If you have followed my blog for a while, you may have seen this post about my choices to bottle feed. When I was pregnant I was absolutely adamant that I was going to bottle feeding Rory, despite feeling the pressure to breastfeed, I was really stubborn with my decision, bottle feeding was going to be the right choice for us.
To summarise, I felt that bottle feeding was more convenient (but between washing, sterilising, preparing feeds and having the strict timeframes you can keep formula – this just isn’t the case), I thought other people could help me bottle feed but obviously as I am with Rory all of the time I do 99% of his feeds. What it all boiled down to was the fact that breastfeeding just freaked me out a little bit – I know, what a tit. (hold the pun)
I was always hearing about stories of mastitis, cracked nipples, pain, low milk supply, cluster feeding and it just felt like a minefield. If I asked midwives for information they would tell me to wait until my antenatal classes which I never made due to going into labour. It just seemed like a host of things that my clouded little pregnant head couldn’t handle.
When I gave birth via emergency cesarian, I was in and out of consciousness and I will never forget Rich saying “I think he’s hungry” as Rory puckered his lips. The midwife asked if we were breastfeeding and the very clear thought went through my head “fuck that” – I was still led there being stitched up while trying not to vomit and having concerns over the infection I had contracted due to my waters being broken. No, in that moment, I was not breastfeeding. I had never been happier to see a bottle of formula and watch him be fed by someone else.
This continued while Rich was on paternity leave, at one point I had my step dad, dad and brother in the room visiting and was feeding Rory from a bottle and I thought “thank god I am not breastfeeding in front of this lot”, but it was all very short-lived, soon Rory started having colicky symptoms and I thought “if we had breastfed this may not be happening”, we even tried it ourselves but Rich and I are not experts and had I known my desire to breastfeed would grow later I would have seen a breastfeeding consultant then and there but I still was set in my bottle feeding decision.
When my milk dried up (it didn’t take very long) I was overcome with relief, I hated my milk boobs, they were huge and unattractive and made me feel so gross. After having leaking boobs from 20 weeks of pregnancy I was so glad to ditch the breast pads and stop waking up in a big milky mess. I was one step closer to getting my body back to normal.
However, when Rory turned about 12 weeks, something in my heart ached. I would look at breastfeeding mums and just be in awe of them, something in the pit of my stomach just made me feel that I was missing out – I hadn’t even attempted it.
When I was pregnant so many people told me to ‘just try’ breastfeeding, and my stubborn behaviour just made me want to bottle feed all the more – but what if they were talking from experience? The more I opened up about my regrets, the more other bottle feeding mums (that opted to bottle feed from the get go) shared that they had felt the same, we should have tried it. I just thought, if only someone in my position had actually said that to me at the time.
Only when it was too late, did my regrets come into play and I do feel sad about that. I feel sad that I didn’t try and I always wonder how Rory and I would take to it. He is a clingy baby, and although bottle feeding certainly hasn’t tainted our bond (like some people lead you to believe) I feel like he would have thrived on it. Sure, if it didn’t work out at least I would have tried.
Rory is bottle fed, and although this has its benefits and I am sure it’s worked out for the best due to him being lactose intolerant for a long while. There is nothing I can do now, but for baby number two I will be attempting to breastfeed, even if it’s just to find out how we get on.