Why Breast Is Not Always Best – Guest Post by Living With Layla Rose

My Mountain BannerThank you for all your kind responses to last week’s post from Lisa about dealing with criticism as a parent. This week Jennie is raising another topic that’s really important to me personally, the challenge of breastfeeding…

Before I had Layla-Rose I read all the books on breast feeding and told anyone who wanted to hear (and some who didn’t) that I was breast feeding. I bought my nursing bras and made sure throughout pregnancy I wore a non-wired bra.

The time came and I had Layla 3 weeks early having to be induced. As soon as she was born we were placed skin to skin and I placed her to feed. She wasn’t interested though and I was told this was probably due to the diamorphine and that it could take a while to wear off. We were taken to our ward and again I placed her on my breast and again nothing. She just lay there nipple in my mouth not sucking. I called for someone and instead of showing me how to get her to latch they played around with my boob and she sucked! For about 30 seconds and then nothing. I was told again this was normal by the midwife because of the diamorphone. I tried several times in the night but she just wouldn’t latch.

By morning I was conscious that she had gone almost 12 hours with no food. Throughout the day several midwives came by to help me try and breastfeed but nobody would actually show me how to do it they would just play with my boob and nipple to try and get her to latch on. In between this I was growing more anxious and upset. Why would she not feed?! What was I doing wrong?! That night I cried myself to sleep. I had read all the books and yet she would not feed what was so complicated about breast feeding surely you just stick them on your boob and they do the work?! It wasn’t like I didn’t have any milk I had plenty the midwives kept telling me when they squirted it out in an attempt to tempt Layla-Rose to feed. By day two in the hospital I wanted out but they wouldn’t let me out until Layla had fed.

Through tears I begged the midwife to let go home and she said unless I made a decision breast or bottle I couldn’t go home so out of shear desperation to leave I asked for a bottle and through tears I attempted to give it to her. Why was I such a failure at being a mother when she was only a day old? Just as I was about to feed her a lady came in to see if I was ok (she must have heard me crying) I explained through tears and she told me about cup feeding. If I fed Layla through a cup then I could go home and continue on trying to establish breast feeding so that’s what we did. After some internet research and a conversation with my doctor cousin, when they came to check on us I asked if Layla could be checked for tongue tie as I found out that in some babies it causes problems feeding and low and behold she had it, bad but they were unable to snip it there and then (to read more about Layla-Rose’s tongue tie please look here). After cup feeding we were able to go home.

I felt instantly more relaxed and positive as soon as I got home and again I began trying to get her to latch on and breast feed. The midwife appeared the following day and I still hadn’t established a feed. It was now day 3 and my poor little one had only had a cup of milk so far. The midwife suggested we combination feed I would start her on the breast, then bottle feed, then express so with the next feed I could try her with my expressed milk as well as the breast and so the cycle began. I would try her for 15 minutes on the breast, then bottle feed her, which took 45 minutes to an hour and then express which took a further 15 minutes where I would be lucky to get 5ml.

This whole cycle took around an hour and a half and she wanted to feed every 2 hours this was a never ending, thankless hopeless cycle. I managed this for about a week until my partner sat me down and told me he couldn’t see me go through this never ending cycle for 3 more weeks until her tongue tie was fixed. He said he would support me whatever my decision but I needed to do what was going to keep me sane. It was with a heavy heart I agreed with him and we decided to stop trying to breast feed. I grieved about this and feel I am still grieving that I wasn’t able to breast feed my baby, wasn’t able to give her what was deemed ‘best’ but the truth is like I have come to understand motherhood in general, babies have their own plan their own way and as long as your baby is happy then that’s all that matters.

Read more from Jennie over at Living With Layla Rose or follow her on Twitter.  

There won’t be a My Mountain post next Friday as I’ll be enjoying a sunny break but we’ll back back on 24th June with another mum sharing another challenge.  If you’d like to contribute to the series please email 500-1000 words regarding your biggest parenting challenge to butterflymum83@gmail.com, or see this post for more info.  

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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29 comments on “Why Breast Is Not Always Best – Guest Post by Living With Layla Rose

  1. Your experience is so similar to mine – SB was three weeks early, couldn’t latch, I wasn’t allowed to go home until I made a decision to bottle feed etc. This is a really well-written post and I agree that breast is not always best! #KCACOLS

  2. No one ever tells you how difficult breastfeeding can be in your NCT classes. I was lucky that it worked for us (eventually), but in those early days it was really painful and I never knew if she was getting enough milk or not. It’s worth giving breastfeeding a go, but mums shouldn’t feel pressured to continue at the expense of their mental health. #KCACOLS
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…Let’s hear it for DaddyMy Profile

  3. Thanks for sharing! I had the same issue with my son, although we knew he was tounge tied right away. When he cried his little tounge looked like a snakes. We also had to wait to have it cut. I was lucky enough to re-establish breast feeding afterwards….although it was short lived

  4. Oh lovely, im so sorry to hear that you had such a difficult time with breastfeeding. Sometimes, like you say at the end of your post, babies have their own plan and it doesnt always work out like you imagine it will. The hardest thing is accepting and being ok with that. As long as your baby is fed, it doesnt matter how they are fed and its no reflection on you as a parent and mother. Thanks for sharing another great guest post on #MarvMondays. Emily

  5. I think it’s so important to recognise the emotional element of breast feeding and the effect that it has on mothers. I was a breastfeeding Mum because I was lucky – it just happened to work out with my three girls. However, I have several friends who could not and I have seen the emotional pain that this can cause. Our children are teenagers now and my friends still refer to their ‘failure’ to breastfeed and how that made them feel. I think it’s fantastic that ladies receive support to breastfeed but they also need support to stop. No-one ‘fails’ to breastfeed. They make a loving decision to do what is best for their baby. Thanks for posting. XX #MarvMondays

  6. Thank you so much for sharing. It’s so important that more people share their experiences on breastfeeding whether positive or negative and the emotional effect it has on mums. Thankfully you had the support of your partner who sounds lovely 🙂
    Aba recently posted…Outfit of the day – BabymoonMy Profile

  7. Well done you for persevering, I think it is underestimated sometimes how difficult it can be to establish breastfeeding. I think it is so sad though that you desperately wanted to breastfed yet you didn’t seem to get the support you needed and deserved! It seems to be a common story across the NHS. You made the right decision for you and your baby though, and your partner was lovely in supporting you on that! Thanks for sharing your story #marvmondays

  8. You tried your best that’s all that matters. So long as your baby gets the food it needs at the end of the day that’s all that matters. The first week was hell for us as it took 5 days for my milk to come in. We tried our baby girl on the bottle but she wouldnt take it. All she wanted to do was to suck my boob and I had no milk. She lost 7 oz that first week. The day my milk came in I just cried. Its funny as now she is nearly 5 months old and will not take a bottle. But she will drink out of this cup i give to her.

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    Rachel x
    Rachel Bustin recently posted…My Sunday Photo 12/06/2016My Profile

  9. You did so well to persevere. It’s a pity they couldn’t sort the tongue tie sooner but don’t be hard on yourself! In some cases I find midwives can be insensitive to a new mummy’s worries. Each baby has a plan, and sometimes they go against mummy’s wishes but they grow and nurture just the same! #marvmondays
    blabbermama recently posted…James Bond: The search for the next recruitMy Profile

  10. Thank you all so much for your comments your kindness and the sharing of your own experiences have had me in tears! This was why I began writing a blog so that I could bring comfort to others and share my story.

  11. Thank you for sharing. I’ve had a really tough start with breastfeeding too and have ended up expressing and bottle feeding the expressed milk. I’m still going three weeks in but not sure how long I’ll be able to keep it up! #marvmondays
    Jules Pondering Parenthood recently posted…Mummy GuiltMy Profile

  12. Thank you for sharing, it’s so important that women speak about these things so that people have a better idea of what to expect. I had a similar experience to you regarding support. My son had a good latch after a little practice but was feeding so often and taking so long that I wasn’t sleeping. My mental health was suffering and I wasn’t able to bond with him. After 5 days my husband and mum supported me in the decision to switch to bottle feeding. I went from crying because I was dreading feeding him to crying because I would never feed him again. Nobody can prepare you for the emotional side of things x #KCACOLS
    Emilie recently posted…Living Arrows 24/52 – Fun on the SwingsMy Profile

  13. I recall going through the bottle/breast battle with my daughter. We are very lucky to live in a country where we are able to do both. Hope she is thriving now. #MarvMondays

  14. My little one lost 21% of his birthweight by day 5 when I was trying to bf. He ended up in a and e being fed through a ng tube. It didn’t work out for us. I finally plucked up the courage to write about it and I’m so glad I did. Fab post. #marvmondays
    Faye Colegate recently posted…The best toddler breakfasts! My Profile

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