My contented Little Mr A xx
Breast feeding or f*rmula feeding? A controversial subject that everyone has a strong opinion on. There is a lot of support for mum’s who choose to breastfeed but what about those of us that choose not to. Some people can’t breastfeed, others just don’t want to. I fall into the second category and have now got thick enough skin to admit it!
When I got pregnant with Little Mr A I had no desire to breastfeed, it just didn’t seem like something that I wanted to do. I had seen friends successfully breastfeed but it just didn’t appeal to me. Then began the pressure! Each time I saw a midwife or health visitor they asked whether I was going to breastfeed, if I even so much as hesitated it was rammed down my throat the benefits of breastfeeding and how I should really do it. As a first timer I was not confident in my own opinions and just went along with them, hardly daring to mention the ‘F’ word again. When I gave birth, I still did not have a strong urge to breastfeed but, as I had been so bombarded with reasons why I should, I gave it a go. I could not get Little Mr A to latch on and got no support on the maternity ward. I decided to ask for some formula and luckily was given a bottle without too much fuss, however, after all the pressure (and emotions/tiredness) from childbirth, as soon as Big Mr A came to visit I burst into tears feeling so guilty and like the worst mum in the world.
Things didn’t end when I got home either. The first visit from the health visitor I dreaded the question ‘how are you feeding’. As soon as I mentioned formula I again got another lecture about breastfeeding and how I should be doing it, I can’t remember ever getting any support/advice about formula feeding. It was if I was poisoning my child! I tried expressing but could not get on with that either so in the end just decided to be strong and stick with formula, no matter what was said to me even though I felt guilty every time I stuck a bottle in Little Mr A’s mouth.
After a few weeks I was pleased we had stuck with the formula. Little Mr A got in a great routine really quickly and it was nice for Big Mr A and other family members to spend some time bonding with Little Mr A, why should it just be the mummy that gets to bond?! I never for one moment felt like I wasn’t bonding as well with my baby, there were still plenty of special moments, and, being on maternity leave he relied on me for everything anyway.
This time around I pretty much decided from the start that I would not be breastfeeding. Again, I have listened to all the benefits of breastfeeding and how it’s something I should do, however, having done it before, I am now much more confident and will not feel guilty about giving my baby formula. There has been occasions during this pregnancy where I have considered breastfeeding but, as with Little Mr A, I still have no real desire to do it, and, sitting here with only a few days to go (fingers crossed!) the urge to breastfeed has still not kicked in.I am not sure why I don’t have the desire, it’s not that I am a prude, I would happily get my boobs out to feed whenever the need arose. It’s not that I have a medical condition that means I can’t. Maybe I am being selfish but after giving up my body for 9 months I want to get some of ‘me’ back after Little Miss A is born. Is that such a bad thing? After all isn’t one of the most important things people tell you, a happy mummy means a happy baby? I don’t want to feel like a milking machine 24 hours a day!
Of course I understand the benefits of breastfeeding, not just for baby’s health but also for the mum and your pocket! At the same time, Little Mr A, having been formula fed, has not suffered for it. He is a healthy, happy little boy who rarely gets ill other than the odd cold and is always saying how much he loves me so definitely no problems on the bonding front!
I admire women who want to breastfeed and do so successfully, however, I think it should be remembered it is not for everyone and there should be more support for those who do not want to. No-one should be forced into doing something they do not want to do and the decision should be made by the mum, not her midwife or health visitor.