Fed is best – Why I chose to bottle feed my baby over breast feeding

Why I chose bottle feeding over breast feeding

“You don’t know her circumstances, maybe she couldn’t breast feed”

“Maybe she can’t breast feed for medical reasons”

“Some women just can’t breast feed”

“You should have breast fed, then you wouldn’t have to carry so much stuff”

 

These are all things that have been said to me or about me over the past 5 months since Baby was born. You see, I chose to bottle feed from Birth. Yes, you read that right, I chose to bottle feed. There were no extenuating circumstances, I didn’t fail at breast feeding and my boobs work just fine, thanks for asking.

Baby at a few hours old, why I chose bottle feeding over breast feeding. Baby feeding seems to be a topic that can make even the most laid back mums get up in arms and for those of us who chose bottle over breast, any discussion of feeding can be the verbal equivocate of walking down a dark hall strewn with Lego bricks. I avoid these conversations like the plague, but sometimes I get drawn into them and I’m almost always left wondering, why do I do it to myself? why didn’t I just smile and nod and decline to comment? So, despite the knowledge that I’ll likely regret it, I’ve decided to share my experiences as a bottle feeding mum.

When I tell people that I bottle feed I nearly always get the same response “Lots of people struggle breast feeding…” nearly everyone assumes that I’ve failed at breast feeding and it always results in a very awkward conversation, where I have to explain in detail why I chose to bottle feed, while said person looks at me disapprovingly. But why should I have to explain myself? My daughter is happy, healthier than I am, and growing like a weed. Surely that is evidence enough that my choice has done her no harm?

Baby drinking a bottle, why I chose bottle feeding over breast feeding.In some ways, I think the breast feeding support groups have done their job a little too well. They have advertised breast feeding and breast feeding rights to a point where anyone who chooses not to breast feed is looked down on and treated like a pariah. There is now next to no support available to bottle feeding mothers, even my health visitor could provide little in the way of advice and support. She even tried to send me to a breast feeding group called breast mates, with the assurance that despite the flyer stating clearly that it was a breast feeding group, I would be welcome too.  I unsurprisingly chose to give that one a miss.

You may be wondering why, when all the NHS leaflets and support groups advised “breast is best”, did I choose to bottle feed?
I made the decision early on based on several factors. The first being that all of my family and most of my partners family, had been bottle fed. None of us seem to have suffered for it, we didn’t grow second heads or contract terrible diseases, and I’m pretty sure the reason I’m overweight is my love of cake and chocolate, not the lack of breast milk. This, however, wasn’t the deciding factor. While I was certain that bottle feeding wouldn’t do Baby any harm, I was nowhere near as certain that breast feeding wouldn’t do me any harm.

I’m not ashamed to say that through my life I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety and stress, and while this history didn’t cause me any problems during my pregnancy, I was absolutely terrified of the prospect of post natal depression. As a result, I tried to arrange things so that the first few weeks with Baby were as stress free as they could be with a new baby, and having read many articles and personal experiences around breast feeding, I was certain that if anything would crack me, breast feeding would be it!

Baby at 5 months, why I chose bottle feeding over breast feeding.Despite my growing resolution to bottle feed, I didn’t want to do so if Baby really would suffer for it, so I started reading up on scientific studies researching the comparison between breast milk and formula. There are hundreds of articles about this online but I didn’t want articles, I wanted cold hard facts straight from the horses mouth.

Eventually I found a paper which explained that the majority of studies had been done in the developing world. Countries like Africa where clean water and medical care are in short supply. In these situations breast milk is considerably better than formula, however in countries like England the paper concluded that there are health benefits, but at present there is no evidence that these benefits are substantial. In fact, it suggested that the greatest benefit of breast feeding in countries like England is the money it saves. For me, this was the final nail in the breast feeding coffin, which left me certain that bottle feeding was the right choice for me.

I would be lying if I said that I have never for one moment regretted my decision. Breast feeding is natural and there were moments when my milk came in that I considered combination feeding, and a moment when my milk dried up when I cried because I knew I would never have the chance to change my mind again. These were very short lived and are more than made up for by how happy Baby and I are bottle feeding.

Bottle feeding isn’t for everyone, just as breast feeding isn’t for every one. I just wish we could all agree that “fed is best” and stop isolating bottle feeding mums like me.

 

The story of why I chose to bottle feed rather than breast feed and what impact this has had on my life.

 

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20 Comments

  1. Fab post and very honest it’s all about choice and nobody should cricistise you for your choice Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  2. I’m sorry you have felt isolated as a bottle feeding mum. I bottle feed my child but have never had any rude comments so have been very lucky! I think it’s great that you didn’t your research. That’s definitely he most important thing when coming to a decision about how to raise your child IMO.

  3. I love this, fed is absolutely best. I fed my first for 3 days, and I fed my second for about an hour. I personally don’t feel comfortable doing it and to be honest the first time I couldn’t carry on as I dried up! Each to their own definitely makes for a happy mum and baby! Thanks so much for linking up to #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx

  4. Thank you, I really enjoyed reading this post. I personally wanted so badly to breast feed my baby until 6 months at the very least and actually successfully breastfed for the first two and a half weeks of her life. However, she then became critically ill very suddenly and as an already anxious person, I became very ill with the anxiety. I tried to carry on for a couple more weeks until I realised it was more important that I was in my right mind to look after my baby. She is now doing very well and she loves having her bottle. It’s also allowed my husband and other relatives to be able to feed her, which she enjoys and it takes the pressure off of me!
    When people have the kind of comments you mentioned, it’s like a massive slap in the face to me as I was so determined but still ‘failed’. I’m beginning to come to peace with bottle feeding, but people like that do not help and shouldn’t even be making comments like that as far as I’m concerned. As long as we’re feeding our babies, we’re doing our job and it’s a very personal choice anyway.

    1. I’m so sorry that you had such a hard time of it, but it’s good to hear that your daughter is doing well now and that bottle feeding has turned into a positive experience.
      When you have it in your mind that your going to do something as personal as feed your baby a certain way it can be heart breaking if it doesn’t work out, but it sounds like you gave it a really good go and then made the decision which was best for both you and your baby. That’s an incredibly strong and selfless thing to do and it sounds like anxiety or no, you are doing an amazing job of looking after your daughters best interest. x

  5. Good for you! This is such a controversial topic right now. I was devastated when breastfeeding didn’t work out for us! But we’ve never looked back, I have a toddler who is thriving and that’s all that matters.
    Always great to read the story of a bottle feeding mum.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I was rather expecting to be flamed for this post but so far I’ve just had loads of lovely people like yourself sharing their stories.
      I’m so glad your toddler is doing so well and that you’re both happy with the way things worked out.

  6. Hooray!!! Finally a post about bottle feeding I relate to. I chose not to breast feed just because I never wanted to. Simple. I had so many condescending comments from work colleagues when they asked me. I never hid away from it – I always felt I shouldn’t have to have. Yet I was judged. The midwife asked when I was in labour and I said “No!” She said ‘there’s no point in trying to discuss it with you is there?’ and I was just “No!” Poor woman! Well, I was in labour!! I have no regrets. I had a bond with my little boy immediately. Nothing could change that. Good for you and well done for such a great post. It’s a refreshing read. Sorry for the ramble! #ablogginggoodtime
    Jaki recently posted…Guest Blogger Series: The Beauty Baker – Things That Help Me Keep CalmMy Profile

    1. Thanks Jaki, I know exactly how you feel. Women shouldn’t feel they need to hide the fact that they chose to bottle feed. It’s a perfectly acceptable alternative and not one of the women I’ve spoken to who have (Including health professionals) have had any cause to think their baby has in any way been disadvantaged.
      I’m glad that you were able to relate. It’s my hope that this post might make others who chose, for whatever reason, not to breast feed, feel a little less out on a limb! 🙂

  7. This is such a divisive topic but I totally agree with you that fed is best. I and two very different experiences with my two boys. One I breast fed for 2 weeks and 1 for 5 1/2 months. But they are both happy and healthy. As mums we all do the best we can. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime ?
    Catie: An Imperfect Mum recently posted…Mummy shot Roundup: Week 3My Profile

  8. Amen to that! I wanted to breast feed but couldn’t hack it at all and got the biggest relief when my midwife told me in my second pregnancy that if I wanted to bottle-feed that was fine. Made me have a much healthier in the head pregnancy on that one and the next. Have 3 wonderful children and the first was breastfed but not for long. Mums should stick together – there are bigger battles in the world to fight than this one

  9. It sounds like you did all your research and came to a decision that worked for you and your family, that’s exactly what this parenting lark is all about! Thanks for being such an important part of the #bigpinklink

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