Bottle feeding – why I’m ok with it

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I didn’t think I would bottle feed. I knew that some people struggle to breastfeed and I don’t know why I was so sure I would be able to. I thought I would exclusively breastfeed for at least six months, then do a combination to give me a bit more freedom. I didn’t know that I would have all the problems I had – or that at five weeks, I would feel I had no option but to stop. You can read about what went wrong here but I wanted to write a post about why I am ok with bottle feeding. In fact, I’m more than ok with it.

There is so much pressure on mums to breastfeed and the bad thing is that pressure is not support. It’s quite telling that by 3 weeks after the last baby of 6 in my NCT group was born, none of us were still breastfeeding. That’s pretty bad. All of us tried – none of us managed to continue.

People who do manage to feed are very lucky and I’m not sure all of them always appreciate just how lucky they are. I didn’t give up lightly – nor did anyone else I know. I hate that feeling that you have to justify why you bottle feed your baby, as if you’re doing something wrong by them. I remember sitting in floods of tears, braless and in total agony, sobbing on my GP – telling him that there were times when I dreaded my baby waking up because the pain of feeding him was too much to bear. He looked me in the eye and said ‘why are you doing this to yourself? Formula isn’t poison! He will be perfectly healthy on formula.’ It was finally the reassurance that I needed and I started exclusively formula feeding Millar.

I was so worried that I was letting him down – that I had failed and that now he would be overweight, less intelligent and less bonded to me. But surely having a mother that loves it when you’re awake and is happy and pain-free is more valuable than breast milk that comes from a tense, miserable mother?

Bottle feeding has done many things for us. It means I am no longer in pain, which is the main thing

It has helped Millar’s reflux, as the tension of feeding was making this worse.

It helps my neurotic side of liking to know how much food he is getting.

It means he has regular feed times and I can structure the day around these.

He still tells me when he’s full and won’t guzzle a bottle if he doesn’t want it – one of the main ‘problems’ with bottle feeding.

I still have a wonderful bond with Millar. I do all the other things that lots of breastfeeding mums do – I babywear, we often co-sleep (necessity usually, not choice!) and I am doing baby led weaning, which is often associated more with breastfed babies.

It was a photo from my friends’ wedding that prompted this post – the photo at the top of the post. When I looked at it and saw me feeding Millar and both of us are happy, relaxed and close, I realised that I should not be ashamed of bottle feeding Millar. I have given him the best start I possibly could and I’m proud of that. Will I try to breastfeed next time? Of course. But I refuse to feel guilty about how I feed my baby.

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7 month update

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How has a whole month gone? I haven’t even managed to blog in between we’ve been so busy!

Millar is now 7 months old and it feels like things are changing daily. He isn’t sleeping very well at the moment and I’m sure it’s because his world keeps changing all the time – poor baby can hardly keep track!

But here are things as they stand now at 7 months:

Millar now weighs a whopping 19lbs! He is somewhere between the 50th and 75th percentiles and has followed that pretty much all along.

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He is eating pretty well – we are doing baby led weaning which I promise I will write properly about…I’m aware I said that last month! He is starting to swallow a bit more and so far no tummy troubles. He tries everything, but is definitely a big fan of fruit and will always choose that first. He also loves anything bready and enjoys cheese, so the cheese sandwich he had in M&S while we were christmas shopping today went down very well!

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He is sitting really reliably now and rarely topples over. He rolls everywhere and looks like he’s thinking about trying to crawl but hasn’t worked out how to get his tummy off the floor yet. It won’t be long. He also loves to stand and will stand holding the coffee table without me supporting him.

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He now has two teeth! The last was a real bugger when it was coming through, and he still has all the teething symptoms so I’m pretty sure more are on their way. It is definitely helping with the whole eating thing.

He’s pretty much totally in 6-9 month clothes now, with the exception of a few pairs of trousers and some jumpers that are still 3-6 months. We are loving leggings at the moment as they give him so much freedom to wriggle around.

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Our routine is about all over the place at the moment due to terrible sleeping over the last few weeks, but this is generally how it goes.

7am ish – first bottle (8oz)
8am – a nap in my bed with me. Best nap of the day!!
9 ish I get up and get dressed, while Millar watches some cartoons – it’s the only way I have the time to get ready. Bad mum, I know.
9.30 ish Breakfast. This takes forever. Hopefully, it will gradually get quicker!
10.30 we often have a group to go to or will take the dog out for a walk.
11.30/12ish – Second bottle (8oz)
12.30 Millar goes down for a nap. I still rock him to sleep with a dummy but it usually takes about 30 seconds to get him to sleep!
1.30 Lunch – again, takes FOREVER!
2.30 – We usually go out to see friends or to a group or go shopping or something.
4/4.30 – Third bottle (8oz)
Somewhere around 5ish he usually has a half hour nap. Usually in the car if we’ve been out. Sometimes if he hasn’t napped for very long at lunchtime he’ll nap again before the third bottle, then won’t want this later nap.
5.30 – I am usually out tutoring so this is Daddy and Millar playtime.
7pm – bathtime then a massage with coconut oil
7.45/8ish – last bottle (9oz with one sachet of gaviscon)
8.15/8.30ish bedtime. Again, I rock him to sleep. I know people will think this is a ‘rod for my back’, but for the moment it works for us.

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In the night – at the moment – who knows!! At its worst, he wakes every half an hour. Sometimes he sleeps through. No rhyme or reason or pattern. I’m trying not to let it get to me. Last night I didn’t hear a peep from him all night – tonight it’s now 11.30pm and I’ve been in to settle him 3 times already. It might be a looong night 😦

So that’s him at 7 months! I will definitely write about baby led weaning asap as so far I am a BIG fan.