As if us mums aren't under enough pressure to be 'perfect' these days, the news is once again filled with ridiculous facts about how breast fed children will do better in life than bottle fed children.
Don't get me wrong, I am a massive advocate of breastfeeding...........................if you can do it!
Why wouldn't you do it if you can? It saves you money on buying formula, it saves you sterilising bottles and you have milk on draught whenever you want it.
When I fell pregnant with my first child I was chuffed to bits that I would be able to use my boobs for their correct purpose after years of men ogling at them! Finally they were going to be put good use!
BUT, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to utilise these wonderful assets that nature has given us. Many women struggle to breast feed and it is does not come as naturally as people love to make you think.
The latest study apparently shows that breast fed babies will now earn more when they are older than bottle fed babies! How on earth people back up such statements is beyond me!
So much pressure has been put on women to breast feed for years. I REALLY struggled to breast feed my first son. He just could not latch on. I ended up feeding him by expressed milk on a tea spoon for his first few days of life and then progressed onto expressed milk in an oral syringe. I remember being cramped over a chair in his bedroom in tears as I attempted to get him latched onto the breast for hours on end. He would always be crying as he just never seemed to be getting enough.
After weeks of going through this battle my husband begged me to give him a bottle. He downed a 4 oz bottle in about 10 minutes and sat completely still and silent for about an hour in that milk coma that comes with a nice full tummy satisfied with milk. From that day on (against the advice of my midwife I might add!) I carried on breast feeding him but also gave him a bottle of formula every evening.
I was able to breast feed my second and third sons with ease, probably because I was well practised by then, or at least that's what I thought................
When my fourth son arrived I went to put him to my breast and he was having none of it! He was four weeks premature so I thought that maybe his mouth was too small to latch on to the whopper of a water melon that my lovely pregnancy hormones had given me! I remember lying on a hospital bed as a monster of a midwife pushed his head against my boob as he fought back against her screaming at the top of his lungs. After spending time in intensive care and ripping out his feeding tube for the fourth time I knew that the best way to get him strong was to give him a bottle.
I expressed milk for the first six weeks but doing that and looking after a newborn and his three big brothers was unrealistic so I gave in and turned to formula. It was still a struggle to get him to feed even on the bottle and at six weeks old I discovered he had tongue tie. I had asked for him to be checked for this at the hospital when he struggled to latch on but they obviously missed it. How they did I do not know as it was a pretty severe tongue tie.
Putting my youngest on a bottle was the best decision I made. He got stronger and my husband and all of his three brothers got to feed him as well as me. They all loved doing this and bonded with him instantly. My youngest is now two years old and is no different to his older three brothers who were breast fed. He is no less healthy! He seems just as intelligent! He is perfectly bonded with all of us and he is very, very confident and happy.
I think it is about time that people stopped the massive breast fed or bottle fed debate and allowed mums to do what is best for themselves and their baby. I have no doubt that my bottle fed baby will be just as successful in life as my breast fed babies so how about scientists focus their studies on something much more worthwhile and allow mums to just be mums!