Why breast isn’t always best.

Let me start with the fact that breast milk is nutritionally the best for baby obviously as it’s natural.

But is it always best for mum? Is it always best for your family? Is it best for happiness? I found not necessarily.

I have always wanted to breastfeed, since before I was pregnant.

When you are pregnant “breast is best” is drummed into you.

It’s made out to be the most natural thing in the world.

It’s made out to be sunshine and rainbows, well let me tell you it’s not.

My trying and consequently failing to breastfeed ruined my early days with our precious miracle. It’s not at all how I expected it to be.

It took me weeks to realise breast wasn’t best for us.

Early on Arabella fed constantly, I was told this was normal and a newborn thing, to help supply. I stuck with it. It didn’t get easier. She was still constantly feeding. I suspected she had tongue tie, I asked my midwife and GP, I was told she didn’t have tongue tie. I stuck with it. After her carrying on feeding constantly, and I mean constantly. She was forever on the breast. I couldn’t go out. I didn’t get any sleep. I asked on a Facebook group and twitter with pictures if she had tongue tie. Well it looked like she did.

I booked a private lactation consultant at a huge cost to us when she was 5 weeks old. I couldn’t cope with the constant feeding. She saw immediately Arabella had 100% tongue tie. It was snipped there and then. But it was all too late. Arabella never learned to feed properly.

I went to see the NHS specialist breastfeeding midwife, she immediately told me I has had been doing it wrong from the start, this made me feel like shit, like a massive failure.

I may have been doing it wrong from the start, but as a first time mum, was I given breastfeeding help in hospital, no. I just had to muddle on on my own, learn myself whilst the other 3 women on my bay were given help with bottle feeding.

This midwife got her to latch perfectly for a feed. It was the first time I had seen her milk drunk in weeks, since she was newborn.

I got home and then couldn’t get her to latch properly. All I did was cry, I felt like a failure. I was a mess, this was full on meltdown. I felt like I was falling into the deep hole of depression.

I made the decision there and then to switch to formula and express as much as possible. I expressed for aslong as I could. It just wasn’t convenient at home with a newborn on my own all day to keep it up, I would start expressing and then she would need me so I had to stop. My already poor supply dwindled.

Stopping was one of the hardest things I ever did.

But I needed to do it for my own mental health, for us. I truly believe if I had carried on I would’ve needed help.

I hate it when people say if you really want to breastfeed you will, it’s just not that simple.

I really wanted to fucking breastfeed. I still cry about stopping now.

People make comments about how I must miss out on that special bond, like I can’t have a special bond with my baby because we now bottle feed.

People really need to think.

So this is my post for breastfeeding awareness, maybe not what is expected. But people need to be aware of this side of breastfeeding.

Breast wasn’t best for us, no matter how much I wanted to do it.

Breast wasn’t best for my mental health.

Breast wasn’t best for my relationship with my daughter.

Breast wasn’t best for my relationship with my husband, I was stressed by it, and of course he was directly in the firing line.

Breast wasn’t best for us.

Maybe things would’ve been different if breastfed babies were checked for tongue tie before leaving hospital, if GPs and midwifes had proper training on it, if I had had proper help with breastfeeding on the ward.

This post may be controversial but hey, it’s just my experience.

Mama and More
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14 comments

  1. tiasmum12 · August 4, 2014

    A very honest post. I too really struggled to breastfeed and constantly beat myself up about it, I still do now because I couldn’t seem to do it. I couldn’t do the most natural thing in the world! X

    Like

  2. Katie Haydock · August 4, 2014

    Brave post and well done for publishing it.
    I had a similar experience but gave in to the lure of the bottle early on.
    It seems there is either too much support or not enough for breastfeeding mums.

    Like

  3. Beth Twinderelmo · August 4, 2014

    There is far too much pressure on people to breast feed. I’ve been lucky with mine but the guilt that surrounds it all is not on. I combi fed my twins yet people looked down their noses at me for it but with twins and a child at school I couldn’t devote the time to it
    I have a relative who is ridiculously pro breastfeeding & fed hers until gone 18 months yet both have asthma & numerous allergies plus were forever getting tummy upsets & coughs & colds which when she starts raving about how amazing breastfeeding is – it does make me wonder about it all…! And her daughter at 2 was classed as underweight!! My husband was the only one of 3 bottle fed & again his two siblings who were breastfed both suffer from asthma & IBS. May be total coincidence but people would have you believe breastfed children are superhuman and immune to everything. Anyway – there’s my controversial comment for your controversial post!!

    Like

  4. Amanda Woodhouse · August 4, 2014

    I just wanted to say how brave you are to publish something so controversial but in many cases including my own so close to home.
    Thankyou for speaking up for the many mamas who struggled & didn’t get the help they needed in the beginning and who’s mental health & bond with their baby were affected by the sense of failure felt when criticised by NHS staff, friends, family & indeed complete strangers.
    I failed to successfully breast feed my oldest 9 years ago in similar circumstances to you.
    I failed last year with my daughter due to a bad reaction she had to migraine medication in my milk which I couldn’t be taken off due to the after effects of meningitis in pregnancy. In both cases I was belittled, criticized and ostracized by many people who didn’t know the reasons I didn’t breast feed anymore they just took it upon themselves to bully me effectively resulting is a massive issue with guilt, feelings of failure & lack of proper bonding with both children and severe ongoing post natal depression.
    I am pregnant again and due to high doses of anti depressants and the very real & terrifying prospect of post partum psychosis after this baby is born I have decided I’m not breast feeding I will formula feed from the start.
    It may not be everyone’s opinion of what’s best but it is what’s best for me & all of my children that I am able to cope & bond with all of them.

    Like

  5. Kirsty · August 4, 2014

    I can totally relate. It’s broken my heart too. I cause my daughter pain when she feeds. And I have done absolutely everything in my power to change that. This too ruined the first few weeks of my daughters life for me. I didn’t get to enjoy her like I should’ve. The bottle is working. She’s a happier baby. So I’m a happier mommy. And now I do t just want her to sleep all the time.

    Like

  6. messed up mum · August 4, 2014

    I think what you came across was the breast feeding nazis who never have anything but harsh words to say about women like us, who can’t do it. They make us feel pathetic when in actual fact we punish ourselves enough without them haroing on at us! It really doesn’t suit everyone. It was natural hundreds of years ago but as time has gone on what was natural isn’t always natural now. It wasn’t meant to be for you as it wasn’t with me. But it doesn’t make us any less of an awesome mum as the rest! X

    Like

  7. Alyssa · August 4, 2014

    I can so relate to this, I think its a contributing factor of my PND. I will still try to bf next time but I hope it doesn’t ruin the early days again.

    Like

  8. hollye7916 · August 4, 2014

    I love seeing this honesty!!
    I’m going to attempt to BF with Nugget but I am preparing myself to accept it graciously if it is not best for us. It’s hard

    Like

  9. Nicola Johnston · August 4, 2014

    This must have bee a rough post to write, but good on you for doing so! I’m sorry breastfeeding didn’t work out for you, but as long as your baby is happy then that’s all that matters. Breastfeeding certainly isn’t easy, so don’t feel bad that it didn’t work out for you.

    Hope you and your little bambino are doing well 🙂 x

    Like

  10. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) · August 5, 2014

    Fantastic post and I totally agree with you! Sounds like you had a really rough time of it and I think you did the right thing for you and your family. There is too much pressure on women to breastfeed, and nowhere near enough support to actually do it. We struggled massively to start with and though we got there in the end I have no judgement for anyone who decide it;s not for them, If we struggle the same amount second time around I will be a lot quicker to try the bottle, I don;t think I can cope with it again, not with a toddler to look after too! great post xx #allaboutyou

    Like

    • lovebeckha · August 5, 2014

      Thank you for reading and it we have another I wouldn’t battle on for as long, I think you would have to neglect some of the needs of the other child if we had the same problems we did this time and that’s just not fair xx

      Like

  11. justjuggling · August 5, 2014

    Lovely honest post, there is pressure on mums everywhere and we must do what is best for us and our babies and not feel pressured. There is a distinct lack of understanding around tongue ties, we were lucky ours was identified and snipped I the first week but it has taken us an age to learn to feed again. Enjoy your little lady now without the pressure .

    Like

  12. bettyallonby · August 6, 2014

    I had loads of problems too and for the first 6 months I had to use nipple shields which made feeding in public almost impossible. If you remember, last summer was unbelievably sunny and hot but I missed it because I was stuck in the house with Gwenn, too scared to go out. It was awful. I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder anyway so I find day-to-day things difficult at the best of times but then adding PND on top of that, mostly out of guilt because we were topping up with formula, well, it was just a horrible time.

    But, Gwenn is 15 months now and she’s fine. I’m fine. I look back on it now and I’m angry with myself for making things so difficult. I know it’s easy for me to say but you will not always feel this bad and you will look back and realise you did what was best for you and your family.

    xxx

    #AllAboutYou

    Like

  13. simply supermom · September 2, 2014

    I was very lucky to find breastfeeding fairly natural for myself and my baby. That being said those first few weeks were hard and I dreaded every time she needed to be fed. It got me thinking a lot about what you said about your bond and mental health. The reality is that we can point to all the ways breast milk (and from the breast instead of bottle) is better for baby, we can show it increases the bond between mother and child and so on but we really have limited data about where that threshold is. My guess is that if it is frustrating and hard and I don’t want to do it but do so out of some obligation, the benefits are essentially negated out of the gate. And what about the stress hormones? I am sure that travels to the breast milk and impacts baby in some way. There is a serious lack of balanced information out there, hopefully we will see more support and education allowing for families making the best choices for themselves.

    Like

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