Bottle feeding

 My little boy Ethan didn't want to breastfeed. I don't think I had much milk either, as every time I expressed I couldn't get more than 60ml, which was never enough for him, not even for one meal. He is 4months on Tuesday, the 11th March and he has been very healthy, putting on weight and very happy little man. I was judged as not trying hard enough to breastfeed, but I don't think it was worth letting my boy go hungry rather than giving him a bottle. 

  I met other moms who were in the same situation or they didn't have milk at all. So, anyway, I thought I'd start a support conversation for mother who don't breastfeed. We can maybe share tips and just chat

 I live in Newbury Park in London


  • Hi congratulations on becoming a Mum.

    I'm sure they'll be some FFing mums along soon.

    I have to say although I'm going to try BFing, I do think there's a massive amount of pressure on mums to make BFing work. I thought maybe it was me that was touchy because there's was and still is a chance I may not be able to BF.

    However whilst pregnant I led a discussion event on improving maternity care at a local hospital. The Public Health people were talking about needing to spend more on breast feeding support. The majority of Obstetric consultants and Midwifes were adamant this was a bad idea (I would go as far as to say all in attendance but some were quiet, although not one spoke up in disagreement) . The basic premise was they were sick of seeing women hysterical and even becoming depressed because BFing hadn't worked, and they felt a failure because of all the pressure that was put on them.

    The comment from one MW was how come I have to run a weekly drop in club with free lunch provided to support BFing mothers even if they're doing fine, yet if a mother ends up FFing and has issues with reflux, colic, weaning etc..there's no support group for her, surely we should just have a support group for all new mothers no matter what their issue is and support them all equally. There were lots of nods of agreement.

    It all got a bit heated, but one of the consultants also started ranting about how come legally shops can't put discounts on formula for under 6 months old, or even let mothers have points (Tesco, Boots etc..) when they buy formula, when even cigarettes get points and alcohol gets discounted.  Surely nationally we were reinforcing the image that mothers who didn't BF were terrible.

    I have to say I hadn't thought about it in so much depth before, but it does seem a massive amount of pressure at a time when women are vulnerable anyway. We all know te benefits of BFing but sometimes it just doesn't work.

  • I feel horrible about the fact that T won't latch, I really did try my best but his little mouth just couldn't grasp my enormous and flat nipples. I was manhandled in hospital by a horrid midwife who really damaged my one nipple, and struggled on at home trying to get him on the boob. We ended up that every time he came near my boobs he would scream, not exactly ideal, in fact very, very upsetting. I feel like a complete failure even though T is 3 and a half weeks old and hasn't had any formula yet, because I am managing to express enough right now.

    I'm terrified of my supply running out and tell myself off every time I'm late pumping or I don't manage 6 in one day. I hate feeling like this but just can't shake it off, there really is SO much pressure to bf.

    All the support in the world won't help if your baby physically can't keep hold of the boob.

    Sorry, that turned into a ranty moan!

  • I went into the birth of my son thinking if bf works it works, if not I'll ff. That said, the amount of pressure heaped on us in hospital/by community mws meant when O was unable to latch meant yes, I did feel terrible and I'd go as far as to say in the early weeks in particular that it certainly didn't help my moods/made me mildly depressed. But it wasn't just medical professionals...we went to a group and all the Mum's were bf bar me, and one turned around and said to me "you could at least try"..erm, I did love!

    This time  we will be going to straight to ff (cue much disgust from many!) Because I cannot and will not go through the stress, discomfort and pressure again...I want to enjoy the newborn days, not stress over each feed.My mw has already started saying I should go ti a support group for bfing 2nd time round, but I really have no interest or inclination. I also know my little boy has been perfectly happy, healthy and had excellent growth from formula. Myself and my husband can't wait to do it again x

  • I am now ff and it has completely saved my sanity. Yes I'd have loved breastfeeding to work out, mainly because it is convenient when our and about not to have to worry about bottles etc (lazy mummy here!) but for now I'm grateful to have access to a safe alternative that keeps S happy and healthy.

    My experience of bfing...I did it exclusively til S was 3 months. We introduced a bottle of formula at night so H could put him to bed and I never got enough pumping. We gradually cut down until 4.5 months when we went completely ff.

    I had a big pph and was severely anemic when I left hospital after having him so my milk never came in properly and my supply was never great. S had tongue tie so that also didn't help stimulate my supply in the early days. S developed silent reflux so screamed all day long. It only truly got better when we switched full time to formula. I've since wondered if in fact I had a severe foremilk issue as he had green nappies constantly from 8 weeks til we stopped BFing. There is no professional support for BFing locally and the group run by my hv is useless (she told me to jiggle my boobs to resolve the green nappy issue).

    I found breastfeeding utterly overwhelming at times and I cried with every feed. Giving up was the best thing I did. My hv was so rude when I told her though. When she did my 12 week pn check up she was asking questions about pnd and I explained how stressful I'd found BFing and she very sniffily said "I'm not allowed to recommend anything except exclusively BFing". Er, I think you're supposed to support anything that safely keeps mum and baby happy! She has no idea whether I'm preparing bottles safely or what milk I'm giving S. This is a shocking oversight imo which is borne of the strict pressure for mums to exclusively bf.

    If we have another baby I'll definitely try BFing again but will travel further to get professional support if I need it. I also won't beat myself up for not doing it if it doesn't work out. S will have formula for the first year of his life, as long as I don't give him McDonald's every day for the next 18 years, I'm sure he will be fine!

    Phew! I feel better for that! Thanks for starting this thread, very cathartic!

  • I think it's dreadful when mums are made to feel guilty for FF, as long as the baby is being fed then you're doing your job! Having a baby is hard, being a mum is hard, whether you're FF/BF co-sleeping/not co-sleeping, disposables/cloth, routine/no routine, blw/puree weaning. It's a shame that we can get divided so easily and I agree that support in general is needed for Mums regardless of their feeding/parenting style.

    I just want to say though, there can be pressure the other way round. There shouldn't be judgement or criticism for either way of feeding. I'm BF and the 6 mums I know with babies are all FF and they completely don't understand. One never wanted to and never even attempted to latch for colostrum or anything, she just didn't want to and that's her choice to make and absolutely fine. One didn't think she had milk so didn't try, one switched for convenience (admitted by them as previously BF), one stopped at 6 days as her boobs were 'huge and uncomfortable', one tried but had latching problems and switched due to the stress, the last one is 'trying' but says she doesn't have enough milk so is topping up with formula, I saw her feed though and she only keeps baby on her for 5 mins so she's unlikely to ever get enough supply. I feel sorry for the one who had latching problems and anyone who is having struggles, I always said that I wouldn't allow myself to feel pressured. I've got absolutely no problem with those that just decided it wasn't for them. The others though, it's more due to a lack of understanding about what is normal for a BF baby, it really makes no odds to me how baby is fed but it is hard to have people say your baby is 'greedy' or that your milk isn't good enough, I've had several suggestions of switching to formula because of frequent feeding etc. The worst is when people say 'oh you're so LUCKY you can BF, I tried but stopped for xyz' and then give a reason which is something you went through and came out the other side. I just find it hard when people presume you've had it easy because you've managed to keep BF.

    Sorry, don't want to hijack your thread but I just wanted to let you know that I feel we're all pressured/criticised for every choice we make, no matter how much we've struggled to get to where we are!

    Hardest (and best) job in the world! Xx

  • Pretty much what bump envy said. None of us have it easy, whatever choices we have.
  • We had problems BFing right from the start. Numerous people at the hospital came to 'help' but they'd see how he wasn't latching and just say "we'll keep trying and we'll pop back later". It was a joke, everytime someone came round it was a different person to the last time so I'd have to explain it all again. In the end they basically thrust a leaflet on me saying that if he didn't soon start feeding his jaundice could make him seriously ill. Yet more pressure! It was at that point I had to make the decision to switch to formula - we were just going round in circles and no one seemed particularly bothered in actually helping us. The main BFing facilitator came round one afternoon but ended up getting a call to go upstairs. She said she'd come back afterwards but never did. She'd asked me to buzz for her when F showed signs of being hungry but when I did that she disappeared and never returned!

    I've also found that there's a lot of support for BFing mums out in the community such as BFing cafés and groups but nothing similar for those who FF. I think a lot of people don't realise that FFing isn't necessarily always by choice and why should we be made to feel guilty about it? I completely disagree with the fact you can't get Boots points, for example, on formula. If a woman is unable to BF why the hell shouldn't she be able to benefit a little out of it. I appreciate that it might encourage some not to even try BFing but it did discriminates against those of us who didn't have the choice.

    Like Coco, I'm pretty sure that I won't even attempt BFing this time. It was such a horrible experience last time that made me very stressed and upset that I think it might be the best decision all round to go straight for FF.

  • BF is great if you can manage to do it, i also believe 'breast is best' but only if its best for mum and baby

    i tried BF boy my boys but like some of the other mums i just couldn't get the latch right and wasn't producing enough milk, it got to the point i was dreading and crying though every feed. my boys needed a happy mum not one crying all over them

    with my first i persevered for 4 weeks and i was so miserable and in so much pain, to this day i still believe that triggered my PND because i felt such a huge amount of pressure to BF

    with my second i only tried for two weeks it wasn't working so stopped but most importantly i felt confident i was doing the best for both me and my baby.

    i now have two very healthily boys who are no worse of  for being formula feed, if people judge you for FF there not worth wasting your time on.

  • I agree with BE. To each their own and it's wrong to marginalise from either side. As long as mum happy and baby thriving that's the most important thing!

  • My sister has struggled with the twins and decided early on not to BF at all. She expresses about 6 times a day and the babies have mixed feeds. It just wasnt going to work any other way - for her and her family.

    I enjoyed bf-ing my son but was advised to switch him to part FFing after about 4 weeks, felt dreadful about it at first, but it soon passed.

    Because of my return to (part-time) work being so quick, and because I have 2 people here in the family dead keen to do the feeding, I'm starting to consider whether it would be best going straight to expressing also. I am so excited about baby arriving and the single only thing I feel any anxiety about is how we manage to establish bf-ing, and then move to part expressing, in 2-3 weeks. It seems unlikely that would happen successfully and I want to really enjoy every single day with baby, and not be focused elsewhere.

    I have genuinely never met a parent who was blasé about feeding, or didnt care what their baby got and when. It's pretty much the biggest concern with a new baby. Makes me sad that parents are judged on something that can be really difficult, is very personal and every scenario has different considerations and factors. We all do the best we can!

  • I think we feel pressure for every decision we make as parents, to how you are in pregnancy to how you give birth, feed and decide to return to work. As BE said the pressure is there for everyone BF or FF. I'm one if those people that didnt try to BF I made a decision very early on to FF from the start, a decision I didn't do lightly ( and although I knew I never wanted to BF I still read up on it to make an informed choice). I found myself treated badly in hospital due to my decision, so much so I feel that my babies safety was compromised, which is something I have struggled with since the birth. I feel every parent makes an individual choice and we should all respect people's choice they've made. I have many friends who have BF and I'm in awe of the determination and hard work they've put into it.

    I agree with WG regarding advantage/clubcard points as I don't see why I shouldn't be allowed to get something back from the vast amount of money I spend on formula. Also the baby cafe thing gets to me, when my son was first born and my H had gone back to work I wanted to get out to a group and meet new mums, due to an EMCS I needed something in walking distance (other groups were not age suitable) so I rang the baby cafe place to enquire about it and was told I couldn't attend as my bottles would offend the women trying to feed! I understand a lot of women are there for help with latch etc but a lot of people I met went there to meet other mums and I was 'banned' in effect. Speaking to people at groups now I've not come across anyone who said they would have been upset by someone there with a bottle.

    I lived by my community midwifes motto who said 'I am not judging how you decide to feed, I'm here to support and help either way as long as you and your baby are healthy and happy that's all I care about'

  • I've done both - my first was mix fed from 6 weeks and fully FF from 13 weeks, and my second and third have been BF, #2 until 2.5 years and #3 still BFing now.

    I do believe that there is an issue with BF support - not with the amount spent on it but with the hit and miss quality. Too many healthcare professionals aren't well trained and give out poor advice which I believe reinforces the feelings that some women have of 'failing' when in fact it's the system which has failed them. One of the main reasons my second was BF for so long was my stubbornness about it as I definitely felt I gave in too easily with #1 and it made me determined to do my damnedest to 'succeed' with #2 - we were very lucky to have a very easy journey but being well informed made a huge difference to me, which was as a result of my own research rather than information from professionals.

    I would like to see HVs and MWs support and guide all women with feeding their babies, regardless of how they choose to do it, but I would also like to see better training for all HCPs in BFing so they are able to give high quality advice allowing parents to make a fully informed decision about how to feed their babies at all stages along the way.

  • Hi moms

      So happy to see so many replies. Yes, it is very tough either way and I agree no one should be judged. I'm sure we all want and make the biggest effort to do the best for our kids.

     Like I said before, I tried and tried and Ethan wouldn't latch and didn't have much milk either I think. For those who bottle feed (sorry I don't know all the shortcuts to the words :-)) I can offer the following tips and advice on products:

    -buy yourself the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine. It saves your life especially night time. You basically put the button on how many ounces you need and then the machine gives you the water at the right temperature. So you don't need to keep using the kettle or prepare the bottles beforehand. The milk is just the right warmth for the little one to have

    -the MAM self sterilizing bottles have also been life saving for us. We can take them anywhere and just sterilize them in a microwave. They can be undone into parts and it takes 3min for a bottle and an additional 1min for the extra one to sterilize in the microwave

    -last, but not least, we have been using Cow & Gate formula and it has worked perfectly for E. We are now using the one for hungrier babies and he only wakes up one time during the night

     I do believe there is not enough support either way. I mean all the BF cafes were during working hours and the only way I could've attended was to take holidays. Also, when I asked my Health Visitor for help (after she told me I am not trying hard enough) she said that's not her job and she doesn't have time to do it. I insisted and when she saw that Ethan didn't want to take my breast and how hard I was actually trying she said "I have to go, but there is a BF cafe taking place in 2 hours and that i should go"!!!!!!! I started laughing as it would take me a while to feed my baby get ourselves dressed and the journey time alone was about an hour, so there was no way we could've made it. But that was her reply and "help". I cried a lot and got very upset about it at the beginning, but now seeing Ethan being happy and healthy I am fine.

  • One more thing moms. I am new to this forum so please, can someone tell me how to do all these nice "images" you put at the bottom of your replies? Heart

Sign In or Register to comment.

Featured Discussions