I've had two babies now, and I still don't have the authority to advise anyone on parenting. It's a tough gig, everyone knows that, and there are loads of ways to do things. None of them are (is?) the right way for everyone. (Oh god, I've lost the power of grammar, and the patience to work it out. I am too tired).
I breast fed Alfred exclusively, for quite a while, and for the first seven weeks have breast fed Rae too. I come from a family of breast feeders and it seemed like the natural choice for me. That's what boobs are for, after all. And there are other reasons, like convenience and cost saving, but there are clearly some negatives too. Thing is, it was my choice. And it is nobody else's business (except maybe Oliver's).
National breast feeding week has just finished and it sure does bring them out. I am all for normalising breastfeeding, I find it embarrassing and humiliating to get boobs out in public, and the more that becomes accepted as normal, the easier it would be. But what is with the shaming? Each side of the argument feel victimised by the other, as well as by the general public at large. What irritates me is groups heaping shame on the other side, whilst complaining about being shamed.
Anyway, moving on.
Anyway, moving on.
As a breast feeder, I've not had much experience with bottle feeding, but yesterday I was forced to bottle feed for 24 hours after being injected with contrast for an MRI. Although I was wary she would refuse to feed and we'd be awake all night with a screaming baby, I was interested to see how bottle feeding went. These are the things I learnt.
- I could totally get used to not always being the one doing the feeding!
- I'm not comfortable with anyone else doing the feeding, that's my job. She needs me for that, and I like her needing me.
- Sterilising. What a pain in the arse. Especially when you're inclined to drop freshly boiled things on the floor and have to start again.
- Formula is gross. Thick and sticky.
- Babies are not patient when you heat up their milk too much and have to cool it down again, and then re-sterilise the bottle having dropped it on the floor. And then start again because you used a normal germ-ridden non-sterilised glass to heat the milk in a sleep deprived haze, defeating the whole purpose of the goddamn sterilisation process. Waiting quietly and patiently, not so much. In the middle of the night? Funtimes.
- It's nice, not having to expose yourself all the time.
- It's nice, wearing proper clothes and supportive bras.
- Who knew how much milk babies eat? Wow, no wonder I have been hungry!
- Maybe I could get comfortable with someone else doing the feeding, in return for some sleep.
- In our short experiment, the rumour appeared to be true. She slept for EIGHT HOURS on formula. Hmmm, let me think about that... (This would have been wonderful had the two year old not had a total shitfit and shouted for five hours straight. Our neighbours love us).
Conclusion: I can totally see why people would choose to do this. As expected, there are major benefits to bottle feeding. It was interesting to try it for the day, but I didn't really find anything out that I hadn't predicted.
The cost saving argument is a winner for me, and the convenience of not having to sterilise and heat and basically keep a hungry baby waiting. I like that boobs make the exact amount of milk the baby needs, and it is made especially for them. Also, I like that I can eat cake a lot. The exposure and sleep deprivation are worth it for that.
There are great arguments for both options, and so I will stick to my original opinion - whatever works for you. No judgements. YAWN.