Breast vs Bottle and why it really doesn't matter to me.
I admit it. I was a breastfeeding snob.
You know, one of those mother's that persisted through every ounce of pain, cracked and bleeding nipples, scabbing and the vice-like grip of death that my baby had on my nipples...
The crazy pain of a mouth full of teeth biting me instead of breastfeeding properly, bite marks, and several horrible experiences of excruciating mastitis later, and I could call myself an exclusively breast feeding mum.
That was the experience of my firstborn son, yet I still believe I didn't have too many issues breastfeeding him.
There were no other demands on my time, and I could solely focus on my persistent desire to breastfeed.
Second child: low supply and refusal to bottle feed. AT ALL. Yes, I also thought that 'low or no supply' was a bit of a cop-out for mother's who didn't really care to breastfeed. I was so wrong!
Connor had little supply for our entire breastfeeding journey and no interest in bottles.
It was a long year of natural, organic and prescription medicine to keep any sort of supply. Not alot of fun, but I could still call myself an exclusively breastfeeding mum. Yep, still hangin' on to that 'perfect-mum' label I so desperately wanted!
So, here we are at baby number 3 - Ethan - our most challenging 'feeder' so far.
Ethan was born with his cord wrapped around his neck four times. FOUR . TIMES .
Everyone told us that it hadn't caused any problems or damage. However, he was a super sleepy baby and pushed out to longer than 10 hrs after birth and we decided to wake him to start trying to latch him.
Ethan had a weak 'suck' and couldn't even bring my milk down. I was in hospital for 4 days with wonderful midwives and lactation consultants at our disposal, helping and encouraging our breastfeeding/latching.
Ethan struggled. We started pumping to at least get some colostrum in a syringe. I managed not even 1mm a day, with regular two-hour pumping and attempting to latch our little baby.
After 4 days and nights, we started to introduce formula for him to at least have SOMETHING to eat! He was losing weight and everything was going backwards.
After going home, with a plan to express and mix-feed any breastmilk I could pump with formula in between. It didn't go well. 3 weeks of 2 hourly expressing, feeding Ethan and looking after two other young children was a tough ask. We soldiered on.
After my midwife visiting and checking out Ethan's breastfeeding attempts, plus telling her about a few issues I had noticed, we went to a specialist GP/lactation consultant who found Ethan had both tongue and lip ties, a high palette and a recessed jaw.
She was surprised he could even feed on a bottle.
So, we then headed off to a specialist dentist who looked after his tongue and lip-ties and we ad several weeks of 'stretching' and a few appointments with an Osteopath to ensure the surgery did not heal over and ruin everything.
So, I have had a vast array of experiences when it comes to breastfeeding and bottle feeding and there is one INSANELY cute reason why it doesn't matter to me any more.
- breast or bottle: he will still grab my fingers every time he feeds.
- breast of bottle: he will always reach out and stroke my skin while feeding, resting his tiny fingers on my chest (ok, maybe he just likes to scratch me ...)
- breast or bottle: he will gaze at me with his big, beautiful eyes and look at me. (and everything else in the room!)
- breast or bottle: I will always get to look into his eyes, talk to him - whispering my love and singing while he giggles, softly stroke his face and hold him close. (doesn't it just make your heart swell with baby love? Are your ovaries hurting yet?)
Like every other mother does for their child, regardless of how they choose to feed their baby.
(Ok, I lied, there was more than one reason! But they are all valid and completely acceptable!)
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