Today on This Morning we saw a debate between a Pro Breastfeeding woman and a Pro Bottle feeding women (their names escape me).
I'm over the moon that Ruth, the presenter, actually admitted that she struggled with breastfeeding and felt guilty about it because of the media and professionals. I am also over the moon that the Pro Bottle feeding lady won the viewers vote about who we thought was right in the debate, albeit by 1% but a win is a win! But the 49% & 51% just proves the devide between the country!
Before Rocky was born I was all set to breastfeed. I had bought a hand held pump and loads of things to aid breastfeeding. I knew what I was getting into, I'd done my research and I had breastfed Kyd for 6 months, although that was 10 years ago. I spoke to ladies online about it and I even read up on Pro Breastfeeding blogs.... although I was aware some people just couldn't and so wasn't really pushing myself in any direction just prepared for any eventuality so had bottles and formula too.
Nothing prepared me for what was to come though!
He was 3 weeks early and tongue tied.He struggled to latch onto the breast from the very start. I tried and tried and tried again on day 1 in the hospital and was told to keep trying. Eventually they told me he was tongue tied and to express into a syringe and drip feed him. I hardly got a single drop into it so how was that any better? But the midwife was there massaging my boobs and expressing into this tiny thing for ages until she got, a massive, 2ml, which was so painful. She said I'd have to do this at home too until my milk came in properly. I was ready and set to do this for him, as feeding him was my main priority but then I asked the following question...
'Should I top him up with formula so I know what he's getting?'
OH MY.... I was shot down like a terrorist. How dare I suggest it.
'No dear, there is no need for that. If you make the effort so will he!' said with a patronising glow on her face.
I was so annoyed as Kyd had issues feeding and we were told in that hospital that this is what would be done, that much I remembered, which is why I suggested it. I went with it. We got home and I tried so hard to carry on hand expressing and struggled. I went to the midwife run drop in at the hospital to discuss cutting his tongue tie and they showed me other ways of feeding from the breast and suggested an electric pump and to come back in a few days. So we went and bought one, which wasn't cheap.
Aged just 4 days he had a midwife come and weigh him... 12% weight loss and becoming slightly jaundice. I knew deep down he wasn't getting enough but we were told to carry on over and over, so I thought I was being over cautious as a new mum, but we weren't!
We were rushed into hospital, where he was seen by the Peads department and we were told....
'GIVE HIM A BOTTLE TOP UP'
Are you fricking kidding me???
I explained to the doctors what had been happening for the 4 long days of his life and they were so annoyed! Not only had if I'd have topped him up with formula, would we not have been there but there was completely no need to have his tongue tie snipped as it wasn't that restricting and would stretch over time! The contradicting advice between professionals at the same hospital was overly and unnecessarily confusing!
So we topped him up with formula every few hours. It was harder than it sounds as because of his weight loss he was so weak he just slept all the time. He wasn't interested in feeding.
ALL BECAUSE WE WERE GIVEN THE WRONG ADVICE!
After all that, it turned out I had a life threatening blood clot and was on a lot of medication not only to thin my blood but to ease the pain. With all this I couldn't breastfeed so I was told to express and throw it away until the meds slowed down and it was safe for him.
Even though it was dangerous to feed him myself because the drugs would be in my milk, I still got bombarded with people telling me that I needed to breastfeed him! I had midwives and breastfeeding specialists coming in and looking into the different meds etc and each told me the same thing...
'carry on expressing you'll get there soon enough and it will be worth it in the end'
The doctor made the most sense...
**with a confused look on his face**
'you're going to express and tip it down the sink for 6 months and bottle feed him on formula and then expect him to remember how to latch on to the breast? That's just a lot of work and not very practical! but it's up to you'
NO it's not practical is it, well said Mr Doctor you tell the others that!!
Why is it Pro or Against anyway? Why isn't it the choice of the parents?This frustrates me so much! It's not fair to bombard parents with breastfeeding info that are not breastfeeding?! Fair enough at the beginning and during pregnancy educate them about the pros of breastfeeding but after that just do it when they want it or ask for it!
Tailor the info to the parents and baby not to the governments standards!
If they don't want to and can't, don't make them feel guilty.
A new mum, first time or not, is vulnerable, hormonal and completely knackered! She has no doubt made her choice and decided for or against breastfeeding. She is under a lot of pressure to get everything right and when she can't, she feels like she has failed at the most natural thing on earth... Being a mother!
This can lead to Baby Blues and Post Natal Depression, which can lead to all sorts of mental issues and problems. Believe me I know.
Why do we have to be made to feel we've failed as mothers?We are told in the media that you bond better with a baby when breastfed.... leaving you feeling like you're not bonding if you don't.
We are also told in the media that it is better for their health if they're breastfed.... leaving bottle fed mums feeling the pressure of failure at the first sniffle.
We are told that bottle feeding babies leads to obesity.... REALLY? Are you sure that's not the McDonalds and Greggs on every corner making it easier to feed children crap rather than cooking?
I wish I could wake some people up....
SOMETIMES Mother Nature says NO!
That is not the mothers fault and to be tutted at and patronised is not going to help her hormonal sensitivities about what is out of their hands when it comes to feeding.
Who's choice is it anyway?The silly thing is I can see both sides and I was desperate to breastfeed Rocky for many reasons and was left feeling like a failure for being to ill to do so. I resented the meds I was on even though they were in fact keeping me alive and I felt my PND come creeping back like a baddy sneaking up on Harry Potter.
I was left feeling isolated and useless even though I had prepared for all that could go wrong. I think if it was said to be my choice and left at that I'd have been fine about it.... but they just kept jabbing at me making me feel like I'd failed.
How dare they, actually how dare anybody, make me feel bad about the way I feed my baby. Would you rather I drug him with contaminated milk??
As long as the baby is happy and healthy and not at risk (which Rocky would have been if I'd NOT listened to them) who cares??
Leave new mums alone...
Stop with the breastfeeding bombardment it's not always our fault.
I'M PRO CHOICE!!
.....and my choice is to stay alive and not drug my baby so I choose Bottle Feeding.... so shoot me!