Monday, 30 November 2009

Bottle Feeding

I read a article in a magazine recently on bottle feeding and how there is a lack on information on it.

I totally agreed with it. There is a lack of information available before and after you give birth on bottle feeding.Whilst pregnant I was told everything you needed to know about breastfeeding & I gathered information on breastfeeding from magazines and books.

I did plan on breastfeeding from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I decided too as I knew it was what best for my baby & that it was free!

Well once Oli was born my plan to breastfeed went out the window. Oli just didn't want my breast milk. He wouldn't latch on or even show a interest in wanting too.
I was determined too and tried everything the midwife's suggested , I managed to get a little colostrum out using a syringe and that was it. As Oli needed milk we had to give him a bottle in the hospital, This is where it started.. I didnt know which milk was the best? There was so many different milks out there, SMA , Cow & Gate and Aptamil. I was asked if I had a preference to what was used, luckily I had payed attention when it came to baby milk adverts and knew that aptamil was the most similar to breast milk , containing just the vital things Oli needs.

Of course I planned on continuing to try to feed Oli via Breast. The man fed Oli his first bottle so that Oli wouldn't get confused and associate me with the bottle. When Oli awoke for the night feed, I tried again. But didn't get anywhere so the nurse took him away for a bottle and I went back to sleep disheartened.

Though out my stay at the from the moment Oli was born til the next day when we left to come home I had different midwifes see to me, Some were extremely helpful and tried there to best to help me to express milk and some were rather negative towards me.. They made me feel like I was doing something wrong, which I wasn't.

I will always remember the one midwife who was blunt and nasty on the night that Oli was born. I'm not a big fan of hospitals and hate being left alone and especially over night stays. So the fact that I had to stay in hospital and was still in shock about giving birth - I was in hysterics. The man was told to he had to leave as visiting times were over, I hated this! I didn't want him to leave me , He was what was keeping me together. I screamed and cried and then insisted that if he left I did too. I explained I wanted to go home but the midwife was adamant that I couldn't leave until I established feeding. This is where she digged in at me about breastfeeding and how my child would starve. She said I couldn't leave until I decided what I wanted to do.
She was giving me a on the spot decision - I had to choose if I wanted to breastfeed or bottle feed. Well of course I wanted to breastfeed but I just couldn't.

Instead of giving me such a hard time she should of seen how scared I was and how upset I was at not being able to breastfeed, It was at this point I started to feel guilty about it. I did stay after the mr calmed me down and explained staying there for the night was what best for our son. Maybe the midwife should of took this approach instead of guilting me into staying.

I was sent home from hospital with a few jars of apatamil as it was Sunday and had no way of getting any milk in, we didn't buy any in advance as we thought I would be breastfeeding. I was told just to keep trying and that my local midwife would be visiting the next day so I would receive more help from her.

So these bottles of milk were ready made. I wasn't told what to do when these ran out. I knew I had to buy the milk in the shops. But what then.. I had no idea that sterilised water was needed, I wasn't even sure how to use the steriliser! I didn't know how much milk Oli needed. I had to find out how to do it all by reading the milk box. Is that the way I should of learnt?

Health People are getting way too involved with Breast feeding to see that they are people who bottle feed out of choice or that they have to as they cant breastfeed. There is inadequate information and support for mothers who decide or have to bottle feed.

I did try for a week after I came home from the hospital to breastfeed him, The midwife came round ever day to help me. We tried absolutely everything but still nothing. Oli just wasn't going to have any of it. I was so emotional about it all and yes extremely guilty that I couldn't give Oli this goodness. I do still feel bad about it to this day.. But why should I? It wasn't my fault my child didn't want my milk. But everywhere I turn there is something about it.

When looking on websites about bottle feeding, I came across one article which had one comment on the subject. (Not sure if I'm allowed to copy & paste what it said, but I will remove it if anyone tells me off!)

Perhaps the "rights" of babies not breastfed by their mothers should be considered. Artificial feeding is what it says - cows milk is for baby cows, not baby humans. Perhaps, to be really controversial, the only way to access formula and the correct way of using it is by way of medical reasons only - not choice - after all if the babies had a choice, they would choose breast rather than formula. Too right that the mothers artificially feeding feel guilty - so they should - shame on them for increasing the liklihood of their baby becoming ill and adding to the NHS burden of care!

What are your thoughts on what this person said? I know what mine are but I will keep them to myself.

I know myself that breastfeeding is the way to go but there are people out there that will bottle feed no matter what - young girls for example , they may not want to breastfeed. I know we should educate them in it but what about educating them in bottle feeding? If they choose to bottle feed .. we should be supporting them , teaching them how to go about it. I had no idea what to do and was embarrassed by this. I felt like a bad mother not knowing how to prepare a feed. I used the Internet to teach myself what I needed to know. What would I have done with out it? Guess how to make a feed up.. and make my child ill by doing it wrong?

I read that under UK Legislation baby formula manufacturers are only allowed to advertise follow on milk which is for 6months older. And I saw that if the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the department of health would have even these follow on milk adverts banned if they could. The only way I found about follow on milk was via these adverts. Since Oli turned 6months he has been on the follow on milk. I also found on about the hungry baby milk via these adverts which Oli went on at 2months to satisfy his hunger.

I know at all cost breastfeeding should be promoted but what about the needs of bottle feeding mothers?

And when my next baby come's along, I will again try to breastfeed but if that fails then I will bottle feed. But at least this time I'll know how to sterilize, prepare & make a bottle.


  1. 30 November 2009 17:42

    what a horrible comment!!! the writer should be ashamed!!! or have their pompus breast feeding police badge shoved where the sun doesn't shine!!

    I have bottle fed all my four but i always gave breast feeding a good try before i moved over. I just couldn't do it or i am just rubbish at it but i'd rather feed my baby so she is happy and contented then let her scream for hours because my milk isn't coming in or whatever.

    who should feel more guilty, the bottle feeding mother who has chosen to do that because it what she either wants to do or is what she has to do. or the breastfeeding mother who's baby has dropped pounds in weight and is risking illness because breast is best?

    I am so over the breast feeding police and if someone wants to tell me how i've made my children less heathy becuase i bottle fed them i'd like to see them try.

    I love my babies and i would gladley shove a bottle in their chops than see them suffer because my boobs can't come up with the goods.

    Rant over. great post its about time we bottle feeders weren't cast aside and i agree more information should be out there for bottle feeding mothers. xxx

  2. 30 November 2009 18:01

    I breast fed my children, but it is NOT easy and I am sooo sorry you had such a bad experience with "HATEFUL" people..yes, I said hateful. You are absolutely right...they should have understood you were emotional and trying your best to do what you felt was best for your baby. You needed love and encouragement, not condemnation and arrogance.
    You are an awesome mom. I can tell by your posts that you want what is best for this precious little guy. Hang in there.
    Blessings, hugs, and prayers, andrea

  3. 30 November 2009 18:10

    I feel for you as I went through the same with Bel.
    I wanted so much to breast feed and she wouldn't latch on. Some midwifes helped and would get her on until they walked away and I couldn't get her back on. One midwife even told me that my nipples weren't big enough to breastfeed and why hadn't I told my doctor this before giving birth as I could have done some exercises to make them bigger. She made my husband go and get nipple shields which made things worse.
    I cried and cried when they took Bel away to feed her as she needed food by 2nd day without anything.
    Luckily for me, a mother in the bed opposite (who was giving birth to her 4th child) took me to one side and said it was Ok. She had bottlefed all her children and they were well and healthy. When I went home from hospital they gave me some SMA and after some heart wrenching we decided to bottle feed her.
    With Car I breastfed in hospital. It wasn't when they discharged me early after Csection amid fears I had the Obola virus ( the one with all the v+d ) that my breast feeding stopped. I was tired, I'd lost lots of blood and my midwife sat me down and said that if I wanted to continue to try and breast feed I could but it may take months to get a routine settled. So I stopped and bottle fed.

    I'm not scared to say that I bottle fed, but I wish sometimes that I had been stronger and persevered.

    Sorry for ranting, go ahead and do what feels best for you but don't feel shame.


  4. 30 November 2009 21:31

    Oh I really feel for you. I tried long and hard to establish breast feeding but it just wasnt working. My decision to bottle feed came after much considered decision. Even though I knew I had to swap it was still a decision I made in absolute tears. The pressure to breast feed had lead me to believe that I weas being a bad mummy to bottle feed.

    I wanted to do the swap "correctly" I did not know whether to swap gradually or just cold turkey as it were, how often to feed or how mcuh etc so called the midwifes for guidance.

    her advice was "the instructions are on the back of the tin!"

    There is such a lack of understanding or acceptance among midwifes and health visitors(or at least some)

  5. 30 November 2009 23:44

    I breastfed Tristan for about 2 weeks & pumped/formula fed. I breastfed Isaac for 3 whole days. With Tristan, our doctor had told us how much formula he needed. But I didn't know when he would increase, how to start solids - I'm still confused by it lol

    We have different formulas here and I've tried 4 of them between my two boys. It's hard to find out what's the best. I don't recommend off-brand formulas but I don't know what's offered overseas. We have Enfamil and Similac as the "best" over here.

    I can't believe that midwife was so rude. You do what's best for your child, breast or bottle. That was the one thing a nurse told me, was that I should be enjoying Isaac. And I wasn't, I was so stressed.

    I agree that there isn't much information. Here it seems there is more support but you still don't know much. Poor gal.

  6. 1 December 2009 06:42

    Wow, that midwife needs to be struck off. It's such a confusing and stressful time for new mums and all they need is a kind word or two of encouragement and the knowledge that it's actually OK if they can't breastfeed. Being forced into making a decision and guilt tripped that early on is unforgivable.

    As for 'anonymous' - sanctimonious twat!

  7. 1 December 2009 10:48

    Hi :)

    The best way to go is the way that suits Mum and baby.
    As long as both Mum and baby are healthy then all should be well.
    As long as babies are fed I don't think it really matters too much about the source.

    You are right there is little to no information offered to pregnant woman about bottle feeding, which I think is thoughtless.

    I'm sorry to read that you didn't feel supported in hospital and I hope that all is well for you now.

    Your blog's lovely... I just arrived here via bloggers unite... world aids day :)

    best wishes

  8. 1 December 2009 11:51

    I don't read anything regarding the whole breast vs. bottle thing anymore after finding myself increasingly aggitated. There are many many people out there who are closed minded and think they are right as you can see by the comment you posted.

    I breast fed my son for 8 months, although he did have an evening bottle of formula (I could never express enough) which started because when I had mastitis I wasn't producing enough milk. I like you, think yes, breast is best, but I'm also very aware that it sometimes just isn't possible for many reasons. And you know what, thats ok.

    I find it interesting how things have turned now though. It's only recently that formula companys can't advertise anything but follow on milk and not too long ago breastfeeding was still very taboo and not encouraged at all. Only recently has the NHS started really pushing information etc. on how to breastfeed.

    I found a lot of breastfeeding mothers were almost cultish in their thinking of breast feeding and very agressive in what they felt was 'right'. That being said though their are also a lot of bottle feeders out there who are equally disgusted by the idea of breastfeeding. I remember getting quite a few looks when I had to feed my son when were were out, even though I was discreet.

    I think this debate will always go on, which is why I gave up reading what was out there. Too depressing for me. I feel for you though! And it sucks big time that this is added stress at a already stressfull time! x
    p.s. this comment was WAY longer than I meant for it to be. Sorry!

  9. 1 December 2009 12:55

    Don't be so hard on yourself. Breast is Best only if it suits you and no one should make you feel guilty if you choose the bottle. My mum bottle fed me and i bottle fed my daughter and we all grew up fine with no hang ups. Breast or bottle - the bonding is always there. Boiled water and boiled bottles - i did not use a steriliser for the bottles. I just boiled the bottles in water and cooled them before capping up. Keep trying but if it gets too stressful, just enjoy bottle feeding

  10. 1 December 2009 18:07

    That's outrageous!!! I hope you complained to the hospital/health authority/someone. I have to say, I totally agree with you. I was lucky (and yes, it is luck) enough to be able to feed all of mine, but I remember a friend of mine who for her own reasons knew from before her daughters were born that she didn't want to breastfeed. When she asked at ante-natal appointments/after the birth for advice on bottles/amounts/formulas, the midwives flatly refused to answer. How is that helping anyone??

    On the other hand though, I found that when I said I planned exclusively to breast feed my twins, I was flatly told that I couldn't and a bottle of aptamil was shoved in my hand and I was told that if I didn't give it to them I would be starving my newborn babies. So I guess you can't win either way.

  11. Karin @ Cafe Bebe1 December 2009 20:50

    I have written a post on this same topic at my site (I Have Not Failed) and feel so strongly about the topic of bottle vs. breast and lack of education that I am still toying with the idea of a Bottle Feeding website. I fear backlash but still feel that there needs to be somewhere that people can turn to.

    I'm not sure what article you read but if it was Mother & Baby in November, I was quoted in the article- the first first-person account in the article. I was proud to share my struggles in the hope that someone "higher up" realises that there are women suffering. Thanks for sharing your experiences...have a nosey at mine and at Insomniac Mummy who inspired me to write my post.

    Karin at Cafe Bebe

  12. 3 December 2009 22:50

    This is a brilliant and brave post.
    That anonymous commenter (is commenter a word? Anyway, I'm sure you know what I mean) has obviously never struggled to feed her baby. She has never watched them lose more than 10% of their birth weight. She has never realised that she doesn't have any milk and they are screaming to be fed and if they don't get fed they will end up in hospital. Some people don't live in the real world.
    Thank goodness for blogs. Until I started reading blogs I was convinced I was the only person who had struggled to breastfeed. My NCT teacher said 'everyone can breast feed'. This is clearly not the case.
    I know it's easy for me to say, but you shouldn't feel guilty. You are a wonderful mum who tried her absolute best to breastfeed. Oli is gorgeous and healthy.
    Take care, Sx

  13. 4 December 2009 08:17

    That comment is shocking. Plus anonymous, what a surprise. I would love to speak to that person and find out if they actually have children and whether they breastfeed.

    They cannot understand how it feels when you want to breastfeed so desperately and cannot. I have written a post a while ago about this. I also had trouble making up bottles, the way that they tell you to do it on the side of the carton is impossible, you cannot do it that way. I had a horrible day when I broke down because I thought had been making the bottles wrong and I couldn't breastfeed so therefore I felt I was completely unable to feed my baby.

    Luckily I have a wonderful health visitor who went through it with me, and things got better. My beautiful baby boy healthy and happy with a great appetite.

    If I have another baby I will try to breastfeed, but if it doesn't work out I will not be as hard on myself this time.

  14. 6 December 2009 14:55

    Happy SITs Saturday Sharefest!

    I must admit this wasn't an issue for me personally but I do feel for those who have trouble and indecision over the breast versus the bottle. I think it's completely a personal choice and you do best by your baby by deciding what works in your particular situation.

    Best of luck growing your family :)

  15. 8 December 2009 17:20

    This post is fantastic!

    I planned to breastfeed like many mothers do, however after an emergency c-section and some life threatening complications on my part I didnt have the energy that my 9lb 3oz baby wanted from me so it wasnt possible and I completely agree there is NO help in bottlefeeding but enough of it is shoved in your face when it comes to breastfeeding, dont get me wrong breast is best (I grew up with a mum who was a Breastfeeding Counsellor) but it isnt always possible to do so!

  16. bakingmadmama8 December 2009 21:31

    This post really struck a chord with me as I went through exactly the same as you did. I was absolutely determined to breastfeed butThe Bear just did not want to - he'd arch his back and scream every time I tried to get him to latch on! I was incredibly down about it and was lucky to have a midwife who came round every day to try and help me establish feeding (with me giving expressed milk by bottle in the meantime.) We tried and tried but in the end I had to accept that he just wasn't going to latch on and the midwife agreed with me and encouraged me to feed him expressed milk for as long as I could keep it up and then move to formula. I was so grateful to her for helping me every step of the way but respecting my final decision.

    While I wish with all my heart I had been able to breastfeed the Bear I know that in the end I did what was best for him in terms of what we could achieve.

    Remember that you did the best you could for your baby and you have absolutely nothing to feel bad about!

  17. 10 January 2010 06:03

    Ugg. That comment made me throw up a little in my mouth. :)

    Great post. It is important to get stories like yours out in the blogosphere, so people understand the horrible impact breastfeeding guilt can have on mothers. I had a similar experience to yours - totally planned on nursing my son exclusively, but things didn't go as planned. I will always support breastfeeding as every woman's right and privilege; however, formula feeding is a lifesaver for many of us for so many reasons, and we need to defend that right too.

    If you ever want more support, check out my blog -
    Thanks again for your honest post.

  18. 12 January 2010 18:04

    What a stupid sanctimommy who left that bullshit comment. You should be proud of doing what's best for your baby! Some people let their babies go hungry for a long time because of women like the one who left that comment; moms are made to feel bad for formula feeding but not for letting their babies cry in hunger so that society will consider them good breastfeeding mothers.

  19. 12 June 2010 08:45

    If everyone could breastfeed, there would never have been such a thing as wet nurses, but there were all throughout human history in most cultures. In fact, even some primates and other animals will nurse each others young. Some women produce tons of milk easily, while others don't even if they are doing everything right. Some babies figure it out in seconds and others just will not cooperate or have a physical problem that makes it impossible. I've seen many women suffer horrible pain and even life threatening illnesses trying to breastfeed. I tried extremely hard to breastfeed my son for four months, went in to the lactation specialists repeatedly, followed their advice religiously, and still didn't really have success and he was on formula by four months. I definitely got some nasty looks and rude comments about bottle feeding, which was hurtful because I had really wanted to breastfeed and tried for four exhausting months (during which I was so tired I was sleepwalking and dented my car bumper). We used Earths Best Organic formula, and my son did not catch his first cold until after he was one year old, and is very healthy and happy at two now. I have a new daughter, and am running into completely different problems breastfeeding her. I have cried many times over it, and people who are judgemental about this have clearly never walked a mile in my breasts. This is some of the worst pain I have ever felt in my life, and I've had two c-sections and a knee reconstruction, nipples are very sensitive! In the 1950's, everybody bottle fed and do we consider our grandmothers to have been horrible mothers? It's just a societal swing with no balance to it, and we need to speak out for choice and personal differences, we are not all the same and have very different experiences with all aspects of having babies, breastfeeding included.