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Don't Be Paranoid About Bottlefeeding

A mum shares her bottle feeding experience

When my little girl was born I had trouble developing my milk supply - it was day 6 before I got any milk. After 3 weeks of trying and baby loosing weight (80g weeks 1 & 2 and 500g week 3) I started supplementing with formula.

My midwife recommended the Nurture so that was what I used throughout. Baby took it happily and started putting on weight. She still feed off me and had no problems (luckily) with taking the bottle.

I used wide neck bottles with the criss cross hole teat again on midwifes recommendation as baby had to suck at her own pace to get any milk out.  They were awesome bottles and I still have them to use if I need for baby number 2 (due in 8 weeks).

I found it hard at first with sterilizing - no one told me how to do it and I ruined many medicine droppers trying (I had specifically asked in the antenatal class about these sorts of things and the lady told me she "wasn't allowed to discuss it in the group setting and if I wanted to know about it should I need it to ask my midwife - this made me rather annoyed at the time and I just hoped I wouldn't need it).

I ended up using the chemical sterilizer as I had been given a special bucket thing from a friend of a friend while pregnant and it was fantastic - fill it with water drop a tablet in and you're good to go for 24 hours! Much easier than microwave sterilizing.

I had also been given  - and found very handy - a bottle drainer for the bench and would definitely say to anyone bottle feeding to have one for after the bottles don't need to be sterilized anymore and can just be washed. I used to wash them in the sink with fresh hot soapy water and let them drain until I needed them. It was so handy and I don't think I would have been a very expensive item either :)

I was lucky enough to not have anyone come up to me in the supermarket and abuse me for buying formula - although I did find I felt rather guilty about it, some ingrained social pressure to breast feed was making me feel guilty for giving my baby formula even though I still breastfed as well until she was 3 months (and had weaned herself off).

I hated bottle feeding in public and most of the time if there was room I would go into thru mothers rooms at shopping centers to feed so I didn't feel like I was being judged - even though I may not have been, I felt like people were watching me and judging me about my need to feed with a bottle.

I believe there is so much pressure on mothers to breastfeed that it can cause depression (which I feel I had a small case off in the first few months and didn't bond very well because of it) that can make it worse.

My advice to a new mother having trouble breastfeeding is to not be so paranoid about bottle feeding. Not everyone can breastfeed easily and the alternative is letting your baby starve. It comes down to a choice between the self pressures of doing it "by the book" or the way plunket recommends and doing what is best for you and your baby.

And I would say to any plunket nurse - don't focus so much on what the baby is eating but how well the baby is doing on what ever they are eating and how the mother is coping with the situation

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