Driving home from the gym today, and listening to Radio 2 (I’m not ashamed to say I am a middle aged Radio 2 listener!!!) Its like a natural progression, as those presenters from my Radio 1 days (the likes of Chris Evans, Zoe Ball, Sara Cox and Ferne Cotton) are now Radio 2 DJ’s. Its like we all made the switch together without even realising it – seamless!!
Jeremy Vine announced that he would be discussing the comparisons of breast milk versus infant formula. I got in touch and received a return phonecall where I was asked to speak live on radio with Mr Vine himself!! Excited for airtime, but starving post Spinning session, I was a bit giddy!! I daren’t start eating for fear of being caught on the radio with a mouth full of Eggs Avo!
The discussion which took place was regarding the magic ingredients in breast milk which it is believed are now present in formula too https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wr3p
Following the discussion, I researched the above claims, but found that the internet had so many guidance leaflets and excerpts which all contradict each other, so Im still none the wiser!
What I do know, and what I spoke on the radio about, was my experience which is that the guidelines all spouted various ‘facts’ of why mothers should breast feed. One of those was that it prevents your baby from being born with eczema or asthma……..err, why then was I breast fed, so was my brother and we both have eczema & asthma, whereas my sister was bottle fed and she has neither? My sister did however suffer from pneumonia as an infant, so is that because she didn’t have the antibodies found in breast milk? Who knows?
When I became pregnant with my first born (11 years ago now), I was of the mindset that I would attempt to breast feed but I wouldn’t beat myself up if I was unable to do so. I had seen friends making themselves ill in the past trying to breast feed and wanting to do so badly but on very little sleep, very little food and lots of stress – surely that combination would wreak havoc with your milk let down?
My initial choice to breast feed was purely that it was the most natural thing to do right? I was too sceptical about the reasons surrounding the eczema and asthma; and quite rightly so, as both of my children, especially my eldest suffered with both. Unlike me, touch wood, they seem to have grown out of it.
I was also informed that it would help to reduce my chances of female cancers and osteoporosis so time will tell…… It definitely helped with the weight loss and I could feel my uterus contracting as I fed my babies. It did help with contraception……until my first born naturally gave up breast feeding at 9 months old, we went to a wedding in London and came back with Number 2 ‘in the oven’!!
My initial experience of breast feeding was like a rabbit in the head lights! I remember getting tucked up into bed after a shower following 2 inductions over 2 days and very little sleep! An oxytocin drip meant labour went from 0-90 where contractions are concerned! All was worth it when 9lb 8oz Amos came into the world! (the episiotomy was not such a joyous occasion!!)
So, I was bloody knackered beyond belief and prior to children, I was a lover of my bed and sleep. Tucked up in bed in clean pjs was the most orgasmic feeling (though my butchered bits were far from readily available to think of orgasms!!) As I had stood in the shower after giving birth (and aghast that nobody was going to come and wash me! I’d just given birth for Christ’s sake!) I looked down to where my bump once was and saw what resembled a tangerine which had been left in the fruit bowl too long and was just a wrinkled emptiness! Beyond this saggy mummy tummy, I was horrified to actually see my bits were that swollen that I almost cried and uttered “oh my god I’ve got bollocks”!!
Anyway, fully embracing the bed and slumber, I was beyond annoyed when ‘someones baby’ started crying! I laid there thinking “for the love of god, will you shut your baby up”……the midwife came and tapped me on the shoulder and said “I think your baby wants feeding”!! Motherhood was upon me like a smack in the chops!!
I picked my baby out treating him like a china doll and offered him my boob – thats how you breast feed isn’t it??!! Needless to say, I was rubbish at it and the midwife was too busy to help me. We went home the following day and tucked little Amos up in his crib, my husband and I looked at each other and said “shit, what do we do know, we’ve been left on our own with this baby”!!
Amos didn’t want to feed much at first, so I thought this parent malarky was a doddle! He is still a laid back little Mister, but I think the drugs which id had during labour had chilled him even more so. I had actually bought a steriliser, bottles, formula and a dummy. Someone once told me I was preparing to fail! I call it being organised and planning for all eventualities.
During the middle of the night, I was pretty frustrated as was my baby, but there was nobody there for advice and help. I called my friend Alice in Sydney as it was daytime in Australia and she had given birth just 3 months earlier. She suggested I sterilise the dummy, the breast pump and a bottle. The dummy got him to suck (I was never going to let my baby have a dummy! It became my saviour!!) I then expressed some milk and he took it from the bottle.
(Amos in the vest which was sent from his Auntie Alice in Australia!!!)
The following day, the breast feeding support worker came to see me and help me to get my baby to latch on properly (and get through the toe-curling pain in the initial latch on!! Man it hurts!!) I told her what I had done during the night to get him to feed but she told me I shouldn’t really be doing that as it causes nipple confusion!! FFS id given him breast milk not diet coke! My GP told me she didn’t believe nipple confusion is a thing and that mothers are advised to not use bottles so early as they’re more likely to give up on breast feeding!!
I was extremely lucky that I had a huge milk supply with both of my children and found breast feeding easy, quick and FREE of charge! I appreciate that some people who want to just cannot do it and they beat themselves up. Likewise, some people choose not to and thats also ok.
Whats your thoughts on breast feeding? Do you truly believe breast is best?
Talking of breasts, its Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October – so check our boobs if nothing else!