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23.6.11

Breastfeeding: Four Honest Views

As I've said in previous posts, breast vs bottle seems to be one of the biggest debates in parenting. It annoys me. In my opinion, and I can't see why anyone would disagree with this, we are all free to parent how WE want to parent, and make our own decisions.
I've also made it very clear how passionate I am about breastfeeding. In all honesty its hard for me to hear or read people being negative about it and I do sometimes, ok the majority of the time, find it difficult to accept why people are against it and don't choose to do it.
I asked fellow bloggers and twitter followers to participate in this post to share their views on breastfeeding. Mainly so we can all try and understand or get a bit of insight into why we all feel different towards it.
I asked each person to be very honest about their feelings.


I always knew I was going to breastfeed, even before I was ready to have children. It’s how I was fed and for me it just felt like the most natural thing to do.

I was prepared for the fact that there could be some problems at the start but from the moment Iyla latched on for her first feed she was a natural.

I have been breastfeeding for nearly 8 months now and although I feel proud of myself, I can appreciate that I've had an easy ride compared to some women. I do however think that it’s equally as important to raise awareness of how easy it can be as well as how difficult it can be.

I've heard a lot about all the negative things lately and although that's really great for anyone who is struggling, I think it might also put some women off the idea. Especially if they are in two minds about what to do. I know I've been really lucky but I'm not the only one, a lot of my friends have had problem free experiences as well. 


I'm not anti-formula feeding at all and would never judge anyone that I see bottle feeding as people are free to feed there babies anyway they like. Not all of my friends breastfeed or intend to breastfeed and I have heard a variety of reasons such as wanting more freedom, too uncomfortable with the idea of a baby sucking on their nipples and not wanting to feed in public but I do believe that everyone should try it even if just for a day because they might be surprised and find that they enjoy it. 


My partner and family have all been really supportive of my decision and although when Iyla was a few days old all the men (apart from my OH obviously!) would disappear as soon as they saw I was about to start feeding, now they are used to it and don't even notice.

So overall my breastfeeding experience has been extremely enjoyable, if I had to find a negative then it would probably be the leaking. In the early days I would wake up and the mattress, duvet and me would all be drenched!

It didn't last long though and the positives were endless.
Its free, its easier in the middle of the night, you get to sit down a lot, you get to eat mountains of cake and its such an amazing way to bond with your baby.

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Positive, with proof that there are some negatives felt by some breastfeeding mummys: Following courtesy of Deskmonkeymummy
Breastfeeding was always on the agenda for my first baby.  After having the cost (free) reinforced by the antenatal class and with my Midwife being married to my uncle it was an obvious choice, particularly as the OH and I were in the process of purchasing our own house and were looking at all possible money saving options. 


I really loved the idea of being one of those “all natural” types and having watched my OH's sister feed two of her kids, I thought it would be the best option for all of us.

This time, I didn't even consider bottle feeding as an option.  I stopped feeding The Toddler when she was 15 months and I was already 4 months pregnant at this time, so the transition was almost automatic.


My partner was and is completely supportive of my decision to breastfeed and was always there to make sure I kept going when things got tough the first time round. I got thrush in my nipple and she had it in her mouth.  Nothing would clear it and the pain when feeding was like someone driving hot needles into my chest. Various people told me to give it up, that it was causing too much distress and bottle feeding would be better for all of us, but I persevered, expressing milk from the sore nipple until it healed.  This has left me slightly lopsided but it is a small price to pay which enabled me to continue feeding The Toddler and to go on to feed Oscar.


My mum questioned my choice to feed the Toddler for so long and kept hinting that I should “Get her off me”.  One of the most supportive people was my partners mother, who had chosen not to breastfeed either of her children.  She never told me to give it up, forget it, try a bottle, etc etc.


My relationship with breastfeeding the first time was somewhat love hate.  I didn't get the intense joy I thought I would out of it and I had days when I resented the pressure and latching on an ungrateful child.   There was an extreme pressure that came with breastfeeding the first time that I felt I couldn't give up, and that coupled with the thrush made me really hate it.  I suffered with extreme engorgement on day 5 the first time and the pain was unbearable, and my letdown is still rather a strange feeling as it is slightly overactive. All this said once I got over the initial few months, it did become natural and it was more convenient to keep it up than to give up and start making 6 bottles a day.  


This time I'm not suffering from PND and the journey so far has been relatively easy (he's still learning but I like to think I'm a good teacher) so we just do it.  I feel confident and would even go as far to say as I love being able to feed my baby.  I'm so proud of myself for my decision and I know without a doubt that not giving up the first time was the right decision for all of us.  I get irritated being pinned to the sofa or the floor while the Toddler runs wild and my washing piles up, but the housework will still be there when he takes a nap and I'll happily play as much as I can with the Toddler while feeding. 


When I see other women bottle feeding, I am curious as to what made them make that decision, whether it was something that they decided before the baby was born or whether they had problems with breastfeeding and felt that bottle feeding was the best way forward, or whether the bottles they are giving are actually expressed breast milk and they are just not yet confident enough to feed in public.


All in all, my breastfeeding journey has been positive.  There have been some bumps along the way which have made me hate that little mouth clamping onto my body, but there is nothing like knowing that you and you alone are enabling that child to thrive.  I'm sat here now writing this while feeding Oscar and I'm so glad I decided to continue feeding.

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My daughter Kate was two in April.  Breastfeeding was something that never really appealed to be.  I had decided before I even got pregnant that I didn’t want to breastfeed.  Neither my mother or my husband’s mother breastfed and we were both born in the 1970’s.  Being formula fed did us no harm.
Most of my friends didn't do it either & the few who did didn't really have positive experiences so that was probably another reason for putting me off. Some had good experiences also but the bad outweighed the good. Most only did it for a week or so b4 going on to formula.
When meeting with the midwife I did ask her advice as both hubby and I had eczema and asthma as kids and wondered if breastfeeding would have any advantage.  She was honest with me and said that if a child is going to get eczema or asthma well then breastfeeding is not going to prevent it so that really made my mind up for me to formula feed. 
I have friends who have breastfed and formula fed.  Some of my friends who breastfed had a positive experience, whilst others didn’t, everyone is different I suppose.  The advantage of formula feeding is that you can take a break and let hubby or grandparents take over!!! 
My hubby was very supportive of me not wanting to breastfeed and my friends and family didn’t really have anything to say in the matter.  The decision was mine and I’m glad with my decision.  If we have another baby (which we hope to have) I would formula feed them also.
I didn't miss out on bonding with my daughter as from the moment I held her I loved her albeit about 2 hrs after she was born after an emergency c section. Her daddy gave her her 1st bottle and we never looked back. 

Kate is a happy, playful, typical tantrum throwing little 2 year old.  She did get eczema and asthma but its not too bad.  Her eczema only flares up when she gets too hot and her asthma really only when she has a cold. 
I don’t have a problem with other mums’ breastfeeding and would support anyone doing it.  Its hard work and full praise to all mums that do it. 

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Mixed: TheBoyandMe
My feelings about breast-feeding are very mixed and have become deeply conflicting throughout the past two-three years. I have an older sister who breastfed her oldest child until she was 18 months old. At the time I felt that this was too old, and hand on heart (no offense to the blog-host), I still feel that there is no benefit to either mother or child breast-feeding this long. That is my personal feeling which I would never normally say to anyone else. My sister may have actually put me off breast-feeding, especially hearing that she did it through cracked and bleeding nipples. Why?!

When I became pregnant, I was pretty determined that I was going to formula feed. However, towards the end of my final trimester I changed my mind. When I started spurting milk a week or two before The Boy's birth, this to me was my body's confirmation that I wanted to breast-feed him. 

Being honest, it broke my heart and I still have terrible guilt and difficulty accepting what happened. I wish to God that I had been able to feed him for longer, my intention originally was only a month or two tops, as I wanted my husband to have the opportunity to feed him. It always amuses me when people say it's a bonding experience; I found it very difficult to look the baby in the eye when breast-feeding, however The Boy and I always look each other in the eye with his bottles. We stare into each other's souls and bond on a level I never thought possible.

If I have another child I am not able to say what I will do. I'm not sure that I could put myself, and the baby, through the ordeal that we did. Failing at breast-feeding has been probably one of the most traumatic events of my entire life; can I put myself in the same situation again? The physical pain of engorgement and mastitis, plus trying to get your EE breasts to dry up while nursing a poorly 3 week old child, combined with the emotional pain of not being able to hold your newborn baby in an ambulance blasting sirens, whilst wondering why this has happened is a prospect that I don't think I can cope with again.

And yet, I want to know what it's like to successfully breast-feed.

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Thanks to all four ladies for providing their stories and feelings for this post.