Why I didn't Breast Feed

Thursday, May 28, 2015

When I started blogging, I didn't anticipate so many people to actually read what I have to say! It was just an online diary/ fashion journal for myself to read. of course I wanted it to be read and loved by people, but I didn't actually think it would be. It wasn't until I wrote one of my pregnancy updates and had a sting of negative comments that I began to realise how much of an influence what I wrote had on others. Obviously I know I am NOT that influential, but I understand that when I write things on this blog, it is going to be read by others and more importantly, as a parent I have a duty to be responsible and mature about what I put out there.

For this reason, I have not really mentioned much about my decision to formula feed Alice. I sort of washed over it and pretended to ignore the whole choice. Until now.

I chose to formula feed my baby. From birth.

There, I said it. Possibly one of the most debated parenting decisions there is! I know this debate often sparks up very strong opinions and debates, but I felt I needed to be honest and finally explain my choice.

Before I had Alice, I was completely convinced and decided on breastfeeding. So much so, that I didn't even purchase any bottles or formula or even sterilizing equipment. I knew, no matter what, that I was going to breastfeed for at least 6 weeks. So my decision not to was nothing to do with me being selfish, or being a bad mother and not giving my baby what was best. I had read the material, listened to midwives and I completely understood and agreed with the benefits of breastfeeding. I wanted what was best, and I knew that breast was it!

The birth did not go to plan (does anyones?!) It was a very quick labour. When Alice was born, she was not breathing and needed resuscitation. So she was whisked away to the other side of the room where I couldn't even see her. Meanwhile, my placenta decided to get stuck and I was at risk of haemorrhaging. For my own safety I was taken through to surgery immediately after giving birth, where I underwent an hour of surgery which left me emotionally shattered. I was wheeled back into the room where I had given birth. I could not feel anything from my chest down, I felt utterly exhausted and I hadn't even seen my baby.

Alice was handed to me. It was horrible. I couldn't hold her properly so she was propped up on a pillow. I looked at her. She looked at me. I felt... nothing. Not the over whelming love you are supposed to. Not even happiness that my baby was here. I didn't understand where she had come from. She just didn't feel like mine at all. So when the midwife said she needed feeding and was I going to breastfeed, I answered without any hesitation. No.

Alice needed feeding and I was handed a bottle. But I couldn't do it, and so she was handed to Dave instead. I had to stay in hospital overnight and Dave had to leave. I was left on my own with a baby I didn't think was mine, utterly exhausted and without knowing what I was going to do.

Luckily I had the most amazing midwife who stayed with me nearly all night. With her support and kindness, I began to bond with Alice. I fed her from a bottle, looking into her eyes and by the end of the night I was utterly smitten. It was as though a fog had lifted and finally I could see my baby! Focussing on feeding her the bottles, remembering how long they had been opened and how much I had given her really helped me to focus on looking after Alice and to stop worrying about any negative thoughts I was having.

When I got her home, we were bottle feeding. That was it. It sounds ridiculous, but the routine of making up a bottle made me feel more in control of things. I guess because I had not bonded with Alice straight away, I felt like my motherly instincts hadn't kicked in. Breastfeeding is incredibly natural, and when you don't feel any emotional connection to your baby it is very hard to in vision doing it. The bottle made me feel like a mum. Like I was in control of looking after Alice and there was no pressure on us.

As the trauma of the birth faded away and I spent time with Alice in our home environment, I really began to feel that emotional connection. 3 weeks after she was born, I remember looking at her and thinking, "I wish I could breastfeed you now". Of course, it was too late by then.

Do I regret not breastfeeding? Absolutely not. I wrote down everything I was feeling at the time (I'm obsessed with keeping diaries!), and reading it back, I was in no fit state to breastfeed. I was emotional, traumatised and struggling to come to terms with having a newborn. It was not right for me.

One question I can predict I will be asked is: What about what's right for your baby? It shouldn't matter how you feel, it's all about what is in your babies best interest.
The thing is, when I had Alice, I couldn't quite believe she was mine. As I didn't see her for an hour after she was born, I didn't get that emotional connection straight away. It sounds terrible but, I was thinking about myself! I was totally overwhelmed and felt completely under prepared for what had happened. I just wanted to go home. That was it! The birth was nothing like I had predicted. And I couldn't predict my feelings. I had no idea I would feel the way i did after having her, so I could only react to it as it happened. I wasn't thinking straight and I just had to do what felt right at the time. Which is why I stand by my decision.

I do not regret formula feeding Alice. It was what was right for me, and for her, at the time I made my decision. However, if I ever have anymore children, I would love to breastfeed as I really do believe it is what is best for your baby.

How you feed your baby is down to you, and it makes me sad that parents are made to feel guilty for whatever choice they decide to make.

Do share your experiences below, I'd love to hear what you have to say!




  1. Breast is only best if the mother feels comfortable doing it. You were right to chose bottles if that's what helped you bond with Alice; if there was a no bond then the breast feeding wouldn't have worked for either of you anyway. "What about what's right for your baby?" - bottles was what was right, evidently. Alice is a beautiful, healthy toddler (!) who is clearly loved and well taken care of. Your bond with Alice is far more important than breast feeding. Yes, nutritionally, breast milk is better, but the littlest things can affect milk flow, so you may have struggled further had you tried to breast feed. I hate all this negativity around mothers who bottle feed - how dare we! - breast feeding is bloody hard and does not suit everyone. You considered your options, you chose bottles. You have to do what's best for BOTH of you and I have nothing but the utmost respect for you. Xo

  2. I'm sorry you got negative comments before, I don't know why we all have to be so judgemental of each other! Even if your birth had gone perfectly and you bonded instantly, if you didn't want to breastfeed that would have been your choice and not one that deserves any judgement! I feel quite strongly about this and have written about it on my blog too. I just feel there are so many factors that make us good mothers and breastfeeding is just one of them.

  3. This is a deeply personal issue that only a mom can make. You did what was best for your family. Period. Good for you for being open and honest about your struggles...I'm sure there are others out there who will be touched or even comforted by your words. I actually had a relative comment on the fact that I only breastfed my son for 5 weeks recently ("Well, that's something at least") and he's 12 years old! But I was a young mom who was ill-equipped to nurse long term. For those that judge another woman's choice on this matter...shame on you. Anyone who reads your blog can tell that your daughter is well cared for and adored.

  4. I think you are really brave for sharing this story. I have told my friends time and time again you need to do what is best for you and baby! If you were uncomfortable then it wouldn't have worked for baby anyhow! Today's society is way too critical of each other. And now with all the social media and pinterest and everything there is so much pressure on us mom's to be better than ever. You go girl!!!!! Alice looks beautiful and healthy and happy and that is all that matters.

  5. Such a great post. I'm waiting for my little one to arrive and it's refreshing to see another point of view. I plan on breastfeeding but if it doesn't work out then so be it.

    Sarah xx

  6. You have to do what is best for you and baby. Nobody has a right to tell you how to raise your child and how to run your family. If you are okay with the decision that is all that matters.

  7. It really annoys me when mums attack other mums for their personal choices. I feel it often with being a working mum. I don't think you can ever judge a mother, just because you are one, because every situation is different. You don't attend a university graduation and say: "Ah yes, all of these graduates were breastfed!" And even then, that's me being unfair because a degree doesn't make you "clever". It makes no difference really. I breastfed because I wanted to, because it's cheaper, and because it's supposedly "better." But no one can prove that. At the end of the day. Who gives a toss. People only object because your confidence in your choice unsettles them. Perhaps you sparked something in them that made them uncomfortable. You, my dear, are every inch a good mother. Your milk doesn't define you. Trust me on that one. xxx

  8. I formula fed our first born. Our second I breastfed AND supplemented with formula. Every mother has to do what is right for her family.

    I found you on the Weekly Wednesday Blog Hop. I'm a new follower :)

    Holly, www.curiousprinkles.com

  9. Absolutely nothing wrong with the bottle! I bottle fed my baby because my milk never came in. I don't think people should judge others, we're all just trying to do the best we can and what is right for us. It's different for everyone. Great blog and beautiful baby! Found you through Weekly Wednesday Blog Hop.


  10. I breastfed my girl until she was 20 months old and many people didn't find that right either, but do you know what, I didn't care. It doesn't matter how you feed your baby. You do what is best for you and your baby and not what other people expect you to do.

    You had a lot on your plate when Alice was born and I can totally see why you decided to stick with the bottle. Don't listen to people who try and make you feel bad about bottle feeding. You are doing a great job and Alice is a healthy and happy little girl and that is all that counts x

  11. Its good to hear other mums stories as I didnt breastfeed all 3 of mine for very long!
    I like the idea of breastfeeding but its not as easy as it seems x

  12. I bottle fed both my children and it was my choice plain and simple and my kids were not affected by my choice. They are perfectly healthy and happy. I think it is hard enough being a mother, so we do not need other mothers judging us on how we decide to care for our children, we should all support each other. Great post.

    Rose (found you through Weekly Wednesday Blog Hop)

  13. Hey Love. Following you back on here and bloglovin'. I see that you have the following socia media thing. May I ask how you did that and where you got it from. I want to redo mine and not sure how to go about it. I had someone else do the other one that i have up.

  14. Great post! I am still breastfeeding my 10 month old, like you I didn't buy anything and didn't know what I was going to do before giving birth. But if we weren't able to it would have been fine too. It's a mothers choice, no mother should be made to feel bad that they didnt breastfeed. Alice is a perfectly healthy baby girl and has been from the start. You did great!


  15. Oy -- I hate that this is even an issue.

    I knew from the very beginning, well before getting pregnant, that I would NOT breastfeed. I know myself and I knew it wasn't right for me. And you know what? My son turned out just fine.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  16. No one should make you feel guilty for doing what is best for your family! I hate that you feel you even owed us an explanation. You are obviously a great mom, and Alice is thriving! What more could you ask for? :-)

  17. I just found this post while searching this topic, and I see that it is a few months old but I wanted to say thank you so much. My baby boy is eight months old and absolutely perfect. My story was much like yours, but I did have regret and still do.. That is what led me to this post, and reading stories like these are really helping me cope.. I pray I learn to realize that my decision was best for us at the time and I get over my regret. Just thank you for this.

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  19. I fed my little ones on formula from birth, too!

    I tend to ignore the hot debates about breastfeeding, especially mums getting on their high horses about it. A lot of people are brought up on formula, nothing wrong with them... Very strange one!


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