WHEN BREASTFEEDING GOES TITS UP.

I was full of good intentions. I wanted to breastfeed Joey. I wanted to go the natural route and I wanted that bond. It started well, straight after giving birth. I lay on the hospital bed while a midwife helped Joey latch on and happy days, I was breastfeeding! I was so in shock at what had just happened, and so absorbed in what was going on down below, that I barely noticed what was going on up top.

As far as I can remember, Joey fed for 40 minutes. I felt positive and grateful, and I thought that was it - I’d be breastfeeding him for the next six months or more. I fed him again that day, and through the night during my stay in hospital, but as soon as we got home, everything changed.

Early feeding days.

I was in pain. Horrendous pain. I won’t go into too much detail, but there was blood, there were blisters and there was lots of tears. I had visits from my midwife and health visitors to check Joey was latching on properly, which apparently he was. But for some reason, feeding him gave me toe-curlingly, eye-scrunchingly, gritting-your-teeth pain and boob wounds. No one ever told me about boob wounds!

Six days in and I was ready to give up. Breastfeeding was making me miserable. I dreaded feeding my baby and I knew that wasn't right. So on day seven, I decided I would stop and give bottle-feeding a try. At least he'd had his fill of 'liquid gold' - colostrum.

I don't advise stopping so suddenly because I developed mastitis - an infection in the tissue of the breast - which made things a whole lot worse. I couldn't even hold Joey properly anymore because of the pain and I felt lucky to have my husband Greg at home to help.

There I was, sat on the sofa sobbing, with cabbage leaves and cold ice packs in my bra. I felt like a failure, but I also had the saying we’ve all heard before ringing in my ears: Happy Mum, Happy Baby. Well, I was not happy. So that night, we ordered a Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine (MY HERO) on Amazon Prime, two tubs of Aptamil, and a set of baby bottles and teats.

My hero: The Perfect Prep Machine.

After a batch of antibiotics from my GP, my mastitis cleared up and I was so relieved when Joey took to formula straightaway. However, a week later we realised he was struggling. He was screeching with trapped wind and he became very constipated. As new parents, worried for our baby and not knowing any better, we went along to A&E after Joey hadn’t had a dirty nappy for six days. Boy was that a mistake. Five hours of waiting felt like five weeks. And guess what. As soon as the doctor examined Joey, out came what we’d all been waiting for. That poor doctor’s room really took the (s)hit.

Bottle-feeding was best for us.

Off we went back home, after a wasted day in a room full of screaming children and fed-up adults. This event came not long after Joey had been circumcised, (much to my displeasure, but that’s another blog post) and by now I was ready for a seriously stiff gin and tonic. And that’s where I headed as soon as we got back - straight to the drinks cupboard for the best tasting and most satisfying gin I’d ever had.

Giving up breastfeeding make me so much happier!

We changed Joey onto Aptamil Comfort, a formula with less lactose to aid digestion, which brought fresh worries that he would develop an intolerance to dairy when he was older. (He didn't - he is now 18 months old and loves cow's milk).

A few weeks later he still had colic, as well as reflux, so we began using Dr Brown’s Options anti-colic bottles, which were an absolute GODSEND. After that, we were finally on the first official leg of a smooth feeding journey, hurrah!

I set out wanting to breastfeed but I tell myself it wasn’t meant to be. For us, bottle-feeding was best. As long as your baby is feeding and growing as they should, it doesn’t matter if it’s from the boob or formula in a bottle. Fed is best.

Breast or bottle, fed is best.

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