Bottle or breast? That’s the age old question. It’s a question with no right answer and it’s that very statement that is the root cause of some stress in the lives of first time mum’s.
This is a subject area that I have seen become the source of everything from casual discussion to heated debate and everything in-between. I find it quite surprising really, but as with a lot of things these days, despite it being your opinion, someone will view it as WRONG! My intention remains the same with this blog, speak about experience and hope that it can in some way or another help mum’s and dad’s go into parenthood feeling a little bit more confident or at least clued up on what lies ahead.
The method of feeding is decided by some parent’s way in advance of your baby even joining you, a lot like planning the birth ‘this is the method that will work for us’. It’s nice to have a plan, it gives us confidence. We took the approach of, if it works we’ll go for it, if it doesn’t we won’t. It was the same for the birth and remained very much the same for feeding.
You’d think the birth would be the last of the hard work and mum can put her feet up for a bit. Not the case. At some point baby has to feed and the all-important nutrients from colostrum are introduced to baby. I’m sure a lot of men will agree that early parenthood can leave you feeling pretty useless, your babies’ reliance on mum is a lot heavier than their reliance on you. That’s not to say that you don’t serve a purpose, trust me WE DO! But when it comes to delivery and breastfeeding, you’re a mere bystander offering supportive words as likely frustration grows.
It became apparent very quickly that breast feeding wasn’t for us having tried latching and expressing over the first 24 hours, the stress and pain to the point of tears just wasn’t worth it. To me bottle feeding was absolutely fine. Why wouldn’t it be? But as we sat behind the curtains of our post labour ward pod, it became clear that despite not really feeling like she ever wanted to breastfeed, it was a big deal that it wasn’t working. The statement “breast is best” seemed to ring in the background, that combined with midwife advice ranging from “we do recommend you give it a really good go” to “if you don’t want to do it, that is ABSOLUTELY fine” made for a confusing and tough few days. However, on introducing formula it became apparent that not only did Ivy like it, but she was hungry, and really, all we ever wanted was for our baby to eat!
From the very first time I fed Ivy that bottle, I was glad breastfeeding didn’t work out. It gave me one more thing to do with her and start to bond. And believe it or not, I was happy that it meant we could split baby duties at night (I still miss you though sleep). Regardless of what path you take, all I’ll say is this. Boob or no boob, be supportive, the early days are taxing on mum especially, and having to manage stresses like this don’t help. Do the research, don’t feel forced by the opinion of others because at the end of the day it’s YOUR child, do what you know is best for them.