My Five Breastfeeding Mistakes

29 January 2018

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All throughout my pregnancy with Little A I knew that I wanted to breastfeed not because of what is fuelled down our throats 'Breast is best' but because everyone around me had successfully breastfed their children and I wanted to give it a go, I myself was breastfed for three years.

I liked the idea of mother's milk containing anti bodies and the fact that it changed overtime to suit your baby, baby has a cold, the milk would change to help her, it's summer so the milk would turn watery to accommodate baby's thirst and so much more - what more could I want for my baby! I won't go into more details of the benefits of breastfeeding as we hear it all the time.

Nevertheless, na├»ve old me prodded along the pregnancy without doing any research into breastfeeding. It never crossed my mind that I should because breastfeeding is a wonderful and natural experience, you just pop the baby on and that's it! This is a mistake or what I prefer to call a  sin that I committed which I regret till this day and I know I probably will till the end of time.

By the end of this post, you probably think I am the most stupid person in the world but regardless of what you think I want to share my experience with you all because if any of you or anyone around you intend to breastfeed the little ones, you don't make the same mistakes that I did.

So here goes... this is long so go and grab a cup of tea and a biscuit first!

Little A and I didn’t have the best of beginnings, she had a 4 day neonatal stay and I was left disabled unable to visit (you can read the details here). Due to her Jaundice even when I was at the hospital with her I was told by the Doctors that she needed formula to help her otherwise such and such can happen. With her being my Rainbow baby and being already poked with needles and drips, my mind took a u-turn for the negative and I just said ‘you obviously know better than me, just help her get better please,’.

Even though, I now know that some breastfed babies who end up with Jaundice don’t need formula at all, they just need time - I still don’t regret my decision on agreeing to give her formula at NICU because I just wanted to avoid the worst case scenario.

I still had the intention to breastfeed.

When I had been at the hospital I thought I was doing well because feeding her did help get her sugar levels up but I guess the jaundice and me being ordered to go home hindered our journey from the very beginning.

Little A came home on 28th February and I fed her all night, she wouldn’t settle and I thought my milk wasn’t enough, it was only day 4 so maybe it hadn’t come properly so ended up giving 30ml of formula that the hospital had given.

MISTAKE No1!


The baby needs to suck, suck and suck to send a message to your body to make milk! It didn’t matter if my milk hadn’t come in or not, this is somewhat how most new breastfeeding mums feel in the first few days as it’s difficult but you need to persevere.

The next day Little A was weighed and she had dropped weight slightly which is expected of all babies and I made the decision to ditch the formula and exclusively breastfeed regardless of whatever the situation.

One of the signs that your baby is getting milk is baby having regular wet and dirty nappies which she was so we had a nothing to worry about. Come Monday, 6th March, day 10, I had a visit from the Health Visitor and I happily gloated that I had been exclusively breastfeeding for the past few days. Little A was then weighed and the Health Visitor was not happy - Little A had not lost weight but her weight had stagnated. I was advised that I had to give her 20ml top ups of formula after breastfeeding her. So that's what we did.

MISTAKE No2!

Little A was only 10 days old! Most babies do not regain their birth weight in this time, especially breastfed babies.

I was then visited by the Midwife and was told to continue with the Health Visitor's advice, I was also told that Little A's weight would be checked again on a certain date and if she hadn't regained her birth weight then she would be referred to the hospital. Hearing this, alarm bells began ringing in my ears at the thought of Little A being hospitalised again, being separated from her again, her getting poked and prodded again - so in order to avoid this we continued with the advice.

MISTAKE No3!

We were not just helping her to regain weight by topping up with formula after feeds, we were stretching her little stomach.

Little A regained her weight and I again expressed my wish to exclusively breastfeed. I was told to stop all the top ups straightaway and just breastfeed and her weight would be checked again in three days.

MISTAKE No4!


Stopping all the top ups straightaway was not the right advice, this should have been done gradually to get Little A used to it. In those three days, I breastfed and she went through a growth spurt and was feeding all the time. I kept hearing, 'maybe she wants the formula,' ' she's still hungry' ' she's not getting enough milk,' to the extent that I began to resent feeding her but I still persevered.

Along came the Midwife and weighed Little A - again, her weight stagnated. She was nor gaining or losing weight, it was just stuck. Little A was checked for tongue tie and her latch that I thought should have been better was said to be absolutely fine.

By this time, I had lost all confidence in myself, I was given leaflets of times and places of breastfeeding cafes that I could attend. The health professionals, GP, Midwife and Health Visitor all knew that I could not walk, I was not offered a home visit by a breastfeeding counsellor which I now know could have happened. It was not investigated why she wasn't gaining weight, I was asked if I had a breast pump and when I said that I didn't I was told that it didn't matter.

MISTAKE No5!

I should have been told that it did matter! I now know that women in my situation who might be effected with low supply pump after each feed to help increase it. The formula top ups could have been top ups of expressed milk. Instead I was told that babies are clever and manipulating human beings and that Little A was craving formula.

I then made the difficult decision to combine feed, for weeks this was all over the place but eventually turned into three bottles a day so Little A was still getting majority of breast milk. Her weight gain was brilliant but of course that wasn't just down those three bottles because babies cannot survive on just three feeds a day, it was my milk that was helping her.

But I still had a lack in confidence, low self esteem, began to feel like a complete failure because I couldn't exclusively breastfeed when things could have been really different for us and it is sad that feeding has overshadowed our first year.

I knew that when babies began solid foods they gradually and slowly dropped milk feeds. So I decided that if she did drop a feed it'd be a bottle if it were a breastfeed I'd swap it the other way around. I can confirm that now at 11 months and 5 days old, Little A no longer has any bottles it is just breastmilk and solids. I do feel proud of us both that we managed to make this big change when all along I was getting told that babies who are combine fed end up rejecting mother's milk and prefer the bottle as that is much easier. However, Little A, always preferred me compared to the formula.

I just want to make a few things clear, I have nothing against formula feeding because I have experience of both I actually salute those mothers who do formula feed their babies because it is such hard work! Sterilising, making up the bottles especially in those first few weeks when babies are very unpredictable and have no routine whereas now that I just breastfeed I don't have to make Little A wait, I don't have to worry about having all the right feeding equipment in my bag when we go out. I don't have to get out of bed when she wakes up for a feed in the middle of the night!

A month or so ago, it was on the news that new mothers in certain areas would be getting incentives such as vouchers to encourage them to breastfeed their children - I just wanted to say that I find that very shameful because the low breastfeeding rates in this country is only because the support is lacking. Health professionals complain about the low rates but are the ones to quickly suggest formula to mothers like me.

According to the NHS website, breastfeeding is quite popular in this country - around 75% of mothers begin breastfeeding and at around three months old 17% are still exclusively breastfed. What happened to the rest of 58% of mothers who began breastfeeding? Something to think about!

*~*~*

Before I say goodbye I just wanted to add that I am not a medical professional, I have only just put forward my experience, if you do find yourself in a similar situation as me - do your research and ask for help and make the decision that is right for you and your baby because at the end of the day, a happy mummy equals to a happy baby.




Rhyming with Wine
Letters to my Daughter

10 comments

  1. I love all accounts on breastfeeding. Thanks for sharing your mistakes and also to support moms who make a different choice <3 #BlogCrush

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    1. At the end of the day, fed is best! Thanks for stopping by x

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  2. Really valuable post! It is amazing to me how many health care professionals offer such bad breastfeeding advice, it's not surprising that mums give up, especially if they are not confident and trust the bad advice rather than seeking out knowledgeable experts and other mothers who have fed successfully. Well done for persevering! #BlogCrush

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    1. I got better advice on Breastfeeding on social media rather than from health professionals! That’s something to think about! Thanks for stopping by x

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  3. This is so annoying! Why were you given so much bad advice and support. I am a health care professional, working in paediatrics. Well done you for persevering, despite no help from the professionals! #BlogCrush
    https://meandminimees.wordpress.com/

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  4. Oh it's so frustrating hearing mums go through such unnecessary stress and difficulty because of poor advice from medical professionals. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, but you did really well to stick at it, well done!! #BlogCrush

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  5. I was desperate to breastfeed my babies but, like you, kept getting told by the health professionals that I should be giving formula. Thankfully, I had a very good friend who was a midwife and she encouraged me to keep going with the breastfeeding and to ignore the professionals. But you are so right - the support for breastfeeding mothers is shocking. It's such a difficult skill to master and so hard to keep going when everyone is giving you mixed messages. Congratulations on keeping going - it sounds like you're doing a great job and I'm so glad to hear that Little A is thriving now #blogcrush

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  6. This is a really interestimg read - I'm going through similar myself in that my baby had low blood sugar and was given formula which I would rather he hadn't but you do just tend to do as you're told, especially when you've just had a baby! We are doing better with breastfeeding now so hooing it continues #dreamteam

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  7. Oh how frustrating for you, I know how this can feel and it's annoying there isn't more supoort out there #dreamteam

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  8. What a shame! It seems to me you were not supported appropriately or given the right information regarding your little one's wight gain and loss and also about breastfeeding. It really is a shame and very unfortunate that it still happens. Thank you for sharing with #StaycLassymama

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