There are many reasons why you may bottlefeed your baby rather than breastfeed. Although we all know ‘breast is best’, sometimes it’s not always possible to follow the ideal and we have to explore other options.
Carol, 31, mum to Bronwyn, 17 months, was forced to switch to formula soon after her daughter’s birth, despite having planned to breastfeed.
“I was determined I was going to breastfeed but it just didn’t work out that way. It all started when I had to have an elective caesarean because I was warned my baby could weigh as much as 12lb 10oz. Because of her size she got wedged in and there were problems bringing her out. Unfortunately, she got cut on her head in the process, then got an infection and her temperature shot up.
“I tried to breastfeed but she couldn’t do it and I had to get fluids into her somehow, so we gave her formula,” says Carol.
“To make matters worse, she was tongue-tied [had a piece of tissue bridging the gap between her tongue and the floor of her mouth] and I had inverted nipples – so no wonder the poor thing was finding feeding difficult,” explains Carol.
“Time to move on”
Carol says, “I was gutted that it didn’t work, as I was desperate to breastfeed, but if you can’t, you can’t. So I hunkered down, and once I got going I actually found bottlefeeding easy compared with breastfeeding, and we got into a routine nice and quickly.
“I sterilise Bronwyn’s bottles first thing and fill them with pre-boiled water. Then I keep them on the work surface, ready to fill with formula when she’s ready for a feed.
“Because Bronwyn weighed 11lb 12oz when she was born, I was warned she would need to feed a lot – and she does – so formula milk has turned out to be the best solution. If I’d breastfed her, she would have always been starving or I’d have been at it 24 hours a day.”
“Helps with sharing feeds”
“It’s great knowing someone else can help with the feeds and that you know exactly how much milk your baby is getting – there’s no guesswork involved.
“I’m going back to work soon, so it will be easier to leave Bronwyn knowing that she’s used to having formula and feeding from a bottle. I do get disapproving looks when I get the bottle out, but I know it’s not worth beating myself up about it,” says Carol.
“After an emergency c-section he got used to the bottle”
“Even before I had children, I felt I was more likely to bottlefeed than breastfeed. I was open to trying breastfeeding when I had Sam, but as it turned out, I had an emergency caesarean and was on a high dose of morphine straight after the birth so was unable to breastfeed. A few days later I was encouraged to try breastfeeding but Sam was already used to the bottle and taking it really well. So I decided I didn’t want to change something that worked for him.”
Linda, 35, mum to Sam, 3 months