***This post includes breastfeeding photo's, please do not continue if this offends you***
I've never been one to think that breastfeeding is the ultimate goal of parenthood.
Whilst I was pregnant I just went along with it thinking that if I could do it then great as it's a fabulous start for the baby but if I couldn't then I would formula feed
I was of the school of thought of happy mummy, happy baby.
Due to Finn's IUGR he didn't have milk for 2-3 days because it can cause complications with the gut, as I knew I'd always give breastfeeding a go I was able to get ahead with expressing.
I remember being in the ward without Finn and the midwife giving me a syringe to collect the colostrum with and showed me how to hand express, my god that was hard work. The next day I went to NICU crying that I couldn't hand pump and the midwifes wouldn't give me an electric pump, one swift phone call from NICU to my ward and on my return there was a pump at my bed. I ended up expressing every 3hours in the day, and 4hours at night.
When was discharged after 5 days I went and bought a manual pump which was the worse thing I've ever used in my whole entire life and again I cried all night.
A medela electric pump was swiftly bought and I carried on expressing until Finn was able to feed from me. I honestly think if you are solely expressing then an electric pump is the way forward and to me the medela was a miracle
Breastfeeding Finn was a challenge in itself as he was so so tiny and he couldn't latch on and still had his feeding tube in.
After a few days of support of from the nurses I was given nipple shields which worked well and he latched on instantly.
I'll never forget the first time he had his tube feed and then I topped him up and he vomited every where 15mins later, only then did I know he was getting more than enough from me and the nurses allowed me to feed him more and his tube feeds were reduced.
When we were discharged from NICU I was still using the shields, and because he was so small and I had chosen to breastfeed, I had to administer him vitamins and iron every day by syringe which wasn't fun.
Breastfeeding in public never had bother me and I still to this day maintain I would of done it had I not had to use the shields, latching a baby on discreetly is one thing, getting a shield on and then latching Finn on was another, especially as he used to wave his hands about and knock it off.
I was so worried about Finn when he was tiny that I hardly ate when I was discharged from hospital which affected my milk production so I ate well whilst he was in NICU but when we got home my eating went down hill and I would hardly eat which obviously affected my milk.
After about 5 weeks of Finn knocking the shields off at every feed, gaining minimal weight despite constant feeding and staring from other people, I decided to give up breastfeeding. For about a day I felt slightly guilty about giving up with no 'true' reason but that didn't last long when I saw how much happier and perkier he was on formual, and how much happier I was in myself.
Finn's weight gain went from strength to strength on the catch up formula and it meant I no longer had to give him vitamins or iron.
I can safely say that stopping breast feeding was the best decision for me and Finn, which I have no guilt about as he has thrived on prescribed catch up formula.
If we have another child then I will of course try to breastfeed as I do believe it gives the best start possible, but I'll be under no illusions that stopping breast feeding is a bad thing or something you should be made to feel guilty about.