When it comes to feeding your baby, they say breast is best. It definitely has its merits: greater immunity for you and your baby, helps you shed a few extra pounds, and reduces (supposedly) childhood obesity.
Greg and I sat through a whole two hours about why breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby.
I decided I wanted to do that for Alice. I also wanted Greg to be able to enjoy feeding her, giving him some of that precious bonding time.
So I bought a breastpump and the plan was to combination feed. I’d breastfeed in the day and pump a few bottles off for the evening and weekends.
Of course, it’s easier said than done.
After such a long labour and over 40 hours awake, the last thing on my mind was breastfeeding.
Little did I know how difficult it would be.
It’s supposed to come naturally, I thought. So why was I struggling so much?
The Midwife helped me with that first feed. The all-important colostrum. Liquid gold. So I was happy knowing Alice had enjoyed some of the good stuff.
The next morning I struggled again. She fought and screamed when I tried to latch her on. My boobs were barely producing anything so the Midwife brought 40ml of formula and a bottle.
It didn’t get any better once I was on the ward. Despite asking for help, they were all too keen that I fed her with a bottle.
I’d try again at home, I resolved. Only once we were home, I had the same issues.
By day three (when your milk is supposed to come in), my boobs neither looked nor felt any different.
Day five came and I still had barely any milk. By then I’d given up on the idea of breastfeeding. I’d tried nipple shields and they made no difference. I’d tried expressing by hand but only a few drops came out.
I fed Alice on a mixture of formula and pumped breastmilk until Christmas when I switched exclusively to formula.
I so wanted to breastfeed. I’d been made to feel useless for being unable to do so.
But it’s not until you go through difficulties yourself that you realise something. Fed is best.
Alice was and still is a perfectly healthy little girl. She’s always gained weight consistently, and had minimal illness.
That special bond you get from breastfeeding? You enjoy the same closeness when you bottlefeed.
So while I salute all of the breastfeeding Mamas out there, I’d like to give a hand to those who bottlefeed too.
Because after all, breast is not always best. Fed is best.