The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on… Bottle Feeding advice Norfolk.

 

Okay, here goes.

I bottle fed both of my children.

Now, I am likely to come under fire for saying this, which to me is simply a fact.

Many will say that I didn’t give them the best start to life, that I am advocating bottle feeding or a trillion other arguments I didn’t even know existed before I became a parent.

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Many will say that I didn’t give them the best start to life, that I am advocating bottle feeding or a trillion other arguments I didn’t even know existed before I became a parent.

Isn’t it funny before you have children you just are not aware that how you decide to feed your children is an invitation for you to come under fire, you are put on display and have your parenting ability judged and dissected on this one choice which seems so minor in the great scheme of things.

When I was pregnant with Elijah, I just couldn’t shake of the feeling that I didn’t want to breast feed. I did what I did best, I researched. Strangely, to me it felt un natural.

I spoke to so many of my friends, my Nan who had bottle fed two children and read as many articles as I could.

The feeling was still there when I was nearing my due date and we went in with some ready made bottles in my hospital bag and we would see how I feel after I gave birth.

It seems though the decision was perhaps already made for us.

I was very ill, and Elijah was rushed away into the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit and wasn’t allowed to feed for three days.

When he was finally given the all clear to feed, it seemed so natural to us for Greg to take the lead with bottles while I was still physically recovering.

In NICU there was no pressure, no judgement and the nurses went with our lead. I asked if breastfeeding would help Elijah and they said that no matter how we fed our child, his heart wouldn’t suddenly be okay, it didn’t make a difference to us in that situation.

Midwives and Health Visitors continuously spoke to me about breastfeeding, or made comments when I said we were bottle feeding.

You are made to feel as though you have failed your child, and that is a personal failure as after all you are the one with the boobs which you aren’t using to feed your child with even more so when you have an ill child.

But, I look back and why? I fed my child, I got him as strong as he could be for open heart surgery.

I have fed two children, who have thrived, put weight on and are happy and healthy.

Still though we are put under this immense pressure that how we feed our child is a direct correlation to how good or bad we are as a parent.

Which is why I perhaps got a bee in my bonnet when I was pregnant with Harlow.

I knew this was likely our last pregnancy so planned to give breastfeeding ago promising myself if it began to affect me, our family I would swap to bottles and I would not feel guilty (or would at least try not too).

I breastfed Harlow for eight days before we changed to bottles. The dynamic just wasn’t working. Elijah was pushed out, Greg felt redundant and I was in a lot of pain.

I know women who have breastfeed for years, some who breastfed three children at a time and I am in awe of them but for us it just didn’t work and I am okay with that so why isn’t society?

baby cafe

How you choose to feed your baby is a personal choice, as long as you have all the information you need, have access to advice and know what you are doing and you are your baby are happy and healthy then it really doesn’t matter.

I have seen women torn apart online for their choice, bombarded with the stats, facts and pushy campaigns.

But why?

Aren’t we all just trying our best?

No one is better than anyone because of the way they feed their child.

We are all equal.

Chances are the baby still wont sleep, throw a tantrum in Morrison’s but at least we can start to try and drop the stigma around bottle feeding, give parents support and advice on all choices and don’t regard one as superior over the other.

We must be careful and mindful of the language we use, especially for vulnerable pregnant and new mums, some may feel isolated and the feelings of failure can become destructive.

There are some great websites that provide all round information on feeding choices and personal experiences with no judgement which can be found here;

http://www.frankaboutfeeding.com/

Feeding

Breastfeeding and Feeding Support – Norwich & Norfolk

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

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Read more of Vicki’s blog and let me know what other guest blog topics you’d like to see.