All the way through my pregnancy I was adamant that I would breastfeed and also express in order for other people to feed my little Mabel. What I didn’t understand was how hard it would be and how naive I had been thinking it was going to be so easy.
I understood that milk comes in a couple of days after giving birth, but the whole process of building up a supply I didn’t read much into. I kind of thought I would have enough milk to feed Mabel and still have enough to express a bottle. Oh, how wrong I was. There seems to be a lot of planning, timing and organisation that needs to go into coordinating when you need to feed and when you can express. I seemed to only have enough milk to do one thing as the whole process I just couldn’t seem to get.
I had also been feeling uncomfortable at breastfeeding in public when I thought I would never care about it. I mean if your child is hungry you have to feed them. I couldn’t believe I did not have the confidence to do it, even though I had a cover up so others would not be able to see or tell that I was breastfeeding. I felt so bad and so insecure.
I started toying with the idea of going onto formula. I was formula fed and I think I turned out fine. The issue was everyone has an opinion about it. ‘Oh I think you should wait til 3 months then see how you feel’, ‘just go onto formula and be done with it’, ‘breast is best’, ‘it gets easier’. It is so confusing.
The other week I had to give Mabel formula as she had been cluster feeding (for 7 hours) and she was not settling. I tried expressing to understand what was going on and nothing was coming out. My little girl must be soo hungry. I had a few small bottles of ready-made formula in the cupboard for emergency purposes and for me this was a perfect time to use it. Mabel gobbled up 4oz and went straight to sleep. I was so relieved that she was now settled and the pressure of shall I turn to formula or stay breastfeeding went away immediately.
I now do a mixture of breastfeeding, expressing and formula. It means that the pressure of solely breastfeeding is taken off my shoulders and other people can enjoy doing the feeding. I also feel much happier going places knowing that I have either an expressed bottle or a bottle of formula in my bag. A happy mum means a happy baby.
Instead of looking online at what other people have to say (which I did constantly), I just needed to do what felt right for me and my lifestyle. Many women breastfeed and many formula feed. The same goal is achieved that your baby is fed and grows up and is happy.
I can now feel confident in myself and enjoy being a mummy.
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