There really is no argument against the “breast is best” campaign led by the government. The health benefits for mother and baby, the ease of not preparing feeds, the bonding time, but, in some cases like mine, its not the best option. Here is why I chose to formula feed;
There is a lot of pressure to breastfeed, the NHS say its the BEST choice for baby and that EVERY woman can breastfeed. With my first pregnancy I remember an overwhelming feeling of guilt when I swapped to formula because James had lost weight, I felt like I had let my tiny baby down. As a fourth time mother, having tried breastfeeding four times now, and experiencing the same weight loss issues each time but with growing confidence and support, I can honestly say that the switch to formula was the best decision for our entire family. At the same time I want to shout this from the rooftops, especially for the mothers like myself who maybe feeling the guilt; Formula feeding is a vaild, healthy choice for your baby too and no woman should ever feel guilty about deciding to formula feed their child.
We found lots of benefits to formula feeding for our family, and in hindsight the breast/bottle decision wasn’t worth half the stress and pressure I put on myself.
I strongly believe that not every woman can breastfeed, despite what the NHS says.
All my children lost weight, and despite lots of advice on latch and positioning (which were what was blamed), they continued to lose weight and failed to thrive.
Why I chose to formula feed
Reassurance for Mum.
When I formula feed, I can physically see how much milk Ava is having, I know the advice is to check for wet and dirty nappies, but to physically see how much milk has been taken is a huge reassurance.
A joint responsibility.
My husband is a family man, he loves being a part of everything, him being able to feed Ava makes him feel more involved, but also supports me, and enables others to look after my children if there is an emergency.
A content, settled, happy baby
This could be due to my babies being hungry as they all lost weight, but as soon as we switched to formula Ava settled MUCH better, slept longer, was more alert and responsive when she was awake and was genuinely an happier child. This meant I settled better, worried less and slept more, meaning I was in a much better shape to look after myself and my family.
This was a big one for us, this time round Ava has 3 siblings that all need care and attention, my husband also has a bad back and is awaiting operation and is struggling with moving. If I had attempted to continue breastfeeding, I would have been feeding for over 5 hours a day. I understand this time would have decreased as Ava grew, but compared to an average 2 hours formula feeding (including sterilising/preparing bottles) I had a lot more time I could dedicate to looking after my little family and home.
I am NOT against breastfeeding in any way, its a healthy, natural way to feed your baby. I wanted to share my positive formula experience, and to say, in the grand scheme of things, I have never, ever looked at my children and regretted formula feeding.