I chose formula

I chose to formula feed my baby. From birth.

There, I said it. Possibly one of the most debated parenting decisions there is! I know this debate often sparks up very strong opinions and debates, but I felt I needed to be honest and finally explain my choice.

Before I had Alice, I was completely convinced and decided on breastfeeding. So much so, that I didn’t even purchase any bottles or formula or even sterilizing equipment. I knew, no matter what, that I was going to breastfeed for at least 6 weeks. So my decision not to was nothing to do with me being selfish, or being a bad mother and not giving my baby what was best. I had read the material, listened to midwives and I completely understood and agreed with the benefits of breastfeeding. I wanted what was best, and I knew that breast was it!

The birth did not go to plan (does anyones?!) It was a very quick labour. When Alice was born, she was not breathing and needed resuscitation. So she was whisked away to the other side of the room where I couldn’t even see her. Meanwhile, my placenta decided to get stuck and I was at risk of haemorrhaging. For my own safety I was taken through to surgery immediately after giving birth, where I underwent an hour of surgery which left me emotionally shattered. I was wheeled back into the room where I had given birth. I could not feel anything from my chest down, I felt utterly exhausted and I hadn’t even seen my baby.

Alice was handed to me. It was horrible. I couldn’t hold her properly so she was propped up on a pillow. I looked at her. She looked at me. I felt… nothing. Not the over whelming love you are supposed to. Not even happiness that my baby was here. I didn’t understand where she had come from. She just didn’t feel like mine at all. So when the midwife said she needed feeding and was I going to breastfeed, I answered without any hesitation. No.

Alice needed feeding and I was handed a bottle. But I couldn’t do it, and so she was handed to Dave instead. I had to stay in hospital overnight and Dave had to leave. I was left on my own with a baby I didn’t think was mine, utterly exhausted and without knowing what I was going to do.

Luckily I had the most amazing midwife who stayed with me nearly all night. With her support and kindness, I began to bond with Alice. I fed her from a bottle, looking into her eyes and by the end of the night I was utterly smitten. It was as though a fog had lifted and finally I could see my baby! Focussing on feeding her the bottles, remembering how long they had been opened and how much I had given her really helped me to focus on looking after Alice and to stop worrying about any negative thoughts I was having.

When I got her home, we were bottle feeding. That was it. It sounds ridiculous, but the routine of making up a bottle made me feel more in control of things. I guess because I had not bonded with Alice straight away, I felt like my motherly instincts hadn’t kicked in. Breastfeeding is incredibly natural, and when you don’t feel any emotional connection to your baby it is very hard to in envision doing it. The bottle made me feel like a mum. Like I was in control of looking after Alice and there was no pressure on us.

As the trauma of the birth faded away and I spent time with Alice in our home environment, I really began to feel that emotional connection. 3 weeks after she was born, I remember looking at her and thinking, “I wish I could breastfeed you now”. Of course, it was too late by then.

Do I regret not breastfeeding? Absolutely not. I wrote down everything I was feeling at the time (I’m obsessed with keeping diaries!), and reading it back, I was in no fit state to breastfeed. I was emotional, traumatised and struggling to come to terms with having a newborn. It was not right for me.

One question I can predict I will be asked is: What about what’s right for your baby? It shouldn’t matter how you feel, it’s all about what is in your babies best interest.
The thing is, when I had Alice, I couldn’t quite believe she was mine. As I didn’t see her for an hour after she was born, I didn’t get that emotional connection straight away. It sounds terrible but, I was thinking about myself! I was totally overwhelmed and felt completely under prepared for what had happened. I just wanted to go home. That was it! The birth was nothing like I had predicted. And I couldn’t predict my feelings. I had no idea I would feel the way i did after having her, so I could only react to it as it happened. I wasn’t thinking straight and I just had to do what felt right at the time. Which is why I stand by my decision.

I do not regret formula feeding Alice. It was what was right for me, and for her, at the time I made my decision. However, if I ever have anymore children, I would love to breastfeed as I really do believe it is what is best for your baby.

How you feed your baby is down to you, and it makes me sad that parents are made to feel guilty for whatever choice they decide to make.

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Even with the best intentions, things can change in a moment – Part One

Baby number one – I planned to breastfeed but lasted 24 hours.  I couldn’t get past the cracked, bleeding nipples!

Baby number two – I planned to formula feed.  I breastfed from day 2 till day 6 which ended with us both getting thrush and a doctor telling me the only way to clear it was to stop breastfeeding!

Baby number three – I planned to breastfeed.  Formula top ups were introduced at day 5 due to weight loss which gradually increased over a couple of weeks due to poor weight gain.  I switched completely to formula at 6 weeks when I was told, “enough is enough, you are starving your baby!” ARGGGGHHHHHH!

Baby number four – my wonderful whirlwind of a boy.  I was determined to breastfeed, more so than any of the others as he was my last baby and my last chance to experience breastfeeding.  I read lots and lots of information about positioning, latch, talked to friends, had good support around me and felt ready for the challenge! I wasn’t going to give in as easily as I did with the others.  I was going to succeed and it was going to be wonderful!

After 30 hours of labour which included malpositioning, fetal and maternal distress, and a placental abruption, Theo came screaming into the world via an emergency c-section.  I don’t remember much about his birth other than he had a big bump on his head! I was losing a lot of blood and was pretty spaced out.

In the recovery room, I was asked how I wanted to feed.  I could barely keep my eyes open so asked for a bottle of formula.  I would figure the rest out later.

After an hour or so in recovery, I was moved back to the labour ward to have the first of 4 blood transfusions.  Shortly after it was started, I felt the worst pain I have ever felt in all my life – with every after pain, it felt like my insides were being pulled apart (little did we know at the time, that’s exactly what was happening). I couldn’t focus on anything else and, dare I admit it, even forgot that I had had a baby! I do recall at one point begging a midwife to kill me if she couldn’t stop the pain (yep, drama queen) and with that I was given a super duper drug that knocked me right out.  My baby was given more formula and our breastfeeding journey had ended before it had even begun.

I guess you could say that even with the best intentions and determination, things can change in a moment and that’s ok!

There were many reasons why breastfeeding ultimately wouldn’t have worked for us had we tried. At 8 days post birth, I returned to hospital for major surgery to repair the damage done during my C-section – it turned out they had stitched my urethra to my womb hence the terrible after pains!  I wouldn’t have been able to breastfeed with the medications I was taking plus Theo was only allowed to stay with me for three days before being kicked out! I stayed for a further two weeks.

Theo was also admitted to hospital at four weeks old and again at six weeks with a recurrent infection in a salivary gland that made his face swell up and become very painful – no chance of holding him close, never mind close enough to breastfeed. Because I wasn’t breastfeeding him, the hospital advised me that they wouldn’t provide me with meals during my baby’s stay, meaning I would have to leave him to visit the hospital cafeteria.  Needless to say, I didn’t eat for four days whilst he was in there!

It also turned out that Theo was profoundly deaf.  He didn’t like being held close whilst feeding, possibly due to not liking having his view restricted or maybe just because he’s a nosy monkey! He was diagnosed and fitted with hearing aids at 8 weeks old.

I didn’t regret not trying to breastfeed nor was I disappointed despite being so determined during pregnancy.  At the time I felt (and still feel) that there were more important things to concentrate on – especially after nearly losing my own life and my baby’s during the traumatic birth.  Formula was fine for my other babies so it was more than fine for Theo too.  It may have been my last chance to experience breastfeeding but I wasn’t going to dwell on it.

Little did I know, five years on, along would come Ed….

No two babies feed the same way

My son was born two weeks late, by emergency c-section and weighed almost ten pounds. I was in hospital for several days afterwards, where he managed to latch on quite successfully but screamed pretty much all. the. time. Eventually, just before I went home, a midwife persuaded me to give him a bottle of formula. He calmed down immediately. Of course this made me feel incredibly guilty and like I’d traumatised my poor newborn by starving him in his early days. I felt my colostrum was not enough for such a large baby. I’ve since been told this is nonsense, but we all know there’s no reasoning with a hormonal woman who has just given birth.

I didn’t let this stop me from breastfeeding, though.

A day later I woke up with boobs like footballs, and over the next few weeks I managed to drop all but one of his formula feeds. I endured two horrific bouts of mastitis, which to this day is the worst illness I’ve ever suffered. The only real way out is to feed through the pain, so that’s what I did. I felt proud of myself. I felt that although I hadn’t managed a “normal” birth, there was still something that only I could do for my baby and that was to breastfeed him. Despite suffering through the agonies of mastitis I had persevered.

I can remember going to baby groups and clinics and feeding my son when he cried. When breastfeeding is successful, it is so wonderful. The closeness to your baby, even when it’s the middle of the night is so special.

When Monkey was four months old, he started losing interest. I couldn’t make him concentrate on breastfeeding and he wouldn’t feed from me anymore. He would inhale his late-night bottle of formula but ignore the breast. It seemed he had decided to stop and over the course of about ten days we made the switch to formula. I felt I’d given breastfeeding my best shot but I wished I’d been able to continue it for a longer period.

All of the friends I’d made in my NCT ante-natal class continued to breastfeed for at least a year and I did feel disappointed with myself when I saw them, still nursing their babies as I bottle fed. So I resolved that when baby number two came along, I’d try harder.

Two weeks under two years later, my daughter was born. This time I was prepared. I knew I’d be undergoing a c-section this time around and I knew this could mean difficulty in establishing breastfeeding. I made sure that the nurses knew that I wanted my daughter on my skin as soon as she was delivered. I even bought several feeding dresses, as I knew I’d be unable to wear trousers post-surgery so my feeding tops would be useless. I bought boxes of breast pads and nipple cream. I was ready.

I remember a nurse checking on me that first night. Madam was latched to my breast, albeit uncomfortably so all seemed well. The nurse ticked a box and disappeared. Sadly, I hadn’t realised (and no medical professional had pointed out) that all babies latch differently. It only takes a few feeds with an incorrectly positioned baby to cause horrible damage to your nipples. Once this happens it’s incredibly difficult to heal.

By the time I got home, both my nipples were horrifically damaged with gaping cuts on each side. Every time my daughter fed from me we would both be covered in blood. I can’t articulate how painful it was for me. I remember agonising shooting pains from my breasts to my armpits. I remember sweating, with every muscle in my body tensed. I used to sob whilst frantically kicking my legs in an attempt not to scream out in pain. I didn’t always succeed and used to feed her with tears streaming down my face.

My husband would help me to position the baby and then quickly disappear. I couldn’t understand it and felt like he was abandoning me when I needed him most. Turns out, he couldn’t bear to watch me suffer.

I enlisted the help of a lactation consultant who came to visit me at home. By the time she arrived, when my daughter was a week old, I’d corrected the latch and she was positioned perfectly. But it was too late. The damage was done. It’s impossible for nipples to heal when a baby is feeding from them for hours a day. I couldn’t express milk as that was so painful for me, too. Nipple shields offered no respite.

I endured ten days of unspeakable agony. I used to dread my baby crying, as I knew I’d have to feed her. I found it hard to look at her, as I felt that she was causing me such pain. Reading these words back, I feel sick. But that’s how it was for me. On day ten, my doctor called. He told me that it was okay to stop, really. He pointed out that he was not breastfed and managed to do pretty well for himself. He said that a happy mum is far more important than how much breast milk her baby gets.

I was crushed, but I knew I had no option but to give up breast feeding. I felt such a failure and was utterly devastated. There began a quick decline in to what turned out to be a severe case of post-natal depression.

I realise now that I placed far, far too much emphasis on breast feeding. I’d imagined a wonderful, nurturing bond with my daughter, when in fact, my attempt to breastfeed her caused the opposite. It made me feel resentful towards her and that is something I still struggle to forgive myself for, two years on.

Whenever I saw a mother breastfeeding, I felt immense pangs of guilt. Bottle feeding such a small baby in public caused me more embarrassment than I used to feel breastfeeding my son in restaurants. I felt the need to explain what I’d been through to random strangers, to justify my decision to bottle feed her. I felt like I wasn’t good enough for my baby. Like a failure from the word-go.

Even at the time, I remember thinking that had one of my friends been through the same thing, I’d tell her not to be ridiculous. That she shouldn’t give herself such a hard time and that she should treat herself with more kindness. But sadly I wasn’t able to listen to my own advice.

This is why a point in my Mummy Kindness Manifesto is:

‘I will feed my baby however suits me, my baby and my family. I will never judge another mother for how she chooses to feed her baby’

I think this is so incredibly important. We are our own harshest critics and we really need to pull together. Judgement helps nobody and we are all just doing our best, finding our way as we go.

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” ~Jesse Jackson

So I’m sharing this with you today, because I have been on both sides. I admit to have been slightly smug and judgey as a breastfeeder four years ago. I suppose I felt I’d earned the right. I also know the crushing disappointment at being unable to breastfeed a baby when you want to.

Motherhood is hard. So hard. There need not be a divide between breast and bottle feeders. There need not be a divide between any of us. We can learn so much from each other’s stories. Let’s remember that what is right for you may not be right for someone else and respect one another’s choices.

Our worth as mothers is not and should not be defined by whether or not we choose to breastfeed.

Not a mother figure

“I’m scared,” my sister-in-law sobbed into the phone.

I stopped myself before I said something unhelpful or asinine like, “Don’t be scared.”

Instead I replied, “I imagine you are. I wish I knew what to say or do.”

Peter’s youngest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. The surgeon scheduled her mastectomy for the end of the week. She called Tuesday morning as I was getting ready for work with a request.

“Do you think you could have your mom call me?” she asked. “I need a mom to talk to. I wish my mom was here.”

Her plea almost incapacitated me. My husband’s mother was gone before I even met him. I know if I were in the same situation, the first person I would call after Peter would be my mom.

“I’ll call her today and ask her to speak with you,” I promised.

“They’re taking my breast,” she said. “And I need a mom to talk to. No offense to you, but I need someone like my own mom,” she apologized.

My sister-in-law is older than me. Even though I am a mom, there is no way that I am a mother figure for her.

“Don’t apologize. I understand,” I assured her.

I was secretly relieved that she wanted to talk to someone else. I can understand her fear about the breast removal since any surgery has risks, but I can’t say that I would be able to relate to her sense of impending loss.

That evening after work, I decided to confide this to Peter.

I tried making light of it. “If I were in your sister’s place, I think you would miss my breast more than me.”

He smiled, but looked at me quizzically.

“You know, the whole purpose of a breast is to provide milk.” I stopped. I was no longer joking.

When I was pregnant, I had decided to breastfeed. It took Philip’s near dehydration when he was a few days old to realize that my body was not producing milk and never would. I still have no idea why my milk never came in despite nursing and pumping.  I learned from one of my co-workers what it should feel like, and I simply never experienced that.

Through tears I continued. “I feel like my breasts betrayed me.” My voice barely a whisper I concluded, “I wouldn’t care if they were gone.”

I cried, the pain, the feeling of personal failure and the sense of loss still lingering almost five years later.

“You didn’t hurt him,” Peter said quietly. “He is okay.”

I know he is right. I know I should forgive my body.

I just resent that I didn’t get to be a complete mother figure.

I Support You, Jessica!

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As part of the Suzanne Bartson et al “I Support You” campaign, I have taken part in a little interviewette (made up word by a very good friend) with a fellow blogger on her feeding experience. (You can read my replies to Jessica’s questions here – please excuse the ridiculous amount of typos.  It’s been a busy week!)  Some answers are amazingly similar despite our different feeding methods and choices.

This is my personal two pennies worth. There is a fear amongst the breastfeeding fraternity that if we embrace all feeding choices, that breastfeeding will die a slow, pathetic death.  But whatever is going on now to promote breastfeeding still isn’t really working.  That’s because it not only runs on an element of pressure but also to breastfeed is the PERFECT way of feeding.  Perfection is impossible.  The best we can aim for is good enough.  So let’s stop trying to be perfect.  Breastfeed because it’s normal and good enough.  It’s convenient and can be incredibly satisfying.  However, if it doesn’t work out, you won’t love your child any less – we’re all struggling under a tsunami of maternal guilt – we don’t need everyone else’s judgement adding to it. And by having a little more love and understanding, we might just build enough bridges to enable breastfeeding to become a normal transition into motherhood and not let it define who we are as mothers.

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Jessica is a freelance writer and blogger in Buffalo, New York.  She has a doctorate in educational policy and development and writes about parenting and education for her blog, School of Smock (www.schoolofsmock.com).  She can be found on Twitter (@schoolofsmock) and on facebook (www.facebook.com/schoolofsmock).

Please share a brief summary of your feeding experience.

I breastfed until my son was about six or seven weeks old.  I exclusively pumped for another week or so.  My son starting refusing to breastfeed when he was about six weeks old and developed very severe acid reflux.  We also discovered that he had a milk protein allergy.  Our doctor recommended putting him on an elemental (prescription) formula while I pumped and waited for the dairy to be eliminated from my milk. Or she said I could stop breastfeeding.  I chose to stop.

What was your original plan for feeding your child, and how did that compare to what you ultimately ended up doing?

My original plan was to breastfeed exclusively for at least several months.  I didn’t have a firm time frame in mind.  I wanted to keep doing it as long as it was working out well for our family.  I was disappointed that I felt that the best choice for us was to stop after less than two months; I really wanted to breastfeed longer.  But ultimately I have no regrets at all that this was the right decision for me and for my son.

What was the best part about how you fed your child?  What was the worst?

I did love breastfeeding at first.  The first few weeks had expected difficulties (problems with latching, yeast infections, etc.) but overall I enjoyed the physical and emotional closeness.  The worst part was the pain.  My son developed a very poor latch over the course of several weeks, and it hurt terribly.  I kept waiting for breastfeeding not to hurt, and it always did, despite repeated help from lactation consultants, postpartum doulas, and my ob/gyn.

What myths about how you fed your child were the most hurtful?  What is your “truth” that counteracts those myths?

The myth that I found to be most hurtful was you might not be a good mom if you don’t sacrifice your mental sanity to keep breastfeeding.  Despite my son’s allergy, I could’ve eliminated dairy and soy from my diet and kept trying to get him to breastfeed, despite the pain and despite the bad latch.  The pediatrician said that if I went this route, I could have worked with a nutritionist to come up with a diet that eliminated all allergens.  I could’ve done that, but I know that this would have been too much for me.  I heard a few remarks from other mothers that I found very hurtful about how women who are truly committed to breastfeeding stick with it, even when their children have allergies.  My “truth” is that I know that combining breastfeeding with colic, reflux, lack of sleep, moving to a new city (all of the challenges that I had during my son’s first couple months) and dealing with my son’s medications and specialists would have been too much for me.  I know that, and I don’t feel bad about it, despite others’ potential judgment. 

What would help you (or would have helped you) to feel supported/understood in your choices?

An acknowledgement that feeding choices are such a personal thing and that you can’t compare your own experience (or someone else that you know) with another person’s.  I felt immensely supported during my first weeks of breastfeeding: from my doctors, the nurses, lactation consultants, the pediatricians.  But I felt like I needed more intensive support later (about a month into breastfeeding) and not as much during the beginning weeks.

What advice would you give to your son when the time comes to feed his child?

There is no wrong decision.  Research all of your options.  Support your partner/wife and participate in all of the decisions, even the littlest ones.  It’s truly a family decision.  But ultimately support your partner’s gut instinct about what’s best for her body.

Thank you, Jessica – I support you.  

If you would like to be part of the ongoing Happy Medium Monday blog posts which are stories from all mothers with all different feeding stories, then write to evidencebasedtitsandteeth@gmail.com – you can look at the Happy Medium Monday archive for inspiration!

One will do nicely

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When I had my first son I didn’t decide to breast feed I just naively assumed I would- my mum breastfed us and my sister had breastfed all of her children, it’s free and meant I wouldn’t have to get out of bed in the night, that was as far as my ‘research’ went. Turns out I ended up with quite strong feelings about it!

First son ended up being delivered by emergency section, was born ‘grunting’ and was whisked past me to SCBU. I didn’t even really see him, let alone touch him. In fact I didn’t see him for nearly 12hours.  Looking back I am fairly certain he must have been given formula; I didn’t see him for 12 hours and didn’t attempt to feed him till the next morning, don’t ask me why, I have no idea, it’s just how it happened, mostly not through my choice.

I think it was my sister who sorted out a pump for me and got the nurses to help me feed. Anyway, more by luck than judgement we established feeding, came home and I was exclusively breastfeeding.

I had two lots of mastitis over the next eight weeks, and to cut a long story short, by week 11, I ended up back in hospital having a breast abscess drained and my son stayed at home. I couldn’t feed him due to the antibiotics I was made to take and I couldn’t look after him on my own as I was far too ill. I pumped and dumped for the two weeks I took the medicine, every four hours, day and night.

Just before I was admitted I fed him his first bottle, it made me cry and I hated it. I felt like I was a massive failure – looking back I can see I gave myself a really hard time over something I had no control over. My son was bottle fed for two weeks, I had no idea that I could have got breast milk for him to feed him.  At the time I probably would have freaked at the idea, a shame because my sister would have almost definitely given me her milk.  She did tell me after she almost offered to feed him. I don’t think I would have said yes, but I would now!

So he had two weeks of formula and then I went back to feeding him, but only on one side as the other was a little broken still! We went on like this for the next 5 months, one sided feeding, and then I went back to work, part time and within two weeks my son had self-weaned and was bottle fed on formula until he went onto cow’s milk at one.

I wasn’t disappointed as I was pleased that we got as far as we did. I wish I had more knowledge and advice in those early days but maybe not having it was what helped me succeed. I didn’t even know that all the obstacles in my way could have stopped me breastfeeding, and luckily, they didn’t!

One amazing journey…

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My name is Jenni and I’m the extremely proud mummy of Daniel, a gorgeous little miracle baby.

I am definitely pro-breastfeeding and yet I exclusively bottle fed my precious bundle with formula. Why? I hear you all scream, why if you know breast is best, did you not give your baby that wonderful stuff? Well, sit back, relax and listen to my little tale.

Back in 2006, aged 26 I was diagnosed with a very rare type of cancer called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei. The long and short of it was that I lost a lot of my internal organs including all my baby making bits. My ovaries were shot to hell so there was no chance of egg salvage.  Two major operations and a bit of chemo later and I was cancer free. However, all I’d wanted my whole life was to be a mummy so now I had to find a way to make it happen.

Hubby and I decided on surrogacy as he would be the biological father and I would get the full newborn baby experience (mad I know but I wanted the sleepless nights etc!!)  It took well over a year to find the right surrogate, a wonderful lady called Dawn and after only 3 attempts at insemination – we were pregnant!!  Our gorgeous little man arrived 6 weeks early by emergency C-section and was ventilated in Neo-natal Intensive Care. It was scary and stressful, made worse for me by the fact that I knew Daniel would have to be formula fed as there was no way I could breastfeed. I asked the consultant if there was any way Daniel could be fed from the breast milk bank but as he was born at 34 weeks they said he was too old. Usually only the very premature babies or those who are extremely poorly are given the donated milk. So that was that, my little man was to be a fully formula fed bubba.

Two and a half weeks later, Daniel was discharged home. Over the next few weeks we struggled with feeding. Daniel had dreadful colic and couldn’t settle at all. We tried all the over the counter preparations and even some prescription ones. Eventually it was discovered that he was lactose intolerant. Within 24 hours of switching to lactose free formula he was a different baby! Settled, happy and feeding well. My boy was thriving, he had a formula that was suiting him and he was healthy, apart from eczema and chronic lung disease due to his prematurely.

However, I was still unhappy about the fact that I was feeding my baby formula. I felt a failure, even though my sensible head kept telling me there really was no choice and that Daniel was very happy on it. Every time I bottle fed my baby in public I imagined all the judging looks from other people, as though they felt I was a bad mother for not breastfeeding. I was so very glad when Daniel was weaned and bottles were laid to rest.

I did look into all sorts of options before Daniel was born but they would have created added pressure. The idea of breast feeding and using formula via a little tube beside your nipple so the baby still feels they are breast feeding felt too complicated and unsuitable for going out and about.  I went through so many emotions about the whole thing, including asking myself if it was weird to breast feed a baby who wasn’t biologically mine…..would he be freaked out by it when he was older?

There is the option for women like me to stimulate lactation to enable them to breastfeed (www.breastfeedingwithoutbirthing.com). The breastfeeding is primarily a bonding exercise. My boy and I are living proof that you can form a very strong bond without breastfeeding, he is a total mummy’s boy and I absolutely adore him. Quite frankly, from even before he was conceived, I have loved him with all my heart and soul, bonding was never going to be a problem.

At the end of all my research I concluded that for me, it wasn’t the best idea to mess my broken little body around anymore, either with manual or hormonal measures, and the idea of getting your husband to suckle to stimulate lactation was just yucky!! I knew in my heart that bonding was never going to be a problem, and I was right, so I decided just to bite the bullet and go for formula.

Although I will always feel sad that I never had the chance to breastfeed, I have mostly made my peace with it. Daniel probably hasn’t suffered at all from it; he is a very happy, healthy, bouncing 2 year old whose health problems have all but sorted themselves out.

I may not have given my boy breast milk but I gave him the best start I possibly could, along with all the love in the world. I am still, and will always be pro-breastfeeding. It’s free, portable, amazing for your baby and good for mummies but I have to say that formula does have its place. Not every mummy can breastfeed, whether they don’t produce enough or, for reasons like me, can’t produce any. It doesn’t make them any less of a mother.877