Just wondering if anyone else had as much dificulty as I did when making the choice to bottle-feed. In my case, the "choice" was kind of forced on me - I never got enough milk. It was awful. If there are other women out there who have had a similar experience and want to share it, or need help and support (when there is very little available) then write it here. I'm hoping to meet other mums who bottle-feed (for whatever reason) and possibly start a support group. I live in Brisbane, close to the city on the south side and would be interested in meeting up with people in the area. I haven't been able to find a group other than the one in Strathpine which is too far for me. Below is my story, but even if you bottle-feed just because you wanted to, that is fine as well.
My story .......
I don't know what happened, maybe it was the stressful birth (emergency c-section) or maybe it was just my inexperience, but I truly believe I tried my hardest to breastfeed but no milk would come. In hospital by day 2 my son was crying constantly and was on the breast for an hour at a time (30 mins each side) he would then come off the breast for half an hour and be screaming to get back on again. I did this for three days around the clock. My nipples were cracked and sore and the midwives just kept saying "you're doing it right, your milk will come." They ignored me when I said to them that he hadn't done a wet nappy, they were as dry as a bone. One midwife said "oh, the nappies today are so absorbent they just feel dry." After his continuous crying for an hour one night they took him off me to give me a break and settle him - they couldn't do it and it was their idea to give him a bottle, but they still didn't listen to me when I told them he wasn't getting enough milk. And they offered me no information or support in regard to bottle-feeding.
By the time I got home I was an emotional wreck and then I blamed the stress for my milk not coming. I went to see my doctor who told me I could take anti-nausea medication to stimulate my milk but that it might give me insomnia and make me feel sick - like that is what a new mother needs! When the midwife came to visit me at home I showed her my son's nappy, dry with a dark brown stain on it. He was dehydrated. I continued for two weeks, him on the breast followed by expressing and supplementing feeds with bottle, then eventually just expressing and topping up with formula. I could get 50-60 ml total if I expressed for 45 mins.
Despite all of this the guilt I felt was incredible. I was a failure, a bad mother my body had let me down. I remembered all the times I had judged other women for not breastfeeding, thinking to myself "they just didn't try hard enough" - what did I know? And that's the problem. Until you are in the situation yourself it is impossible to understand what it feels like. Now there are times when I feel judged. When I sit with a group of mothers all breastfeeding their babies I feel embarrassed and incompetent. I feel left out and alone.
Since starting to bottle-feed I have changed my formula three times. There was no information about formulas available - the different types etc and it was hard to make an informed choice. It became a game of trial and error. I still, after 4 1/2 months wish that I could have done it and will try again with the next one. I initially cried for about a week after I finally gave up, and I still cry every now and then. Just the other day I had my son in bed with me for a sleep and I was naked. He started moving his head around trying to find my breast because he was hungry. Even after all this time that instinct was still there, but I had nothing to give him.
I hope others can relate to my story and hopefully people will want to share their stories as well because there is just not enough support out there.