Breast vs bottle, it’s a hell of a debate. Some people say breast is best, some argue that bottle feeding makes a less dependant child. I say, do what makes YOU happy! If you don’t want to breastfeed, then don’t; if you can’t breast feed don’t feel like you’ve failed. There are so many factors to consider that it’s just downright unfair to judge someone on the decision they made. A fed baby is a happy baby.
That said, I chose to breastfeed both my girls. It definitely hasn’t all been plain sailing! So here’s the story of my two breastfeeding journey’s (so far anyway).
Before I even got pregnant I knew I wanted to at least try and breastfeed. It’s free, it meant I could steal back my baby whenever I wanted cuddles and it just seemed easier, no need to sterilise and make bottles every few hours.
When Autumn was first born she latched like a champ! I naively thought it would be really easy from then on. Oh how wrong I was! The first night in the birthing centre was pretty easy, she mostly slept (I did not) and when she wanted feeding I fed her lying down, which I found really easy.
The issue came in the morning, the way they were telling me to hold her I just couldn’t do! They wanted me to hold her with one arm through her legs, supporting her back and my hand holding her head with the back of her neck. I have very long babies and very short arms. It wasn’t working! They kept telling me it was fine, her latch was good and there was no need to worry. But it didn’t feel fine, the pain was awful, my nipples were sore and cracked and I was curling my toes and crying with every feed.
In the end, I started pumping and giving her a bottle, which led to topping up with formula. After about 3 months of this I got fed up. I sat down in my nursing chair, looked at Autumn and said “we’re going to get this right!” I decided to hold her in a way that was comfortable for me. I had my water bottle and snacks by my side and I was ready to push through the pain! She latched instantly and it felt like a miracle! No pain!! She fed for about 5 minutes and then fell asleep. I started to worry, I’d been repeatedly told she should feed for 20 minutes on each breast. So after 6 feeds lasting no longer than 8 minutes I decided to see the breastfeeding specialist at the birthing centre.
She asked to see me feed Autumn which I did, and she was pretty happy with that. She then got me to use the hospital grade breast pump to try and see how much I could pump and whether there was a supply issue. WELL! She gave me 30 minutes to fill a 150ml bottle. Less than 10 minutes after she left the bottle was full and I asked for another. Turns out I had a massive oversupply and a forceful let down which was the cause of most of our problems. She told me Autumn was getting more than enough milk in her 5 minute feeds and I shouldn’t worry.
Other than the occasional blocked duct it was easy as pie from then on. I fed Autumn for 13 months; I only stopped because we decided to try for another baby. Weaning her was easier than I thought, I know some people have a lot of issues but I slowly cut her down to one feed before bed and after a week or two I eliminated that and she was pretty much fine. The first two nights she was a little confused but she didn’t seem too bothered.
Fast forward 10 months and baby Zelda-Mae is born. She latched insanely quickly, pretty much the second she was placed on my chest, and she fed for over and hour! She had another feed before we left the BC that night. I think, because I knew what position was comfortable for me to feed her in and I knew what a good latch looked like, it made things much easier! I have the same oversupply and letdown issues as last time so Zelda is often very windy and gets covered in milk! I’ve had one bout of a really blocked duct which I was very worried would turn to mastitis but I managed to clear it!
The only issue we’re having this time is that she’s being sick more often than I would like. And not just posseting, she’s had I think 4 episodes of quite violent vomiting where she brings up what looks like an entire feed. I’m hoping it’s just reflux or something simple, my husband had pyloric stenosis as an infant and I am concerned that that could be the cause. But hopefully it’s not!
So there it is, my two breastfeeding journeys to date. I don’t know how long I’ll feed Zelda for, I’m almost 100% sure she’s my last baby so I might feed her for longer than I did Autumn. But who knows!
Let me know your breastfeeding experiences in the comments!
Thanks for reading and stay strong Muma’s!