Is Breast Always Best?
Is breast always best? There is no doubt that breastfeeding is good for you and your baby, but what happens when things go wrong?
Before giving birth, I attended parentcraft and breastfeeding classes and I was adamant that I was going to breastfeed. Formula feeding was never mentionned nor were the problems you can come accross when brestfeeding.
My baby wouldn't latch on, he was fighting the breast and midwives at the hospital said they had never seen anything like it! I had to hand express colustrum, collect it with a serynge and give it to my baby. After 3 days, he had lost weight and his blood sugars were low, if he wasn't given a proper feed, he would have to go to special care. I agreed to have formula given to him and watched in tears as he avidly drunk what I called 'yuky milk'. I perservered with brestfeeding and with a lot of support from staff in hospital, on day 5, he finally latched on. But things gradually got worse when we went home. My nipples were so cracked they were bleeding, I had blocked ducts, thrush on the nipples, mastitis and I had picked up an infection when my placenta had to be removed manually. After 3 weeks of expressing with a manual pump, I was exhausted and still on antibiotics. I had been sleeping an average of 2 hours per day for the last 4 weeks and now suffered from postnatal depression. My husband was begging me to stop brestfeeding: 'surely this can't be good for you or the baby' and our relationship was at an all time low. Everytime I tried to put my baby to the brest, I would cry out in tears, I was so upset I couln't eat and had allready lost two and a half stone!
I decided to wean my baby onto formula, I felt so guilty and weak for giving up. But, my baby is now happy and thriving, four month on, I am ready to come off antidepressants, I have regained my shattered confidence and I now don't regret my decision. I know I am not the only one who has experienced this, there is a lot of support for brestfeeding mothers, but when things go wrong and the decision to stop brestfeeding is taken, the support seems to fade away rather quickly.
So to all new mums out there who are experiencing the overwhelming feeling of guilt which comes with having to reluctantly stop brestfeeding: There is nothing wrong with formula feeding your baby and when it comes to knowing what is best for you, your family and your baby, only YOU knows BEST!