Breast or Bottle – A Mother’s Rant!


I awoke this morning to news on the BBC saying that bottle fed babies are more likely to have behavourial problems than breast fed babies and well it PISSED ME OFF!

Let me start at the beginning!  When I was pregnant all I heard was BREAST IS BEST and you have to BREASTFEED YOUR CHILD, and whilst on paper that sounds wonderful in reality it doesn’t always work out that way!

I had an emergency C-section when my son was born at 2303hrs on a Monday night.  I had been in hospital since 4am that morning labouring, so by the time I had him, I was exhausted!  I was told straight away to try and breast feed him and NO NURSE helped me.  I was left to try and work out how to get this little person to latch on!!!!!!!  As he wouldn’t the nurse gave me a bottle of formula and said to give him that and we would try again in the morning.

I got put back on my ward at about 1 or 2 in the morning, at around 4am my son woke needing a feed.  I was so groggy and exhausted, the NURSE actually gave me a bottle to give him, with not hint or mention or trying to breastfeed!

Whilst I was in hospital (which I might add was just 36hrs!!!  which seems nuts when I had just had major surgery, so they kept telling me!) I asked numerous times for help on getting my son to latch on, without any success!

So I went home with a bottle fed baby and a Mid Wife and Health Visitor that said we can try again at home!

I have to say the thought of breastfeeding a child, actually repulses me.  I have images of being a cow just producing milk all the time, I hate it.  But I tried, and I even bought express pumps, both manual and electric (which just enhanced the cow image more!) to try and get breast milk into my son, because that is what the health profession says!

He did get some, but nothing I would get excited about!  I had to stop trying to express within a week of coming home, due to other complications and so my son after 1 week was totally formula fed.

When I compare my feeding patterns to those of breastfed friends, I don’t understand why mother’s actually do breastfeed for so long!  Luke was sleeping through within 6 weeks, he was going possibly 3 – 4hrs between feeds (in the beginning) and he developed perfectly.  Now my friends, demand fed, in some instances every 1 – 2hrs through the night even and were shattered all the time.  I can’t get my head round this, fine breastfeed during the day, but at night why not give the child a bottle just to get a few hours of decent sleep.  I know breastfed babies don’t go as long between feeds, but then all the more reason for a bottle at night.  If you choose to solely breastfeed then don’t complain about the lack of sleep!  There are other options!

Now to the study and the rant!

1. If the health professionals want mother’s to breast feed why not give mother’s the help and guidance they need in order to do it, and if they can’t (because some mother’s can’t) don’t make the mother feel worthless and like she is depriving her child and she is a failure and her child will have all these issues as they grow up.  Embrace her achievement of becoming a mother, who the hell cares where the milk comes from to feed the child!

2. The other thing I find odd is all this talk about how much more sickly bottlefed babies are.  Well I have friends who have breastfed and there children are MORE ill than my son, so that blows that theory straight out the water!

3.  I was also told by not breastfeeding I am missing out the bonding process!  BOLLOCKS!!!!  My son was held the same way as any breast fed baby, he was cuddled and burped the same way!  The only difference, he never had some huge nipple shoved in his face, and could actually breath, look around and enjoy his milk!  Oh and can I just add when all these breast feeding mothers are bonding with there child, how is the father bonding?  My husband bottle fed Luke as well, and so we BOTH had the wonderful time of bonding with our son and not only that but sharing the feeding times!

This really is a rant and I am sorry but I am sick to death of these damn studies, making mother’s who don’t breastfeed for whatever reason feel that they have failed their child.  As long as the child is healthy, happy, nurtured and loved, who the hell gives a damn where it’s milk came from?

(this is a personal account, and just how I see it!  If you don’t agree, please don’t leave comments telling me off, it is just my opinion and I have need and right to express it!)


8 responses »

  1. Ah I have to comment on this as well. Professionally I have the mandate to promote breastfeeding. Personally however I have to agree with a lot of what you have to say. This morning DH and I discussed that article as well as it’s commentary on breakfast.

    I know that unit at Oxford and they do good research. However as the author says there are other factors that have to be taken into control. They adjusted for some of these factors ( referred to as confounding factors or confounders) but that does NOT rule out the possibility that something called residual confounding has not occurred. Basically it means that this study design can NOT claim (and it does not) that bottle-feeding causes behavioural problems. It can NoT claim causality due to the study design. The fact that the bottle-feeding mothers tended to be of lower socio economic class, had higher levels of deprivation ( so basically they were poorer, possibly with more chaotic family structures) even though adjusted for in the analysis may still account for their findings.

    I take the point that there is no use shouting breast is best when new mothers are not given the support to do so. Circumstances are important and I get annoyed when people are snide about mothers who bottle feed. I know lots of happy bottle fed and breast fed babies and mothers. Bottle Feeding is NOT like smoking or drinking in pregnant which is harmful to your child.

    So to end you are right! People need to back off!!

    Somehow I wish the same furore would occur around people who do NOT vaccinate their children. THAT is dangerous so why the silence? Is it because the anti vaccination lobby is so powerful and wealthy?

    Rant over!

  2. There’s a very good reason not to give a baby who’s breast fed a bottle. Breasts produce milk according to demand, so the more a baby feeds the more is produced, but it’s not instant and the type of milk also varies. Giving a baby a bottle disrupts this process and you can end up with a dwindling supply of milk.

  3. Me again… it will hearten you to know that it was no different 25 years ago Sharon. Alison wanted to breast feed but baby had problems.

    As Alison has an allegey to cows milk so it was highly likely that baby would have it as well (and he does), so she had to shout it out with the Nurse saying no to the bottle of formula they wanted baby to have.

    We did get help though from the National Childbirth Trust specialist on breast feeding and success. But baby eventually went on to Soya milk.

    Once he grew up, like Mum he has apple juice on cereal, which I find totally horrible myself!!!

    Like CP, unless new mums get support from hour one, they are going to revert to which ever gets baby fed, unless they have a definite choice.

    I would be interested in Mums and experts views on how long a baby should be breast fed for. I once saw a three year old being breast fed immediately after his baby sister… a little odd I thought. But I did the gentlemanly thing and looked the other way!


  4. I have to say that the idea of breastfeeding does not sit well with me either, much for the same reasons you said. I have no problem with other people doing it – to each his own. But why, when I mention that I have no interest in this, do I get “the lecture”? No one in my immediate family (me, my sister, mother, nieces) were breastfed and we all turned out fine. In fact, my nieces don’t get sick nearly as often as their friends who were breastfed. Of course, there could be other factors at play here, but the point is, while breastfeeding might be “better” or preferred by the medical community, there is no harm in bottle feeding. And I also think that the bonding argument is hogwash. Who says you can’t/don’t bond with your baby over anything else. You can’t tell me that every baby who has been breastfed has a great bonded relationship with the mother.
    Thanks for this post. It’s comforting to see that others share my opinion as well, especially someone who has a child, since I have yet to have any.

  5. Interesting comments. I think you have spurred me on to do a post where I will have to combine my professional perspective (as an epidemiologist and public health dr) and my personal opinion (as a woman!) I will also give some more information on the actual paper that the BBC based their report on which I downloaded it from the journal.

    I wish science journalists would do a basic course in epidemiology. It would help them learn how to interpret research findings better!

  6. How horrible for you get slim-to-no support for breastfeeding. My hospital’s Lactation Consultant was in my room so much, and for each child, that Debbie was like family to me! She even offered to do home visits at no cost to me out-of-pocket.

    Breastfeeding for some women is very difficult, does not at all feel “natural,” and is downright repulsive to some (like you! 🙂 ). I myself did nurse each one, but I had support at home and at the workplace to take care of the business.

    And, Steve, I persoanlly am not a fan of a 3-yr-old taking a nip–mine were babies when they self-weaned (13 months and under). Once they had teeth, it was solids and cutting back on the breast. To each their own, but not me!

    Lastly, thank you, Sharon, for sharing your views on this topic. I think many women feel as you do but are either afraid or uncomfortable in admitting it because of societal pressure. Take care, and enjoy that obviously well-bonded and healthy boy. 🙂

  7. I have breastfed all 4 of my kids. I waited until they weaned themselves. The girls were bf until they were 16 months old, my son until he was 26 months old (he’s the youngest, so there was no more pegnancy to mess up milk supply). I actually bf DD2 until I was 7 months pregnant with DD3.

    However, I got little to no support in terms of breastfeeding after I had given birth to DD1. People don’t realize that not only the mother, but also the baby has to LEARN how to breastfeed. I ended up contacting LLL (La Leche League), who’s volunteers practically talked me through the first – sometimes very agonzing – 3-4 months. After that things became easy, and with my other kids I was A) more relaxed and experienced and B) had the necessary telephone numbers at hand before the birth 😉

    That said: while I’m strongly pro-bf, I would never judge a mother who’s bottle-feeding. If she’s asking my advice, I’ll gladly help. If she doesn’t my mouth is shut. I mean – come on! – it’s hard enough as it is to be a new mom, without having all kinds of people (especially colleague mothers!) telling you how you MUST or SHOULD raise/feed etc your kid. I know a mother who breastfed her daughter until she was 4 years old. She said she only started “loving” her daughter after she was 18 months old. So much for BONDING! Another friend of mine started with the bottle right away. She has a very strong and close relationship with her child. How you feed your child has so little to do with bonding. Otherwise, fathers would never be able to “bond” with their babies!

    I do believe in the nutritional value of breastmilk, but if you don’t want of can’t breastfeed and your baby gets formula, it will also grow up to be a healthy child. Otherwise, there would be no breastfed children with allergies or weight problems or health issues – and there are plenty!

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