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Parents Panel: Breast or bottle - which did you choose?

‘Being unable to breastfeed broke my heart. I ended up bottle feeding my babies behind closed doors.’

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AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. With that in mind, we’ve launched TheJournal.ie Parents Panel.

This week, we’re asking our panel about a big decision every parent faces: Breast or bottle – which did you choose?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

Being unable to breastfeed broke my heart
I was diagnosed with breast hypoplasia, which means I could not produce the volume of milk my babies needed to thrive. It broke my heart. Breastfeeding was all I ever wanted to do but it was a huge struggle with my first born and I knew I couldn’t go through it again. I ended up bottle feeding my two children behind closed doors because I was ashamed to feed them in public. In hindsight, the pressure was all in my own head to try to be what I considered ‘the best mum’ from day one.

- Denise

He latched on in seconds
Breastfeeding my first child was very difficult at first. He seemed hungry all of the time and was never satisfied. I had loads of worry and so many questions. My younger son latched on in a few seconds after birth and that was it. The second time so was much easier.

- Suzie Kelly

shutterstock_636352358 Source: Shutterstock/Liderina

I couldn’t face breastfeeding
While I was in the hospital having my eldest son, a woman on the same ward was going through agony trying to breastfeed her baby. It terrified me so much that I bottle fed him. I fully intended to breastfeed my youngest daughter, but I was ill after I had her, and by the time I’d even seen her she’d already had her first couple of bottles. Even without breastfeeding I still got the leaky boobs though!

- Denise Cumiskey

I was dreading the whole thing
I was absolutely dreading breastfeeding, even more than giving birth. I was really anxious about it. Would I feel like a cow? What would happen to my sexuality? How would I be able to feed the baby with other people around? Thankfully it all felt very natural in the end. I breastfed Tymek for 17 months, and he still gets one feed each evening before his bath.

- Marta Lisiecka

I breastfed, but I stopped too quickly
I started weaning Charlie off breastmilk at five months, using the one per week rule (drop one daily breastfeed every 5-7 days). Unfortunately it ended up being too fast of a pace for my body, leaving me in physical pain. It hurt to hold him or lift my arms and it was difficult to sleep. After Charlie’s last feed, I was engorged for another few weeks. With things going so smoothly up to then, it was not a nice way to end our breastfeeding experience!

- Kait Quinn

Breastfeeding twins was a challenge
Breastfeeding twins posed a challenge. One of our twins had low muscle tone and tongue tie making feeding very painful for my wife. Despite the challenges breastfeeding had huge practical advantages. When leaving the house we never had to prepare any feeds or think about how long we’d be gone – the food was always there on tap!

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- Ross Boxshall

shutterstock_479372179 Source: Shutterstock/Karunyapas

I ended up at the doctor’s in a mess
Breastfeeding worked fantastically until four months, when all of a sudden my milk just didn’t seem to be enough. A nightmare of a fortnight ended up with me at the Doctor in a mess, and I was told I needed to stop breastfeeding for my health. We gradually changed to formula that week and I went back to having a content baby who was thriving and sleeping the night .

- Riona Flood

Looking back, I regret stopping breastfeeding when I did
I breastfed all four of my babies. My eldest two were breastfed until they were between three and four months, and then we moved on to formula. I was quite young then and really wanted to get back to being able to go out for a drink on the weekends. This is ultimately why we decided to switch to formula so soon. I really regret that decision now looking back, and with my youngest two, I breastfed them both until they were nine months.

- Susannah O’Brien

I never felt hunger and thirst like I did while breastfeeding
I breastfed our son for 13 months. It was just so handy. Wherever he was hungry, he could be fed.  It was always the right amount and at the right temperature. For my part though, I never felt hunger and thirst like I had when was breastfeeding.  Everyone in the house knew not to eat the last of anything. A post-partum, hormonal, breastfeeding, sleep-deprived lunatic was someone they didn’t want to tackle!

- Olly Keegan

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More from our Parents Panel: How did you approach the ‘sex talk’ with your kids?

More from our Parents Panel: How did you wean your little one onto solid foods?

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