Don't Keep It Bottled Up
According to the Infant Feeding Survey 2010, more than 80% of women choose to breastfeed, but as we all know, the majority of mamas in the UK end up bottle feeding. I have to wonder, is it that on the whole most mamas formula feed through necessity and not necessarily choice?
For me, it was a Saturday afternoon, distraught and hopeless, I agreed to try formula. You can read more about my necessity here. I will reitterate, formula saved me as a mama, it allowed me to be a mother. For now, the crux of this post has to ask...what happens next?
Having spent two minutes of my nine months thinking about feeding. Then two weeks in the postnatal period steam rolling in one direction, alas to the detriment of myself and my family. I had not thought for one second about formula feeding. So when that moment came, I was completely clueless. Ignorant.
There are no support groups for formula mamas. Your midwife and health visitor can’t or won't discuss formula through fear of promoting it. And my circle of family and friends were mainly breastfeeders.
So where can you turn when you are staring plan B in the face at three o’clock in the morning? What are the tips? What are the traps?
I discovered the Fearless Formula Feeder too late. The WHO guidelines went under my raider, and I have only just learnt about First Steps Nutrition. My main help came from word of mouth, which frankly was just too late. By the time I opened up about my formula feeding and became susceptible to help, I was already six months down the line.
I learnt too late about cheats to preparation. I am embarrassed to say my four month old was desperately sucking on the size 1, when it was pointed out to me, he probably should be on the next flow size up… who knew?! Not to mention that I completely forgot all my GCSE science and that millilitres essentially equal grams. How this little fact would have made my three o’clock bottle feeds so much easier.
Perhaps over the years my ears have become more tuned into the many wonderful and positive stories about formula feeding. Perhaps more people are finding the confidence to talk more openly about the alternative approaches to infant feeding. Either way I am blown away by some of the fantastic groups popping up celebrating formula feeding. Like The Fed IS Best Campaign, or the #dontjudgejustfeed campaign, or the I Support You Movement. But its more than that, they are celebrating mamas and the many shapes and forms we all take. We have started to take pride in all feeding faces, take the Bolfie as an example! Or our very own #feedwithheart is the most important part.
So here at frank, we want to reach out to you. What tips do you have for the new mama using formula for the first time, be it day one, or one hundred? What stories do you have about formula feeding? Please share with us your Bolfies! We want to support all feeding methods, the chosen and the necessary.
So if you would like to share your own story then please get in touch via Your Voice.