When I reached my first trimester of pregnancy, I always just assumed that I would be a breastfeeding mother.
I believed that my maternal instincts would be all-powerful and I would lactate at any cry I heard from a newborn baby.
Boy was I wrong! As I’ve discussed in a previous article, breast may well be best, but in many, many cases, it isn’t actually possible.
In my case, my son had a tongue tie that wasn’t detected, I wasn’t producing enough milk, my breasts became augmented and, seriously, I could go on but I’ll spare you the details.
Having spoken to hundreds of other mothers over the last two-an- a-half years, you’d be surprised at just how common this occurrence is. My point is that at no stage during my pregnancy, or during the support visits afterwards, was I EVER given advice on bottle feeding.
It is a huge, socio-political black hole in the NHS which needs to be addressed immediately.
You see, the NHS believe that milk-substitute formula is forged in the fiery pits of hell by evil corporate organisations that are conspiring to eradicate breasts from the earth.
So without any, and I mean any, bottle-feeding advice, my partner and I were totally lost. Once we had decided that our starving baby probably disagreed with the NHS, we set off to find an alternative in the local supermarket.
There were hundreds of different brands offering the ‘second best to breast milk’. We picked the formula which had the happiest-looking baby on the front (it being our only gauge) and slowly introduced this via an easy-open carton (at first), and then in powder form.
We hit plenty of snags, (largely due to my son’s reflux meaning he struggled to keep anything down).
In the end, we got the right type of formula to suit our son, and he has grown up happy and healthy.
Offering advice and guidance on both breast and bottle feeding would not sway a new mum’s decision, it would just help reduce anxiety and stress levels in the precious early weeks of parenthood.