When I was pregnant with Freddie, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, but I had no idea how it all worked. I didn't know how they latched on, I had no idea about the cluster feeding, mastitis, how often they feed, I knew nothing. If I'm honest, I was scared. I regret not breastfeeding my second but then yet again, I fell into deep depression from 30 weeks pregnant, and I'm still not 100% now, but I'm nowhere near as bad I was, thankfully. I had two friends that I could ask questions to about breastfeeding, but I wanted a few more views and experiences. I decided to join a group on Facebook. It was a breastfeeding group, and I was nervous joining in because after reading some posts, I knew they were all pro-breastfeeding. Why was I nervous? I formula fed both my girls.
It was my decision to formula feed Mia and Elliw. My reasons for this will be in an upcoming post (I will link it here once finished and published). I'm not ashamed that I formula fed my girls, it did them no harm - at all. Back to this particular group. I remember sitting on the sofa, heavily pregnant and getting quite worried about this whole breastfeeding. I wanted to ask a few questions - I can't quite remember what the questions were. As I went to the group, I plucked up the courage to ask my questions. I got a few great responses. I scrolled through the group, and I came across a post that made me so angry. This particular woman (breastfeeding Mum) wrote that she saw another Mum feed her baby a bottle. She basically slagged her off big time. It wound me up, so much. I felt like I had to stick up for this poor Mum, who had no idea she was getting bashed on a breastfeeding mums 'support' group.
I'm glad I wrote a comment and stuck up for the Mum. However, I did feel a little worse afterwards. I told them that I formula fed my eldest two who were then four and six at the time. I then had about six or so 'supportive' Mums bashing me saying I was basically a bad Mum for feeding my girls formula. I told them straight that both my girls are happy, healthy and amazing. A few then replied to say "They are ok for now...". I can't remember the exact other words that they told me, but basically, it was along the lines that my girls' health isn't good, and I need to keep watch of their health as if to say that formula is some kind of poison.
This made me feel extra nervous about being a breastfeeding Mum.
I actually thought to myself that I hope no one thinks I'm going to be one of these snobby, b*tchy kind of Mum, just because I breastfeed. As I come to nearly nine months of breastfeeding, I have a lot of posts planned - breastfeeding based. But it does not mean that I am somewhat against formula fed babies. I mean, I formula fed both my girls. It was the right decision for me, just like breastfeeding Freddie was the right decision for me. I will always choose to breastfeed over formula, just because I absolutely love breastfeeding - that doesn't say I will slag off a formula feeding Mum.
One of my close friends breastfed her little girl for three months. She's 10 days younger than Freddie but was born six weeks premature. I loved the fact that we were both breastfeeding. Unfortunately, her little girl wasn't getting enough milk and was having problems with her weight. After three months of breastfeeding, she decided to put her little girl on formula because that was the right choice for her. I was proud of her feeding that long. I am proud of her that she did that decision that was best for her little girl and herself. There wasn't one day that I dissed her or said anything bad about her because she was switching to formula. So, I don't see why other breastfed Mums feel like they have to diss Mums who formula feed their babies.
Of course, breast is best. It's a fact. But, in my eyes; fed is best. Some babies don't take to breastfeeding and some Mums decide they just don't want to do it - just like I didn't want to breastfeed my girls. As long as your baby is fed, surely that is the best, isn't it?
I said that 'fed is best' along with the words I said in the above sentence, to a breastfed Mum on the breastfeeding group I spoke about above, and I even had a backlash at that. In all fairness, if a baby can't latch, unable to feed or if the Mum is unable to produce enough milk, obviously the baby isn't getting what it needs. So, what can you do? Formula feed. Every baby needs feeding.
Whether you breastfeed, formula feed, express - well done you.
If you're pregnant and interested in breastfeeding and get into the same kind of problem I got into with a silly facebook group, leave it. Please! I would suggest you to go to a breastfeeding support group near you or talk with friends who have breastfed before or currently breastfeeding. They are the best supporters. Sometimes people over the internet can be pretty nasty - especially if they know they won't see you face to face.
Be proud of what you are doing. You're doing amazing.