First of all I really don’t think there is a right or wrong way to feed your baby, it should be completely your decision. When I had Will I bottle fed him from day 1, I suffered from PND and I think if I’d have added breast feeding into the mix I might have had a complete mental breakdown. With Ben I breastfed him for about 10 weeks before I decided to move onto bottles and this worked well for him.
Darcey arrived on 1st January and I told myself all through the pregnancy that I would try and breastfeed her but if it didn’t work then I wouldn’t beat myself up about it, I would just give her a bottle. She did really well at first latching on but it did take a while for my milk supply to come through, about 4-5 days which was quite trying.
The first three weeks zipped by and I thought that we were doing OK with the whole breastfeeding thing. Then things slowly started to change;
She was no longer latching on properly and was becoming very lazy, waiting for the milk to let down instead of working for it herself. She was diagnosed with a tongue tie as 6 weeks and had this snipped which did make a bit of a difference. It was certainly more comfortable for me feeding her but she was constantly making a clicking noise and taking in air. I know I should probably have unlatched her and made her try to latch properly but when you’re knackered and have a starving baby that’s easier said than done.
Then the reflux started …. I was half expecting this as the boys suffered really badly from reflux. It meant that Darcey would scream whilst I was trying to feed her and unlatch, be sick, not latch back on. Then I had to get the Gaviscon in her with a syringe after feeding when she was already being sick.
All in all it was becoming really difficult. My main concern was how to get Darcey more comfortable. I decided the best way forward for us was to start introducing bottles a couple of weeks ago. I did this gradually at first offering 2 formula feeds a day whilst I still breastfed her the remainder. I noticed that after the bottle feeds she was much happier but breastfeeding was still not working for her.
I took the decision to move completely to bottle feeding and I would express as much milk as possible but just give it her in a bottle. This has worked really well for Darcey, it was a bit of an adjustment for her to have a bottle all the time and she does still look for the boob now and then. She has been far less sick, I think because I can put the Gaviscon in a bottle and get it working when needed. She is also much happier and in less pain, even sleeping through the night.
All these little things tell me that this was the right thing to do for Darcey, at the end of the day I just want her to be happy and healthy. Personally I’m a bit gutted I can’t breastfeed her, but she is still getting 3 bottles of expressed milk a day. I will continue to express the milk for as long as I can for her so she gets the best of both worlds.
I know this is the right thing to do for her but I still feel guilty about not being able to breastfeed her myself for the recommended 6 months. This is slightly crazy as if I was talking to any other mum I’d be saying well done and you’re doing the right thing. It must still be all the new mummy hormones. I did let her sneak a feed a couple of days ago from me and the projectile vomit and screaming that followed was not good. There seems to be so much pressure on new mums to breastfeed from healthcare professionals and social media messages.
Has anyone else felt guilty about the whole breast/bottle feeding issues?