My second son turns 6 months old on Monday and he is breastfed. It feels weird to say that as i never imagined I would get to this point after a very different experience last time around.
When my first son F was born I had a terrible time trying to get feeding sorted. I was very keen to breastfeed but it was incredibly painful from the start, I had cracked and bleeding nipples that just wouldn’t heal. Unable to feed him directly we started on a exhausting cycle of pumping, bottle feeding and topping up with formula. When I had healed enough I tried to feed him myself but we just ended up back in the same boat. After two bouts of infectious mastitis and a miserable start to what should have been a very happy time I threw in the towel. I felt guilty but the sight of him happily drinking formula from a bottle meant i could finally relax. My boobs let out a sign of relief.
So fast forward 2.5 years and i though to myself ‘Hey i’ll give it a go, if it works great, if not nothing lost’. Now I’m not going to pretend it was easy – it was still toe curlingly painful for the first 3 or 4 weeks but i got my latch checked again and again, took him off if it was at all painful, applied buckets of lansinoh after every feed and avoided the barrage of torment to my nipples.
It was like wearing in a new pair of heels. You practise in them at home and gradually your feet get used to them. You become more confident and step out in public with your head held high, you look good! So when i look at S now (and how big he is!) i feel proud that i have grown this human being from nothing but my own body, it’s really kind of amazing.
The key benefits for me and the main reason i keep putting off introducing formula is that i don’t have to bother with sterilising, preparing formula or carting about a load of bottles along with all the other baby/toddler paraphernalia already weighing down my buggy. Plus the extra calories equate to 2 bars or dairy milk a day – yum!
BUT i am not exactly what you would call pro breastfeeding, it sounds weird but sometimes i am actually embarrassed to be associated with EBFers – why do you even need to tell people your baby is ‘EXCLUSIVELY’ breastfed anyway? It’s almost like saying ‘Hey I just want to make sure you are 100% clear that my baby has never had any of that formula muck.’ Is there really a need to state it?
There are so many groups, support lines and councellors to support breastfeeding mums but nothing for formula feeders. Perhaps it’s just my experience but if you can’t breastfeed and want advice on how to stop or the best way to make up formula it’s difficult to find. How about a formula feeders support group? Or better still just a ‘feeding support group’ that can offer help and advice on both methods? Breastfeeders could socialise with formula feeders and vice versa and we could all exist together in a perfect feeding harmony!
**************P.S. My new book The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is out on the 3rd March 2022! It's aimed at 9-12 year olds and you can buy it here :)