it doesn’t define us, nobody is judging each other – we don’t even talk about it which suits us all just fine. Because we’re all just getting on with it.

Nobody is right or wrong

So I thought I’d share my own personal experience, and that of a few other mums who joined the Facebook thread – both breastfeeding and formula feeding. Clearly this could be the most stupid thing I’ve ever done and open myself up to even more attack, but the whole point is that nobody is right. Nobody is wrong. And those that preach about a certain way of doing things are plain idiots if you ask me.

I massively struggled with breastfeeding when Toddler was born. He wouldn’t latch, I had a different midwife and support worker at my house for 10 consecutive days trying to help me, and as much as I was very grateful for their efforts, the conflicting advice coupled with hormones and sleep deprivation became too much. I just couldn’t get my head round being told so much contradictory information. I was a new mum with no clue, and all I wanted was someone to help me.

Desperate to breastfeed

I was desperate to breastfeed because that’s what I’d told myself I ‘should’ do. That’s what a ‘good’ mum would do. Everyone I knew was breastfeeding, and this was clearly the best thing I could possibly do for my newborn baby.

On day three when my baby was losing too much weight and heading back into hospital unless something changed urgently, I was put on that hideous routine many will have experienced of feeding/expressing/topping up around the clock, and spent the next week crying over why I couldn’t make it work. I was failing and I didn’t like it. Breastfeeding was supposed to be a natural thing, so why couldn’t I do it? One midwife suggested the roof of my baby’s mouth was particularly high and that nipple shields might work to provoke the latch action. This was a lightbulb moment in that horrible first fortnight, and eventually he was feeding – albeit painfully slowly because of all the extra effort needed to get milk through the shields. However it was more than he was getting before, and I thought it was a solution.

But then other midwives, health visitors and peer support workers told me I shouldn’t be using them. What was I to believe? Another thing to beat myself up about until a midwife friend joked that I was hardly going to be arrested for using nipple shields longer than recommended!

So for the next month or so they were my new best friends – despite them being a MASSIVE pain in the arse, especially in public. The number of times I dropped the f*cking things on the local National Trust’s cafe floor and have to start all over again was ridiculous. But I persevered because you know, that’s what ‘good’ mums would do. There are also no pictures of me using them (in fact there are only 3 BF pictures in total anyway) as I was ashamed I wasn’t doing it all perfectly. 

Never mind the fact he would take an hour to have just one small feed as he was having to suck twice as hard through them, then would tire himself out and fall asleep, so I’d have to go through the whole hour again 30 minutes later. I’d often try without and he wouldn’t get a drop, so the shields stayed.

Never mind the misery

And never mind that it was making me miserable, and my husband miserable because I was so upset and stressed at not being able to do what is supposed to come ‘naturally’. Friends and family suggested I stopped, but I was having none of it. Breast is best and all that shit, was what I believed, despite the fact I wasn’t enjoying new motherhood one little bit because of it.

I continued in defiance until our six week GP check when reality hit. He wasn’t putting on weight, and I was told in no uncertain terms I needed to do something about it. The doctor told me I had to seriously think about stopping BF as he wasn’t thriving.

I was GUTTED. Not because I was about to stop BF, but because I’d been an absolute dick for continuing with something that clearly wasn’t working. I’d put my baby in danger because I was determined to breastfeed. Breast is best when it works, but in my case it wasn’t best, it wasn’t working – it was clearly damaging. All my ideals of what a new mother did led back to how they were fed. And it took a stern word from a doctor, to make me wake up and smell the coffee.

No shame

She told me there was no shame in stopping, and that I had to do what was right for him. It was actually a relief to be told by a medical professional that it was okay to stop, that it didn’t mean I wasn’t a ‘good’ mum, and that I wasn’t failing my baby. So at two months I stopped. I wished desperately that it had worked, that all those tips and tricks I’d been given to help by countless advisors had been successful. Looking back I was pretty low about the whole thing – not that I let anyone see that, of course. I totally get how breastfeeding and the problems people encounter with it can lead to postnatal depression.

Then there were twins

Two years later, I was pregnant with twins. I vowed my entire pregnancy I wouldn’t put myself or my babies through that again. I would try, and if it worked, great, if it didn’t, I’d move them onto formula instantly and not beat myself up. Not really sure how I thought I was going to successfully breastfeed twins at the same time as look after a toddler with a husband who works away a lot, but I was open minded, at the same time as being realistic.

Hormones clearly do silly things to you though, as despite everything I’d told myself not to do, there I was in hospital, dead legs still from the epidural, with two lovely healthcare assistants trying to get the Twins to feed. There I was again crying in bed, beating myself up at why it wasn’t working. Less than 24 hours after giving birth I had a peer support volunteer next to me, telling me to make my nipple look like a beef burger (I’ll never forget that one!) and trying to advise me whilst tears welled up in my eyes as I felt a failure all over again. Yes it was early days, but it brought back my previous disaster and all the crap feelings that went with it.

I was doing exactly what I’d vowed not to do, and it was only after a serious chat with the Other Half that I decided my own well-being and that of my family as a whole was more important than breastfeeding. (I secretly think he just couldn’t stand the thought of that noisy breast pump at 3am again!)

Hats off

Breastfeeding is HARD. Breastfeeding twins is even HARDER. So hats off to everyone who does it successfully, especially those who initially struggled. But despite my warped ideals two years ago, it doesn’t make you a better mum. It just makes your bank balance better off not having to fork out for formula!

 

So clearly I’m not a ‘breastfeeding hater’ as I’ve been accused of. Or I wouldn’t have even bothered trying. What I am a hater of is how some people (me included, although I’m totally over it now) are made to feel inferior, or a failure because they didn’t or couldn’t breastfeed. Everyone is different, everyone has their own experience, and not everyone wants “oh I breastfed my children until they were nine” flaunted in front of them. Well done you.

Of course my bad experience of BF has shaped how I feel about the whole subject. That’s called life. I’m definitely envious of others who do it so successfully. And thousands of women have had a much worse experience than I did. I wonder how they feel.

Bored of hearing about it

I totally stand by my original post about ‘being bored of BF’. I’m bored of hearing about it. As I’m sure many of you are if you’ve read this far! The irony of now writing even more about bloody BF is not lost on me, believe me 🙂

Why do some people (I’d like to hope it’s a small minority) make such a big thing about it? And I’m sorry, but who the hell has come up with the phrase breastfeeding “Army”? What an absolute crock of shit that is. To my mind it has aggressive connotations, is intimidating and militant – surely the total opposite of what people need when looking for support during such a vulnerable time.

At the end of the day – and exactly what my Facebook post said if people read it properly – it’s about choice. Albeit I totally get that some people don’t have a choice to start/stop feeding if there are problems, me included.

So there you have it. Seriously people, get over it. We all know a fed baby is a happy baby, however much of a cliche that is. Even the Royal College of Midwives’ now say women should be supported if they choose to bottle feed.

Just let everyone get on with their own thing. And THAT is why I’m bored of it. Not because I’m judging anyone, not because I’m not supporting other mothers, not because I’m a breastfeeding hater, (although I am massively jealous you don’t have to wash and sterilise what feels like millions of bottles every week) but because I DON’T CARE how you feed your baby – just bloody well feed them!

WHAT OTHERS SAY:

After so many responses on Facebook, I thought I’d find a little more out about the experiences of a few commenters:

“Do what you want”

Brutally honest Scottish blogger Sarah, from www.tryingtodoitall.com tried to breastfeed her son for 6 weeks before the baby’s severe acid reflux called time on her efforts. She joined in the Facebook ‘discussion’ this week, so I asked her what she thought.

She said: “I’ve had my own shitty journey with feeding my boy so I get people being a bit tetchy on the subject but a lot of the responses to your post, to me anyway, missed the whole f*cking point. Which was; do what you want, be comfy with it and just get on with it.

“Now I know that breastfeeding remains a contentious and emotive subject with mums from all walks of life; I’m not dismissing that. It’s hard f*cking work and the challenges that surround it often make it impossible for many (me included) – but so long as you’ve made an informed choice it’s really no one else’s business… Unless you make it so.

“Get your norks out and feed if you want to and you’re lucky enough for it to be an option… Or don’t. The only rule that counts is to do whatever you think is in the best interest of the sprog, yourself and your important others. You’re it’s care giver, it’s your call.

“If you’re getting grief from a wrinkly flapped old biddy because your spaniels ears are on show; deal with her in a way that feels comfy for you. I tend to find telling someone they have a big snotter hanging from their nose gets rid of 99% of people.

“Feeding your kid by whatever means you can is a very normal action – why the fuck we’re sensationalising it is beyond me. Normalisation – that’s the key. You’ll not change old wrinkly flaps opinion by shoving yours down her throat and to be fair, she’s got every right to disagree with you. Get your tits or a bottle out and stand your ground – let her see that her opinion is completely irrelevant to your life, because it is. True power is giving none of the fucks, and all of the care and love to your baby in whatever way suits.”

More support needed

Plymouth’s Emma Smith, has breastfed five babies and feels strongly that more support is needed for those new mums trying to breastfeed. She said: “I was a 20 year old lone mum when I had my first baby. After delivery my son was an absolute natural and I don’t remember any great difficulty getting feeding established. What saddens me is that after trying to make a go of things with his dad and moving in with the ‘in laws’ I was regularly told I hugged my baby too much and that if I was tired I should just give him a bottle. At just over 12 weeks I caved in and moved to bottles which I regret to this day. It gave me more sleep but it wasn’t what I really wanted to do.

“On my second baby in a new relationship I had a son with allergies and awful eczema. Close contact gave him no comfort because in hindsight the warmth probably aggravated his skin and he was sick all the time. I couldn’t take the sleeplessness so thought I’d go for the magic sleep bottles but they didn’t help in the slightest because his problems were too ingrained. I expect if I had been given support and encouraged to cut the foods from my diet that he had problems with we would have had a significantly smoother journey.

“My third son’s breastfeeding journey was more of a battle than a journey because although he fed well their dad walked out on us when our youngest was just 12 weeks old. I had to be mum and dad to 3 young children with all the demands that breastfeeding entails. But, like so many things I did in spite of being a lone parent, I continued to feed him until he was nearly a year because I would be damned if he was going to be put on a bottle because his dad wasn’t around to support us. It was tiring because he didn’t generally go longer than 3 hours between feeds day or night but to me it was worth it for the health benefits.

“After nearly a 10 year gap I had my first daughter with my now husband. His support was like night and day to that I’d received before. He baked me lactation cookies weekly for the whole year I breastfed, made sure I was comfortable and well fed and had plenty to drink. I was given as much time and as little pressure as possible to succeed. I only stopped feeding at a year because I developed quite an aversion linked to awful morning sickness with our second daughter. But, again, the day our second daughter was born he fired up the lactation cookie making production line and took on many of the roles I would have had with our older daughter to free my time up for all the hours needed to feed our second daughter.

“They’ve all made my toes curl with pain and my nipples bleed and make me so tired I can’t remember what day of the week it is or care whether I’ve got sick on my clothes at baby group, but i wouldn’t change any of it for the world. It’s hard work and you have to put your wants and desires right to the bottom of the pile but seeing how quickly they gain independence I can take that for such a short period of my life.

“Watching the breastfeeding programme on Channel 4 the other day highlighted the awful drop in support that I’ve seen first hand in my nearly 19 years of raising babies which I am confident is one of the biggest reasons so many mums stop feeding earlier than they wanted to. Not only is formal post natal support thin on the ground because of clear under funding and over demand for services, even here in Plymouth which is deemed good, but also society expects every new mum to walk out of hospital a size 8, do the shopping and put dinner on the table the same as normal.

“Breastfeeding requires battening down the hatches and staying in for weeks and weeks to get it up and running successfully. We are all so used to fitting 101 things into our days I imagine to most mums it seems really quite boring to go through that stage before you can venture out into the world, only to be judged by old bats like they interviewed in the documentary who say breastfeeding should be kept behind closed doors. That’s where I believe the breastfeeding “army” term originates. You can’t simply breastfeed your baby. You have to fight for your right to do it if you also want to have some normality in your life which isn’t kept behind closed doors, and which incidentally also helps prevent you from becoming a statistic as a new mother suffering from depression who struggles to get the support they need.”

“Emotive time”

Another Plymouth mum of two, who didn’t want to be named, breastfed both her children with varying success, and agrees the NHS needs to provide better training for staff to help breastfeeding rates improve, and help those who choose to breastfeed struggle less.

She said: “I have to say, whilst I’m sick of people lecturing you on how you should feed your baby I agree the NHS needs to provide better training for staff to help those who choose to breastfeed. I’ve witnessed some truly shocking advice from healthcare professionals in my time, ranging from midwives, health visitors, paediatricians, nurses and supposed lactation specialists. I’ve only found that consistent advice that actually worked came from volunteers who give up their free time to help and who have to pay to train. I’ve seen doctors and nurses contradict themselves with so many different types of advice, everyone seems to have a different diagnosis and a lot of advice I’ve seen given out by health care professionals is often wrong and results in the end of a woman’s feeding journey.

“I think it’s just down to poor funding, lack of resources and bad training when something needs to be done about supporting mums who choose to breastfeed so they don’t wind up feeling like failures when seven different doctors, nurses and midwives tell them 27 different types of advice and subsequently end their journey when they could just do basic things like check for tongue tie which is the biggest problem out there. It stops so many mums breastfeeding but no one seems to know how to look for one and women have to pay for a private specialist. Never mind the sheer agony of breastfeeding a tongue tied baby, I’ve quite literally had my nipples shredded by both children because of this and I can 100% see why so many mums stop feeding if they’re not getting this resolved and they’re enduring so much pain. The only reason I didn’t quit feeding both kids then and there when I was bleeding was because I was determined to breastfeed and I sought out research from the Internet that got us the right diagnosis in the end and stopped the pain.

“I also think there is a select group of mums who only want to boast and won’t hear otherwise about formula and its benefits. They also want to talk quite heavily about how formula is bad and the ‘risks’ of using it. But it is seriously detrimental for a new mother to hear that when she’s just looking for support.  

“I’m far too afraid to share something about breastfeeding on social media because of the backlash. It’s such an emotive time and I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum after switching from breast to bottle with my son and then succeeding with my daughter – although ironically I got postnatal depression with the child I succeeded with. I don’t feel confident enough to say on social media that I’m proud we made it to a year etc like others have done. On the one hand, yes it’s great we got through so much pain and initial struggle to last a year but on another, why do I need to pat myself on the back for a bodily function? But I do see the point that breastfeeding isn’t easy, it’s bloody hard work and sometimes women who want to applaud themselves for overcoming those obstacles get accused of bragging when really they just want to say ‘Hey, I had a shit year but got through it and I’m glad I did”. But I think that minority are swallowed up with the idiots who hashtag the word ‘brelfie’ and just generally want to gloat.”

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee

**********

Did you enjoy this post? You might like some of my others, so how about you have a read of  10 ‘must haves’ to survive the early days with a newborn and toddler or 10 things I wish I’d known before having children

Or if you fancy a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.

If you like what you see, how about you check me out on Pinterest,  Instagram andTwitter too. I’m all over the place!

And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here, and I’ll get back to you during naptime/screentime (!)

 

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62 comments

Alicia Westberry 01/08/2018 - 9:43 pm

I don’t have children, so I’ve never had to deal with this issue. What I can say is that society judges individuals too harshly. Women are particularly hard on other women.

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admin 01/08/2018 - 10:32 pm

You’re totally right, there!

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Gill 01/08/2018 - 10:01 pm

I agree with you completely. I am currently expecting, and a lot of people tell me that breast is best. But I want to prepare myself into not thinking I’m a horrible mum if I can’t breastfeed. People need to learn to understand others more instead of judging right off the bat.

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admin 01/08/2018 - 10:34 pm

You’re probably much more prepared by having that attitude. I’m no expert (clearly!) but I wished I’d been more realistic about it first time round. Good luck!

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Liz Lawson 02/08/2018 - 12:32 am

Great blog. I decided that breastfeeding was not for me early on in my pregnancy and found alot of people suggested that I just try it as this would change my decision. Also anti-natal classes ramed breast is best down my throat. I stuck to my decision and me and my partner enjoyed every minute of bottle feeding our daughter. Mums do what you think is best and enjoy your babies.

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admin 02/08/2018 - 8:31 am

I admire you for not being swayed by the masses. I should’ve stopped sooner but was blinkered. And god knows why I even attempted it with the twins after the first disaster – luckily I came to my senses quickly!

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Becca 02/08/2018 - 9:38 am

I’m with you, in that I hate how it always turns into a debate, which has already been done to death. Everyone knows the science. We’re all aware that breast milk, if available, is the ideal nutrition for babies. Mums who choose, or end up having to, formula feed know this just as well as breastfeeding mums do, so we don’t need to go over it again and again. Thank god we’ve got an appropriate alternative for when breast milk isn’t available. Formula literally saves lives in those cases. For me, it’s about support, either way. The very sad fact of the matter is that the vast majority of new mums start off intending to breastfeed, but breastfeeding rates in the UK are shockingly low, which means that lots of mums who want to breastfeed, end up formula feeding. Some of those mums will have chosen to do so and will be happy with their choice and that’s great. But a lot of those mums just aren’t getting the support they need to breastfeed successfully, which is awful, and then they get made to feel bad about formula feeding, which is even more awful. As a society, we need to be supporting mums, whatever choice they make, because we’re all just trying to do the best we can for our babies. I had a difficult start to breastfeeding my twins, but stuck with it as my babies were doing well and formula is ridiculously expensive when you’ve got to buy twice as much 😂 now I’m having trouble weaning them 😂 Parenting is difficult enough, whatever choices we make, without having to feel like we need to justify those choices all the time. So I’m with you. We don’t need more debates about breast vs bottle (which is what any discussion about either one always turns in to), we just need to support mums to do their thing and get on with raising our kids the best we can. Sorry, this ended up longer than I intended 😂

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admin 02/08/2018 - 9:55 pm

I love this comment, thank you! The debate is so boring, I just wish people got support who need it, whether that’s breast or bottle, then just got on with it!! Oh and I’m so with you about the cost – I stupidly worked out how much I’ve spent in the year I formula fed my twins. I wish I hadn’t!! 😂

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Naomi 02/08/2018 - 9:51 pm

Thank you for this. I have four children, and they wouldn’t latch. I had a breastfeeding supporter come to my house, tried shields, all sorts. In the end I expressed a bit and then moved onto formula, with all four. I still feel the need to justify myself to people, and I hate being made to feel like a second class mum because I didn’t successfully breastfeed. X

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admin 02/08/2018 - 9:57 pm

You’re not a second class mum and you certainly don’t need to justify yourself! The debate is ridiculous and I’m so bored of it. I bet you’re a wonderful mum x

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Jade 04/08/2018 - 11:25 am

I saw your original post and got so irritated that it had turned into a debate considering your point was being over the debate!! I think its one of those subjects that people feel really strongly about and just see red when certain words are used. I am thankful my kids are old enough that i can avoid the subject now as I too am slightly over it and wish we could just let people get on with feeding their kids with support and kindness whatever their choice.

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admin 04/08/2018 - 11:51 am

100% agree! Plus it’s actually a really boring debate. Just do what you want! 🙂

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Mel | Mel's Money Mindset 04/08/2018 - 11:45 am

This debate has been raging for years and I was devastated when I couldn’t successfully breastfeed my first child (over 20 years ago). I tried for 2 weeks and expressed as much as I could, but it became impossible to feed her enough so she went on to bottles, and I have to say she thrived after that even though I felt crap about the whole thing. The guilt I felt was unbelievable, as a young mum I had no idea that you could feel guilt like that, just for wanting the best for your baby.
Both sides of the breast/bottle feeding camps can be as bad as each other when it comes to laying on the guilt, no matter what decision you make, it seems like you can’t win.
For my second child I decided that I would try my best to breast feed her, but if it didn’t work out I was not going to beat myself up with guilt and that’s exactly what happened. I tried, I failed (or should I say, she failed – she kept falling asleep rather than feeding as my breasts are obviously comfy pillows rather than feeding stations!!). When it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen via the breast, I put her onto bottles and never gave it a second thought.
Both of my daughters are healthy and they had my breast milk for at least a couple of weeks with me expressing, so as far as I’m concerned there is nothing to feel guilty about. Mums should be able to feed their baby however they choose and have full support with that decision from everyone around them.
There is enough pressure being a new mum as it is.

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admin 04/08/2018 - 11:54 am

This is so true. I can’t believe I was even momentarily gutted I couldn’t breastfeed my twins after what happened the first time round. As you say, it’s bloody hard enough as it is without feeling like you’ve done a bad job.

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Mel | Mel's Money Mindset 04/08/2018 - 11:45 am

This debate has been raging for years and I was devastated when I couldn’t successfully breastfeed my first child (over 20 years ago). I tried for 2 weeks and expressed as much as I could, but it became impossible to feed her enough so she went on to bottles, and I have to say she thrived after that even though I felt crap about the whole thing. The guilt I felt was unbelievable, as a young mum I had no idea that you could feel guilt like that, just for wanting the best for your baby.
Both sides of the breast/bottle feeding camps can be as bad as each other when it comes to laying on the guilt, no matter what decision you make, it seems like you can’t win.
For my second child I decided that I would try my best to breast feed her, but if it didn’t work out I was not going to beat myself up with guilt and that’s exactly what happened. I tried, I failed (or should I say, she failed – she kept falling asleep rather than feeding as my breasts are obviously comfy pillows rather than feeding stations!!). When it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen via the breast, I put her onto bottles and never gave it a second thought.
Both of my daughters are healthy and they had my breast milk for at least a couple of weeks with me expressing, so as far as I’m concerned there is nothing to feel guilty about. Mums should be able to feed their baby however they choose and have full support with that decision from everyone around them.
There is enough pressure being a new mum as it is.

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Emma Maslin 04/08/2018 - 1:05 pm

A great post. It’s so sad that feeding our children can descend in to a battle of words 🙁

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Rachel ~ Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles 04/08/2018 - 4:30 pm

What a fabulously emotive post! I was lucky enough to BF both my kids for a very long time, but I had a lot of opposition from midwives in the beginning, as my LB was in hospital for a week and not latching well due to a severe tongue tie! I just wanted it to be my decision, either way, and I think that’s what narked me the most. Yes I was a new , inexperienced mum, but I had also made informed decisions and always had the best interests of my kids at heart. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is like you, mums just need to be left alone to feed their babies in whatever way works for them. Whose bloody business is it anyway?! It annoys me just as much when they ask about baby’s sleeping habits/arrangements…but that’s another story! Don’t listen to the narrow-minded haters, they obviously have nothing better to do than than cause arguments. x

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admin 04/08/2018 - 8:25 pm

I love this comment, thank you! Maybe my next blogpost could be about co-sleeping! Ha ha, only joking 🙂 I couldn’t stand the backlash!

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Dr. Nadia 04/08/2018 - 5:18 pm

Breastfeeding has lots of great benefits but it is hard! At the end of the day, the important thing is feeding your baby and loving them—I say this as a Pediatrician and as a mom.

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admin 04/08/2018 - 8:27 pm

Too true – and that’s coming from a professional!

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Chloe (Sorry About The Mess) 04/08/2018 - 5:19 pm

I hate that breastfeeding is always pitted against bottle feeding. The only experience you can comment on is your own, and that’s why no two experiences can be compared. I do think that the amount of emotion that is involved with how our babies are fed is indicative that a whole lot more support is needed in that area.

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admin 04/08/2018 - 8:28 pm

I think you’re totally right. Seems a shame that there’s not more support for people who need it. I was so confused by all the contradictory advice!

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Rachel 04/08/2018 - 5:07 pm

I’ve never breast fed and never wanted to. My friends did, I’ve never seen a problem with it it just wasn’t for me. As long as your baby or babies are healthy and feeding well then that’s all that matters.

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admin 04/08/2018 - 8:26 pm

Totally agree!

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jana 04/08/2018 - 7:13 pm

I worked with someone who managed huge online BB communities back in the day – breastfeeding was the only topic where the FBI got involved because of threats! The guilt and shame around this topic make it so hard for people to be empathetic with each other.

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admin 04/08/2018 - 8:29 pm

Wow, that’s a bit scary! Can totally see how it all gets out of hand though. People feel very strongly about it!

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Jemma Malone 04/08/2018 - 7:59 pm

I’m sorry that you we’re taking wrongly on the internet. Breastfeeding is something I feel really strongly about BUT for me. They’re my thoughts and feelings and shouldn’t be pushed onto anyone else. I’m sorry that the breastfeeding mafia took it out on you online. It’s not fair, but all too common I’ve found.

I successfully breastfed my daughter for 2 and a half years, but when by baby girl arrived earlier this year, I struggled badly with her tongue tie and after admissions to hospital it was decided that she needed formula. Of course, her health will always come first so we did what she needed. But I felt so guilty, especially when other mums would tell me that I should have stuck it out. Trust me I did everything I could possibly have done.

If you baby is fed, healthy and happy – then who cares how they’re fed.

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admin 04/08/2018 - 8:30 pm

I think it’s so sad that other people told you that you should have stuck it out. Like you need to be told what’s best for your baby! Thanks for your lovely comment.

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Emma 04/08/2018 - 10:27 pm

The benefits of breastfeeding are undeniable… but the most important thing is that baby is fed and mum is happy. I feel a little sad that you feel like you have to justify yourself, because you sound like a great mum. These things always seems to spark heated debates and they really shouldn’t. I combiifed both of mine and I had a fair few problems along the way. I was always made to feel guilty for not ditching the bottle – there was always a mum who said something like ‘well my breast dropped off and I still managed to breastfeed, what’s your excuse’ etc. I got so sick of the debate and having to justify my choices and doing what I thought was best for my baby and for me.

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admin 04/08/2018 - 10:40 pm

“My breast dropped off and I still breastfed”, that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all week! I know what you mean, and to be honest I’ve never needed to justify myself before. But I think a few of the people who commented (it was helpfully shared on local BF Facebook groups where they revelled in slagging me off for all sorts of things) were so ridiculous I didn’t want to get into a slanging match so thought I’d write this instead.

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Random Musings 05/08/2018 - 12:51 am

As I’m not a parent I don’t have to deal with this personally, but I think it’s a disgrace when women are shamed for breast feeding in public. Equally, I think it’s a disgrace when women are shamed for bottle feeding. Whether we’re parents or not, can’t we just support each other, or at the very least mind our own businesses and let people do what’s right for them.
Debbie

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Denise 05/08/2018 - 8:00 am

It shouldn’t really matter if babies are fed by breast, combi or formula, surely as long as they are thriving and healthy that’s the main thing here. People have their reasons for the way they feed their baby sometimes it’s medical and sometimes it’s just preference I just don’t get why some people are happy to have a go at others on the internet or in real life over their feeding choices!

I had planned to breastfeed when I had my son earlier this year but was aware that it might not work out. In the end I was really ill 3 weeks before he arrived (I was admitted with pre-eclampsia & ended up developing pneumonia) so never produced any milk but I did try with no success. As his blood sugar fell I said I would just go with formula as I was just done, my body had been through so much plus I lost a lot of blood during my Caesarean too. I was given a bottle then the midwife pissed off! I had no clue how I was meant to hold him as at ante natal classes it’s just breast feeding that they tell you about. I had to Google to make sure I was holding him right (I’d never held a baby before to feed it) then he started to bring up all his milk which again worried me. I buzzed the midwife who told me that was normal as he was a section baby and this would happen a lot over the next few days. Thanks for telling me as I thought I was doing something wrong!! 🙄

Only one midwife told me when at home that I should keep trying to breastfeed as I would regret it! The others were happy enough for me to use formula as I think they thought I’d been through enough. I’ve never felt any guilt though over not being able to feed him, I think I was just relieved at finally being out of hospital and being alive 😊! Wow that was long, sorry 😂 xx

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Gill {of jamjargill.com} 06/08/2018 - 8:23 am

This was one of the real shockers to me in motherhood, this stupid debate and how political it got and how nasty and judgemental which doesn’t help anyone. My stance on it, is give it a go as any breast 🤱 milk your baby gets is a bonus and then after that so what’s right for you and for your family, it is not a black and white issue but any means, and it is harder than I ever thought it would be (especially with twins!) the best slogan I’ve heard all along is “fed is best” and this is unfortunately what debaters of this subject so often loose sight of. X

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admin 06/08/2018 - 8:24 am

I’m totally with you on all of that, Gill x

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Ian 12/02/2019 - 9:18 am

My ex really struggled with Breast feeding, on the first she really felt pressured to carry on, the second she tried again but gave up and by the third she didn’t bother. Which in hindsight was a good thing, because I became a single parent to all three when my little lady was between 1 and 2 and that is one thing I couldn’t do. I would also like to add that I have three fully healthy kids who are now 12, 11 and 8.

This article is well written and informative and a great read to boot. Due to the nature, this topic will always remain contentious. I’m of the opinion that the parents should do what they feel is right. Parents of babies don’t need any extra stress or pressure in their lives.

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/02/2019 - 10:05 am

Ah thanks Ian. It certainly is a controversial issue. I just wish mums could get on and do what they want with no guilt or judgement. Good to hear all your kids survived! 🙂 #itsOK

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Kate - The Mum Conundrum 12/02/2019 - 9:46 am

As someone who has both breastfed and then, with my third baby, been unable to (and so bottlefed) I can’t help but get the rage that people deem it necessary to pass judgement either way! Fed is best. That’s it.

A fed baby and a relaxed mother trumps a bottle-fed baby with an exhausted stressed out Mum. It’s just common sense.

Do what YOU need to do and sod the others!

I *heart* you even more than ever for writing this post! #ItsOK xxxxx

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/02/2019 - 10:10 am

Thanks lovely. I was always going to get stick for joining in the “debate”, but my whole feeling is there shouldn’t even be a debate! Love you too! #ItsOK xxx

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Beth T 12/02/2019 - 11:31 am

A very heartfelt but reasoned piece. For me breastfeeding my daughter, 12 years ago was possibly the most difficult experience of my life. At that time there seemed to be no recognition of the obviously links between struggling to feed and depression with the NHS midwifery service an absolute closed shop when it came to formula – until like you I ended up at A&E with an underfed baby and nurses actually laughing because I’d never thought of formula. I like to think things have changed a lot – the debates I hear seem more reasoned – or maybe not?

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/02/2019 - 3:01 pm

Thank you. I think things have improved since then (your experience sounds awful), and there is a lot more support these days thankfully. Although some say there’s still not enough. I think it’s the whole guilt thing that’s still there though!

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Anne 12/02/2019 - 12:49 pm

What a shame people didn’t understand your original message….after five kids spread out over 31 years I am with you…I’m so bored of the same arguments every time someone mentions BF. It’s such a shame that everyone seems to have to share their opinions instead of just getting on with something that is no-one else’s business. Help and support is needed for whatever choice is made breast or bottle, but those with strong opinions always have to jump in and make you feel worse.
#itsok

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/02/2019 - 3:03 pm

I totally agree! Why can’t we all just be left to make our own decisions.

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Tracy Albiero 12/02/2019 - 1:34 pm

Everyone has a comment and everyone has a story. What matters is what you decide to do to feed your baby. End of story. Oh by the way did you ever make your nipple look like a hamburger? What does that even mean? #itsok

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/02/2019 - 3:02 pm

I have no idea – clearly where I was going wrong 🙂

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Mummyofasquarepeg 12/02/2019 - 8:42 pm

I had a terrible time and gave up after a week, but I was still traumatised by it all for years after. It is such a contentious topic but well done for being brave and writing about it.

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/02/2019 - 9:05 pm

Thank you! Yes it’s pretty horrible when you’re set on it working and you feel like you’ve failed.

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Enda Sheppard 13/02/2019 - 10:57 am

You are so right … it’s about choice. If BF works, great, if it doesn’t there is still a child to be fed.! BFworked well for both ours, and bully for us. I also agree with this competitive, aren’t we great vibe from SOME breastfeeders. Great post. #ItsOK

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 13/02/2019 - 11:12 am

Thanks Enda. It’s a shame as it’s only a tiny minority who make us feel crap!

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Josie 13/02/2019 - 12:23 pm

I think one of the reasons that it’s an issue for our generation is that right from secondary school age we’ve been told over and over “breast is best” (I even have to make a poster about it in child development 😱) Hopefully in a few years it will be a less contentious topic and everyone will be allowed to do their thing in peace. #itsok

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 13/02/2019 - 12:27 pm

Think you’re right. There’s too much pressure!

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Gemma - Mummy's Waisted 13/02/2019 - 5:50 pm

This is such a great post, it’s so disappointing that feeding is still such an issue, when it seems like such an antiquated argument. I went through it myself, there was a huge amount of pressure on me to BF my first, even though he was having none of it. Thankfully a sensible midwife got us onto formula and he was all the better for it, but I was still made to feel guilty (by other health professionals). With my second, I just said what they wanted to hear! #itsok

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 13/02/2019 - 6:01 pm

I agree, it just seems ridiculous! I think I was lucky second time round as none of them expected me to BF twins – especially with a toddler as well so I escaped it all a bit more then!

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Brooke @ HappySimpleMom 14/02/2019 - 6:35 pm

A fed baby is a happy baby! Congrats on finding your happy spot with feeding!

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 15/02/2019 - 10:02 am

Thanks!

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Nicole - Tales from Mamaville 16/02/2019 - 9:06 pm

*LOUD APPLAUSE* – This needed to be out there, and you’ve done a darn good job of it Helen! I had a hard time BF too – first because of a BAD third degree tear I was rushed in for an emergency operation AFTER my son was born – didn’t hold him for three hours so there was no initial skin-to-skin. Then he would refuse to latch, which we found out (five days later) was because of tongue-tie. I tried for two months after that (substituting with formula) but it was a downhill journey from the start ending in me developing mastitis! I was a bit disappointed (only because this was something I really wanted to do as a first-time mum) but realised it’s BEST for him and me. Fed is best and a less stressed mum makes for happier feed times! And #ITSOK if your child is bottle-fed!!!

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 18/02/2019 - 12:02 am

Well said! Thanks hun. It’s amazing how often you hear of it not going well and the mum feeling disappointed about it.

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MomOfTwoLittleGirls 17/02/2019 - 12:32 pm

I thought I had already commented, but maybe not.
I hate that breastfeeding has become some kind of warped competitive sport!
“Oh I breastfed for 6 months.”
“Really? I breastfed for 18 months, 3 days and 5 hours.”
Get over it. It’s not some kind of badge of honour! It’s feeding your child. 99.9%of the human race does that.
Next topic please!
#itsok

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 17/02/2019 - 2:45 pm

Ha ha love that!

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Emma 18/02/2019 - 4:19 pm

I’ve read this post before and I’m still loving it now! I struggled and was pretty rubbish breastfeeding my first two so after a few weeks they were onto formula (and they’re still alive, who knew?) and this time I’ve gone great guns…I haven’t done anything different, it was just easier! Just popped on to comment, I’m off now to tell everyone that my nipples work and I might sit and feed under a spotlight in Costa because, you know I’m the only woman in the world breastfeeding her child and I deserve public worship! #Itsok

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 18/02/2019 - 4:44 pm

Ha ha, that cracked me up!! 😂

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Crummy Mummy 18/02/2019 - 8:47 pm

Goodness – as a breastfeeding mum I hardly dare comment! Sounds like you’ve ruffled a few feathers #itsok

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 18/02/2019 - 8:50 pm

Certainly did with some local BF mums. Shame people can’t just do their own thing!

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