When I was pregnant with Jasper my plan was to breastfeed. I bought most of the breastfeeding paraphernalia – pump, creams, heat pads, cooling pads… You name it, I probably had it. I was so set on breastfeeding that Kayne and I didn’t even look into formula and the different brands available. So, you can imagine that when Jasper was born and my milk didn’t come in, I was pretty upset about it. It became even worse when the midwives constant persistence was actually having an adverse affect on my baby himself, he would get so stressed out that his crying and screaming turned him purple – in turn, it stressed me out and I was a crying, babbling mess. It just didn’t help either of us, and bless him, Kayne was super supportive and anything the midwife advised he would go out of his way to help me out with. 

I remember one morning I woke up and for the first time my breasts were leaking… I was so excited that surely anyone would’ve called me a loony. That morning my midwife came over for one of Jasper’s routine house calls. I was really lucky that she was so helpful, understanding and supportive – she helped me with the latching on process and Jasper finally had a feed… it was short, but it felt like a true triumph. I really thought that we had broken the camel’s back, however, Jasper didn’t latch on again for the rest of the day and when I tried to pump barely 15ml came from both breasts. I tried giving him the breast milk in a bottle, but he spat it back out and then started throwing up. The next day he’d developed a few rashes. We called our midwife and she popped in, she suspected that he could be allergic to breast milk. It’s not a very common thing, but it can happen. She told us to continue trying him on the breast and advised me to go to a local breastfeeding club ran by the community midwives.

Please bare in mind that I am shamefully atrocious at meeting new people. I get nervous and the thought to be honest, well, it frightens me. However, I went to the breastfeeding club she suggested. When I got there all the mum’s were seated in a circle with their assets out and their babies latched on… and I just felt my insides shrivel, because I was already feeling self-conscious and the thought of getting my boobs out in front of complete strangers made my eyes sting with tears. I tried to sit as hidden away as possible, there were other mums like me (they were just as petrified) and there were pro mums (they’d come in with their older babies, some toddlers and they just wanted a refresher course). I gave it a good old try, the advice they gave me was exactly what my midwife had already given – so I didn’t feel like I gained much from it, and because I felt so awkward I didn’t even get an acquaintance out of it!

After that, Kayne and I decided that we would stick with, Aptamil, our preferred formula. We had been giving Jasper SMA, however, we found that he had the same reaction to it as breast milk, so we changed it to Aptamil. Please please please, understand that in no way am I endorsing Aptamil and in the same way I am not trashing SMA. This is what worked for Jasper, but I know babies that have had the opposite reaction. Finding the right formula for your baby can be a journey in itself, one thing that works for one child may not work for another – so, please just keep this in mind.

Sadly, for me breast wasn’t best. Jasper is a very bright and healthy little boy. We have never had any serious health issues with him and it may be because he is my son, but his intellectual development is incredible. He understands both English and Portuguese, and he has picked both up speaking wise too. So, in our case formula was not detrimental to our little man.

However, Phoebe is only a few weeks away and I have found myself talking about this with Kayne. I am going to give breastfeeding a good try again. I think that if I didn’t it would be silly. This time around though, I won’t be putting myself and my baby through all the stress and guilt of not going the breast milk route. I will try, and if she reacts the same as Jasper I will move on to formula.

I do believe that preparation can give you a better start, so I have been doing extensive research into what can aid milk production and supply. You can find the result of my research here. Keep in mind that I’m not a medical professional, and this is purely from experience. You should always consult your doctor or midwife.

I hope, that if you are a mum like me and you’re having trouble with breastfeeding, that this really helps you. Don’t feel guilty, don’t get stressed, and most importantly enjoy your new baby. 

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Marta Aguiar
Written by Marta Aguiar
I'm a mid twenties mummy living in North London, a graduate in English literature and creative writing from the university of Aberyswyth in Wales. I love to bake, cook, read and watch films, and love spending time with my little toddler, Jasper, and our new addition, Mylo. I blog about our family life and my general interests, with the odd guest blog from my partner, Kayne.