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  • Writer's pictureTo Become A Mother

Breast & bottle feeding - what I wish I'd known

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

Whether it’s breast milk, formula or a combination of both, most women agree that feeding an infant involves a steep learning curve. It can be incredibly hard work, emotionally and physically, and take weeks and months for mother and baby to find their way. With that in mind, we asked nine mums what they wish they’d known about breast and bottle feeding before the birth of their babies.

I wish I’d known that if your baby comes early your milk won’t necessarily come in. So be ready with formula and don’t feel bad about it! Pumping after every feed was the only way for me to get milk supply up but it took weeks! The best thing a friend said to me was ‘Bottle or Breast, a full tummy is best’. Samantha

Get as much help from the midwives as you can whilst you are in hospital. I made a pact with myself not to leave until I’d been shown how to do it. I think they would have left me to it had I not harassed them! Sarah

There is a tonne of smoke and mirrors on the ability to breastfeed after C-section. I was worried going in for the planned C-section that my odds of breastfeeding would be significantly reduced but it turned out I was totally able to do it. Rosie

I wish I had reached out to a private lactation consultant sooner after I came home from hospital. After weeks of painful feeding I had one visit me for an hour and it helped so much with positioning, tips etc. I also wish that I’d known that babies can still have tongue tie even with a good latch. If there is any pain, have a lactation consultant come and check for tongue tie – it is more common than you think! Amy

At around 3 months, my baby cried at each feed so I thought I didn’t have enough milk. I started to top up most feeds with a bottle until I realised he just needed to be burped a second time. I did read that the milk supply would drop if I didn’t pump in parallel but I didn’t realise how quickly it would happen and how hard it would be to build up again. I therefore stopped breastfeeding relatively early. I was fine with it but wouldn’t make the same mistake again if we have a second baby one day. Manel

I wish I’d known how to burp my baby earlier. Would have saved me hours and hours of trying. It was a game changer when I figured it out (twisting the body to the side). Rebecca

Your body will ache from holding the baby so use as many pillows as possible to prop yourself up. And don’t throw out all your old bras! Your boobs will go humongous at first but then eventually shrink back in size. Victoria

How stressful and intimidating it can be to breastfeed in public. Disapproving looks, unwelcome stares and comments from by-passers were enough to put me off. Unless I was accompanied by another adult, I would try to avoid going out if there was any risk my baby would need a feed. I wish someone would have prepared me for this and given me the confidence to stand up for myself as a breastfeeding mum. Caroline

Don’t buy 20 of the same bottles before your baby takes it. My baby refused them all so had to give them away. Sarah


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