Breast Is Best… Isn’t it?

One from the Archives…

Which One?

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Your first pregnancy… It’s a pretty amazing time! The new sensations and feelings you are experiencing for the first time, choosing buggies, cots, bouncers, monitors… And naturally, you end up joining the whole Breast Vs. Bottle debate.

Casting my mind back 10 years, that was me.  It was all being shoved in my face by the midwives, the magazines, the experts…

Breast is BEST!

So I guess that was decided. I would be an all natural breast feeding Earth Momma, giving my new baby all the nutrition and goodness that he needs from my own body. Cool! No need to worry about bottles and sterilisers just yet! (One of the gifts I was given was a complete bottle feeding kit, from my parents, steriliser, bottles pump and all, but hey, I didn’t need that!)

The time came, and Lil Man made an appearance. I was stunned into silence by this little bundle…and I don’t do silent very often! The first thing, after skin to skin contact, was getting him latched on. Ok, no problem… Except OUCH!! Painful!! But no, I can stand the pain, after all I’m giving him everything he needs!

Over the first week we had the usual first time struggles, he was whinging constantly, seemed hungry, he’d latch on, be satisfied for a short while, then start again. He was a healthy 7lb 1oz at birth, considering he was 3 weeks early, but he dropped a whole lb. Most babies put that back on, plus more within a couple of days, but he dropped to 6lb 1oz, and it took him 2-3 weeks to get back to birth weight.

I suffered the whole engorged boobie thing too, and sat with savoy cabbage leaves in my bra cups to relieve the painful hardness and FYI, it works!

I would ask my midwife, and health visitor whether I was doing ok, I mean he was tiny, did I need to do anything else? Was I giving him enough? Did he maybe need a bottle? All I got was a bunch of horrified looks, and exclamations that I was doing the best thing by breastfeeding.

One day, when he was around 4 weeks old, I got really worked up. He had been up, on and off all night, and I was feeding then he wouldn’t wind properly, and then cry more, latch on again, and it was a vicious cycle. It got to the stage where I was in tears, and I knocked on my mother in laws bedroom door. She quickly took him from me, it was around 4am and I looked wretched. She had heard how unsettled he was, and she sat rubbing his back for ages, until he burped a huge burp, and all the milk he had consumed came out too. I cried… Oh how I cried…

So in one of my new mum packs was a phone number for a La Leche councillor, who was local to me. La Leche was a pro Breastfeeding group, available for support at any time, for new mums. I called and spoke to a lovely lady, who suggested I try to use a breastpump, and see what was coming out. And to judge it from there, as to whether I wanted to, maybe introduce a bottle too.

So I sat, with this pump thing, attached to my boob, pumping away, and 30 minutes I had managed to collect… 1oz of milk, if that. I was distraught! Was this all my Lil Man had been getting the last 4 weeks? No wonder he wasn’t putting on any weight! The first thing I did was make a bottle of formula. Sod the experts!

And as he fed from that first bottle, I cried. He guzzled the milk like he had never received anything before. Had I been depriving him? All at the say so of the health visitors? It was from that day that I decided to throw in the towel, breastfeeding wise, and give him a bottle. He never reached the average weights, in fact he is still little now.

I later found out that both my mum and mother in law never breastfed any of us children, in fact when we were born, it was cited that bottle is better, and more convenient!

It was a different story with Lil Princess. I didn’t want my first experience to colour my next newborn adventure, and I can happily say that this time round, I was like Daisy the cow! She was breastfed, completely until 6 months old, then I carried on until she was 9 months old, alongside solids.

I was able to stock up my fridge with breast milk bottles too, proud of the fact I could feed and pump simultaneously! She was a healthy 8lb 6oz at birth, 5 days earlier than expected, and she was always happily average size and weight throughout.

Which brings me back to my title… Breast is best…is it? I beg to differ… It might be good for some, but not for everyone, and nowadays, the pressure of doing what is ‘right’ can mean you aren’t encouraged to look at your child’s actual needs. Had I had a midwife, or health visitor, who was actually sympathetic to mine, and my baby’s needs, maybe I would have tried a bottle sooner.  Maybe he would have put more weight on, possibly he would be bigger than he is now. Is it my fault he feels inadequate, size wise nowadays?

These questions go round my minds lot, when I see his upset at being the smallest in his class. I tried my best, but could I have done better?

49 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. willowdot21
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 19:57:29

    Well I was not able to breast feed any of our boys but they all survived well, our grandson was breast fed and he thrived too so all I can say is do what is best for you and never feel pressured or stressed… there is no wrong or right way just what suits the individual !! ❤ xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. A @ Inner Ramblings Boulevard
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 14:33:02

    Yes breast is best but it doesn’t always work out that way. My first born refused to nurse, but my other 2 did just fine.

    He was a bottle baby and is smaller than the others but I never attributed that to being bottle vs breast fed. Hmmm, I wonder?

    I did pump milk so he could have breast milk even if he was being bottle fed. So I highly doubt, now that I think of it, that his size is bottle fed related. His dad and I are just short 😁

    Just teach your munchkin to be self confident. Highlight his great attributes and encourage him to find things about himself to like.

    No one I perfect. The sooner he learns that important life lesson the better. Hugs 🌷

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Lisa A.
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 14:13:28

    I breast fed my son for about a week and then gave up! Lol I was having similar problems like you. It hurts a lot too! Maybe when I have another one I’ll be able to breastfeed. If not, they’ll get formula. My son was born at almost 8 lbs. He was healthy from bottle feeding.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Cattie's World
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 11:41:47

    Good Debate there. Nice to know.
    Did you see my Post on Babies Funny Pictures and pick the one which made you laugh the most ? There is one on Breast-Feeding, which you’ll love.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Erika Kind
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 11:16:32

    I was lucky that I could be breastfeeding for over a year (not only but in addition to more and more solid food).I am thankful for that! But I think this is a decision every woman has to make due to the circumstances (any circumstances). I don’t think you can say this in general. But what I could never agree with is, when women get shots to stop this only in order to keep their bodies in shape.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Hodgepodge 4 the Soul™
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 08:29:34

    No parent is perfect, we all can “do better and we parents are harder on ourselves most of the time. “Should I have done this?” “Should I have done that?” It can really stress us out when those sentences roll around in our minds. The breast vs. bottle debate has irritated me since I became a parent 25 years ago. I did both with my kids. It really should be a decision best made by Mommy and nobody should guilt-trip moms who choose one method over the other. Thank you for sharing this because we moms can use more encouragement. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. kindredspirit23
    Mar 18, 2015 @ 21:14:10

    I can tell you, if nothing else, that it is NOT your fault that your son is smaller. Even if the breast feeding were what did it, you asked for the advice of the experts you believed in and did what they said. Me? I say whichever Mommy is comfortable with. However, I will say these two things: 1) If breastfeeding, then Mom will be inconvenienced a lot and a lot of times there may be difficulty. 2) If breastfeeding, Dad misses out on a lot of great bonding time.
    Talk to your doctor(s) and your expert(s), then decide. I really can’t see one ALWAYS being better than the other.
    Scott

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Mar 18, 2015 @ 21:36:57

      That’s great advice.. If someone had said that to me at the time it probably would have helped… But if it makes a struggling mummy feel more comfortable, I hope reading your comments help!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply

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  9. Lindsey
    Mar 11, 2015 @ 04:23:05

    I just want to say thank you for this post. When I had my son I wanted to breast feed. We tried so hard for a week, used the lactation nurse at the hospital to try and figure things out…but it never worked. We broke down and gave a bottle and he slept so soundly for the first time since birth. And the guilt that others would pile on you…wow. I hate that you had to experience the struggle but I am glad to hear that I was not the only one who had issues. I just wish more women would understand that it doesn’t take away from your quality as a mother if you do not breast feed.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  10. A Muslim Latina
    Mar 11, 2015 @ 01:05:36

    I know that is controversial.. I know myself I would love to breast feed but with the medical issues I have I don’t know if that will even be an option.

    As mothers we have the option. My oldest sister never took to the breast, my sister was so-so but I took the Breast for a full two years…

    It’s a hit or miss, healthy children wi be healthy not only by breast milk thank fully we are in an era that there are more options out there..

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Mar 11, 2015 @ 06:58:26

      Yes, you’re right, and I DO know that, but if there is any issue involved with your child’s, you can’t help but wonder… “Did I do something wrong? Could I have done better?should I have done this/that?”
      He is also possibly mildly ‘on the spectrum’ I believe, so than is another thing I always worry about….

      Like

      Reply

  11. bestthingsinlife1964
    Mar 10, 2015 @ 21:02:31

    As with ALL parenting decisions you need to do what works for you and the child. I don’t believe that there is a definite right and wrong. You do the best you can with what you have.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  12. cocosangel
    Mar 10, 2015 @ 16:36:49

    I had the same experience too. I breast fed my first for 6 months and since I knew the second one was on the way, I had to start bottle feeding her. But the milk didn’t agree with her. She had allergies, and she started losing weight. Oh man, I was so heart broken, because with breast milk she really put on weight.
    But for my son, I was able to breast feed him and provide solid and breast milk till he was 1 year old.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  13. MoirasConfab
    Mar 10, 2015 @ 16:23:45

    It really is tough. I remember walking around the house breasts exposed on Health Visitors advice to heal the blisters, then still having to pump the engorged breasts to ease the pain. I pushed through and it was fine in the end, breast fed till she was 21 months. Agree though that we can do without the pressure and more support in choosing what we feel is best for us.

    Liked by 3 people

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  14. oh2bhuman
    Mar 10, 2015 @ 10:54:22

    It certainly can be overwhelming with your first child…it sure was for me. I had zero experience with babies and I felt pulled in ever so many different directions from “well meaning” people giving me advice. Finally someone gave me the best advice “take it all in, mix it all up, sift some out and keep some”…At first I thought “WHAT????!!” I wanted definitive answers…but that actually was the best advice. Looking back – it’s not the individual decisions that you make that are going to be the life-altering ones. Babies, children, young adults are pretty resilient and the best thing you can give them is your time, your attention and your love and everything else will fall into place…

    Liked by 3 people

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  15. Prajakta
    Mar 10, 2015 @ 08:49:56

    Well, my sister and I were allergic to milk. All sorts of milk – breast, bottle, buffalo. Only soya milk we could have and I think we grew up pretty healthy. From what I have read, breast-feeding isn’t just passing nutrition but also helps in developing a closer and elemental bond. The experience is over-whelming. I assume you felt the same? 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Mar 10, 2015 @ 12:40:51

      Yes I did indeed.. But its more the fact you can be made to feel as if you are lacking something if you physically can’t breastfeed…

      Like

      Reply

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