As soon as I swallowed those tablets down, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. I had decided long before they were born to bottle feed them, just as I had my two older sons and it is a choice that I believe made me a better mother to all my boys.
It's not that I never tried to breastfeed. With my first baby I was determined to breastfeed him, to the point that he ended up on the verge of being hospitalised because he lost so much weight and was unable to shake off his jaundice. The problem was that we both hated breastfeeding in equal measure, so he simply wasn't drinking anything.
He would scream and scream as I tried to ram my nipple into his resisting mouth. We tried everything from returning to the hospital for advice, to breastfeeding counsellors and groups, but nothing worked.
I was exhausted and depressed and felt a total failure that I couldn't do something as natural as feed my baby his mother's milk
I came to hate the sound of his hungry cry as I knew it meant another battle at my sore and swollen breasts.
If I am honest I didn't fall in love with my first son until, in desperation one sleepless night, I gave in and fed him from a bottle. It was a revelation; at last feeding him was the relaxing and bonding experience I had longed for. He was settled and calm and began to put on weight.
I could finally enjoy, rather than endure, being a mother.
An added bonus of swapping to the bottle was that my husband could be as involved with our son as I was. While breast milk might be the best physically for a child, emotionally breastfeeding places a huge burden on the mother, and can exclude the father.
I was so relieved that we could share the night feeds and also that we could leave my son with a loving grandma from time to time, something that would have been far harder if I had been exclusively breastfeeding.
For all the reports that tell me my children will end up badly behaved , obese and at risk of a myriad of health problems, I refuse to accept that I didn't make the right choice for us.
Even if I were to accept that my son would be healthier had I breastfed, although I remain unconvinced as he is now a lean, muscular, seven-year-old with who is top of the class and suffers from no allergies or health problems, I maintain neither of us would have been happier had I stuck to the slavish belief that breast is best.
With son number two I again made an attempt at breastfeeding, but after a week I realised what a waste of time it was. Feeding times were fretful and fraught, which was even harder as I had his two-year-old brother to care for too. This is why with the twins I decided not to bother at all, and despite all the pro breast propaganda, I know this was absolutely the right choice.
However you choose to feed your babies it is such a tiny part of what it is to be their mother and it is ludicrous the amount of attention and angst that is lavished on this question.
I may not have given my sons the best start in life when it came to feeding them, but I know that by opting to bottle feed I gave them a far better start in every other aspect of their care and for me this was a deal well worth making.
It's about time we stopped beating up bottle feeding mothers. Far from making me a bad mother, as the pro breastfeeding lobby would have me believe, I am quite sure that choosing to bottle feed made me a better mum to all my sons.
What do you think?
Is whether you breast or bottle feed purely personal?
Do reports and headlines such as today's serve any purpose other than to guilt bottle feeding mums? Let us know...
More:Advice And Health
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