Since the very beginning of finding out that we were expecting our son , we knew straight away that breastfeeding was the sure thing we wanted to do .
I had given breastfeeding a try with all of my other children and after only one week , I had given up and taken to formula , this time around I really wanted to give it a try and thinking that with the extra support I now have , it would be a lot easier .
Baby Joshua was born perfectly healthy at full term and 8 days + and as soon as he was born , he was placed straight onto the boob where we found he struggled a little but was able to latch for a short length of time .
We were released from hospital within the 6 hours after giving birth with no worries what so ever and it took us almost 24 hours to realise that our son was struggling to feed , find the nipple and latch properly .
Joshua was also being sick with every feed, he seemed to look Jaundice and also seemed rather twisty and by the third day we were a little concerned and decided to take him to A and E .
The hospital took his bloods to check the Jaundice levels, admitted us to the children's ward and kept us in until the next day.
Luckily there was no need for Joshua to be admitted any longer and his bloods came back in the early hours of the morning reassuring us all that phototherapy was not needed so we were discharged from the baby ward the next day but the whole process of what happened in the hospital became to much for me that I turned to the breast pump.
I had gone with no sleep what so ever since having baby Joshua and I was absolutely exhausted beyond belief.
The hospital began questioning a small mark on our sons knee which made us feel like we were being blamed for harming our son and emotions ran high making me feel incapable of feeding our son . I was scared to hold him, we had no idea what the so called mark on his knee was from and we were upset at how they treated us and we also questioned what the mark could be from but with us having no explanation ourselves , they seemed to question it themselves even more. They made us feel so bad ,they made me feel so guilty for not knowing where the mark was from that I began hoping that his bloods would come back with an explanation . I felt like I had done something wrong and my husband and I refused to allow anyone alone with our son at all during our stay .
We were so tired and all I wanted was a little support with feeding and reassurance that my son was ok.
Later on , we were told that the mark was none concerning but they left us feeling disgusted at how they treat us especially when on later checks, the mark was to be found as what is known as a Mongolian blue spot yet the discharge letter was left with the words 'bruise' which made me feel even more angrily at them for not explaining it correctly or correcting it saying it was not an actual bruise but in fact a birth mark.
We spent the night in hospital with Joshua with nothing but a Nappy changing bag and a car seat we brought him in , In hope it was to be a quick visit but ended up spending 16 hours in a room on the children's ward and with all the high raw emotions and over tiredness I felt incapable of feeding my son.
No support what so ever was given to us until a lady from the next shift 12 hours later asked us if we needed any help.
I had already told doctors and consultants previously throughout the night and morning that Joshua was struggling to feed and I was so upset that they were not even willing to help. I felt to upset, I had not eaten and was tired that I was unable to express.
I was expecting my local breast feeding support to visit my home later that day to help with getting Joshua to latch on to the breast but being in hospital we were not going to make that appointment.
After a long 12 hours in the room on the ward and after seeing four doctors and a consultant, we then were asked if we needed any help and she brought me an electrical breast pump which turned out to be my saviour through out the whole experience.
I quickly got to pumping by breast milk and expressed a staggering 6 ounces straight away , it boosted my confidence again and our son was able to feed .
We were discharged from the hospital at around 3pm and we were so pleased to finally get home.
A couple of days later , my health visitor brought me an electric breast pump which was free to hire from the Health care services of Durham for as long as I wished to borrow it for and it soon became my new best friend.
After 1 week , our son had put on an amazing 8 pounds and a half ounce and he was no longer regurgitating every feed .
By week two I had got myself into a routine, the bottles were stacking up in the fridge and I was ahead of my supply meaning I could sleep more but then by the end of week two he seemed to be feeding more frequently , becoming very restless, suffering with tummy ache and sleeping nearly never during the night.
I was once again running low on my supply of breast milk and getting very little sleep and my emotions were running high again.
I felt so low and when it came to the Tuesday baby clinic visit and I found out our son had put on only half an ounce I was literally fed up.
I was advised to feed him more often, try to fit in more feeds she said, but when I was pumping every single hour and he was feeding every single hour,he seemed to be wanting more than what I was able to produce , it seemed a losing battle and I just literally wanted to give in.
On the Wednesday morning , I took the children to school and it was the first day that our routine had started to get back to normal. Joshua had had another rough night and I was shattered so my first plans were to get back home and try and catch up on some sleep but as soon as I walked through the door I knew instantly that something was not quite right as my husband stood there looking all crooked and sore.
He had been on his way to pick his brother up for work and on route someone pulled out of a junction and plowed straight into his vehicle.
The works van was trashed and he had his dad bring him back home but he was in agony with pain and I could see he was in shock and trying to act like he was better than he was.
I arranged for him to see a doctor and she advised him to get to a hospital so he went as soon as he could but in all the worry and stress of the day I totally missed my routine and for the remainder of the week my supply seemed to dwindle even more with not having time to express. Luckily for Joshua I had a back up supply to keep going for a little longer but by the time it got to Friday I totally broke down.
I felt so helpless, not only was my husband in pain and I was unable to help him due to the fact Joshua needed my full undivided attention, Joshua was no longer settling , putting weight on, sleeping or getting enough milk . I felt like if I was not walking around trying to settle Joshua , I was hooked up to an electric breast pump or feeding him. I could not remember the last time I even slept and I felt like I just wanted to crawl away and be left alone to cry it through.
Trying to take care of baby, 6 more children , a wounded hubby and three large dogs , I finally admitted it was all too much for me and I literally begged my husband to just let me give up.
I literally just broke down and cried and once I started I found it hard to stop.
The one thing I had looked forward to doing was try and give my son the best start I could by breast feeding and I had failed at getting him to feed directly from the boob and now I was failing at the expressing , I was totally wounded but my body was tired, I knew it was time for me to admit defeat and just give in , after all what good would I be if I was too upset, tired and worn out , he needed me fit and well and the only way I could see through this was to go and buy formula.
On the Friday night our son and myself slept better than we had in all the three weeks since he was born, he did not sleep great but we got a good few hours which to me was so much better than it had been.
I felt more relaxed, a little more time to at least wash bottles or even if I was lucky grab a cup of tea which felt good but most of all I did not feel like I was pressurizing myself into breast feeding when I knew it simply was something I was unable to achieve in my busy and tiring life.
I was able to enjoy a long hot soak in the bath, prepare bottles in advance and those middle of the night pumping sessions to release those over filled boobs, well I was definitely not missing those.
We tried and failed but the important thing to remember is that breast feeding is not for everyone , need that be from boob or bottle and no matter how you feed baby, as long as baby is fed and mum is happy and healthy with them, that is the best you can do.
I really wish I could have carried it on but it was meant for me , I applaud all mums who stick with it . I honestly think that my failure began with the lack of care from the hospital but also lack of patience .
What are your experiences , breast milk or formula, how did you decide what was best for you?