Breastfeeding or bottle?

It is World breastfeeding Week between the 1st -7th August 2015 and with breastfeeding always in and out of the news, it seems a good time to give my personal experience of breastfeeding and to introduce Clare Byam Cook, author of ‘What to expect when you’re breastfeeding and what if you can’t?’ as someone we recommend listening to when it comes to all things breastfeeding.

Her book explains that while some mothers take to breast-feeding like a duck to water, others just can’t seem to get the hang of it. She agrees that breast is best but stresses that the most important thing is that your baby is fed – whether by the breast or bottle – and you, the mother, should feel comfortable with whatever you choose to do. It’s a comprehensive guide on how to prepare, what to expect and how to overcome any problems.

And if you can’t… the first rule is you shouldn’t feel a failure. Clare Byam-Cook recognises there are certain circumstances where bottle feeding is an advisable alternative. Rather than making you feel guilty if you prefer, or have to, bottle feed, she is wholly supportive and sympathetic, providing you with all the practical advice and information you need.

We first met Clare Byam-Cook who is a fan of our Baby Clothing Bouquets at the Baby Show several years ago. Unfortunately my two children were at school by then so I couldn’t use her knowledge and reassurance for myself but I do want to share my experience of being a failed breastfeeder with new mums or mums to be and urge you to seek out advice like Clare’s as early as possible to help you.

My experiences of being a failed breastfeeder:  Lisa Roberts, CEO of BabyBlooms, the Baby Gift company.

 Throughout my first pregnancy I had very clear expectations for motherhood and breastfeeding was definitely going to play a big part. I was totally sold on all of the benefits:

  • The antibodies and superior nutrition that my baby would receive from the precious colostrum.
  • The precious bonding between mother and baby that only breastfeeding can provide.
  • The ability to feed anywhere anytime, without sterilising or warming bottles.
  • The developmental benefits for my child …. Apparently, it’s been proven that breastfed babies are higher achievers
  • Financial Savings
  • Quicker loss of baby weight.

 However, after an emergency c-section, the reality was very different!

Over four nights in hospital I did not sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time and was constantly ‘feeding’ my baby who cried incessantly. On the last day in hospital I screamed when I discovered that my new baby was passing blood, only to be reassured by a midwife that it was my blood he was drinking from my cracked and bleeding nipples.

Arriving home on day 5 exhausted and tearful I was still ‘feeding’ my starving baby. After a few hours, I was sent to bed by my husband, who took charge and took our son to Tesco. Half an hour later they were back with bottles, steriliser and formula and an hour later my contented baby slept and the house was calm. It was the next day, with the pressure off that I began to bond with my baby and to enjoy those precious early days of Motherhood.

 Even this experience didn’t deter me from trying again with my second son, I convinced myself that I was obviously doing it wrong or maybe my second son would latch on better or I’d have more patience. But whilst this baby was calmer, after 5 days again it didn’t work. This time however, I was invited to a breast feeding clinic where a friendly midwife helped me to position myself and my baby and to get him to latch on properly. She then left me for twenty minutes promising to return and weigh him to prove to me that he had fed. Unfortunately, she positioned me in such a way that the circulation to my legs was affected and when she returned and asked me to hop off the couch and walk to the scales I fell in a heap, scraping my shoulder on some metal steps and narrowly avoiding crushing my precious baby. At that point I left and subsequently chose the bottle!

I am sure if I had known how to access some of the information from Clare, my story could have been different. So to mark World Breastfeeding Week, and tell lots of mums about Clare Byam-Cook’s wise words we have a few copies of her Book and DVD which we will be giving away via our facebook and twitter pages.  Please share your comments and follow us for a chance to win a copy of this fantastic book.