The Mummy Guilt of Bottle feeding

From the beginning of my pregnancy I pretty much knew that I didn’t want to breast feed. I know we’re all pushed towards breast is best but honestly for me, it’s just never appealed. It’s a little selfish but I always thought bottle feeding would just be easier and when people asked me if I would be breast-feeding or not, my answer was always “I don’t know”. I guess part of me was ashamed of wanting to say “no straight away so I always tried to hide it.

mummy guilt of bottle feeding

When you go to Midwife appointments the mantra is always breast is best and I when I first saw a midwife at my booking appointment this was most definitely shoved down my throat. I didn’t even have a chance to say anything more than “I don’t think…” before she’d spun around and shoved that mantra back down my throat. She was my first impression of midwives and it really made me anxious for the next 9 months ahead, especially since I had it pretty strong in my head on how I wanted to feed my child. Luckily as the appointments went on I ended up only seeing one midwife who made the whole experience for me a hell of a lot more enjoyable but from that very first appointment I felt nervous to bring up the fact that I didn’t want to breastfeed. I know it’s natural and amazing for your baby to have but at the end of the day, it’s my body, my decision and I didn’t appreciate the judgement for not wanting to do it.

Eventually I decided to attend a breastfeeding ante-natal class to make sure that I was fully informed before deciding what I wanted to do and I was actually disappointed that when asked they didn’t give a lot of information on how I should be bottle feeding safely. I know it’s a breastfeeding class but for a new-mum it’s all a bit confusing and it would have been nice for them to answer my questions without shutting me down completely. We all bloody know breast is best but if I’m not confident with that then surely the message should just be fed is best? I was torn and even with the relationship I had with my midwife I still didn’t feel confident in voicing my opinion on not wanting to feed my baby myself. I toyed with both ideas for months never knowing what I should do but deep down knowing exactly what I wanted to do and eventually my decision was an easy one.

Unlike a lot of people (or so I’ve heard) my milk didn’t start coming in whilst I was pregnant. I tried my best to try and pump my boobs to start stimulating them and see if anything would happen but I didn’t get a single drop of milk / colostrum even once. After my 37 hour labour (which you can read about in my labour and delivery story) and it came to breastfeeding it just wasn’t really happening. Luckily, during my labour I had two really amazing midwifes that actually encouraged me to make my own mind up and a decision that I would be happy with; they didn’t deter me from bottle feeding and when I said I didn’t think I wanted to breastfeed they were completely indifferent. I genuinely thought that it would be like that first appointment all over again and I was really pleasantly surprised to have not had the added pressure when I was trying to give birth. Believe me, when you’re trying to push a watermelon out of your va-jay-jay, thinking about breast feeding really isn’t your main priority.

the mummy guilt of bottle feeding

I tried getting Madison to latch on for all of ten minutes and although my midwife (a different one to the two I had whilst in labour) helped me for the first couple of minutes, I was so scared of holding her wrong and so bloody exhausted after being awake for two days straight (and you know, pushing a baby out of my body) that I just didn’t have it in me. I was done and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I gave up after not really trying and asked for a bottle. One was brought to me without any questions, any judgement and I felt so relieved and happy that my baby girl was being fed that I didn’t feel guilty about not giving Madison the goodness of my breast milk. She was being fed and that was all that mattered.

I didn’t even look back at my decision of bottle feeding over the next couple of days and didn’t try expressing (which was something I’d toyed with the idea of) and as my milk barely came in, I’m really glad I didn’t attempt to. My milk disappeared within a couple of days and after about 3 or 4 days Madison was regularly drinking from her bottle happily. I was so happy with the way everything was going and within 3-4 weeks she was pretty much sleeping through the night, heading to bed at around 10pm and waking at 4/5am for her first bottle of the day. By 6 weeks she was doing a full 11 hour stint from 9.30pm-8.30am and apart from a couple of poorly weeks, she hasn’t really faltered on that since.

My decision for bottle feeding isn’t one that I’ve ever regretted as by that 6th week we were in a routine with her and I’ve been getting a full nights sleep (soz to any new mums with babies who aren’t sleeping). She’s happy, she’s growing really well and more importantly than anything: she’s really healthy! The one issue I’ve had over the last few weeks is the Mum Guilt I’ve felt for not ‘giving her that best start in life’ that we’re told breastfeeding does. I see other Mum’s out and about breastfeeding or I go over to my friends houses and see them breastfeeding and I get jealous. I have a jealousy that I don’t even really deserve to have because I chose not to do this. I see mums struggle to breastfeed or see mums that are’t able to breastfeed when they really want to and I feel guilty for my jealousy. I am so happy with the way things are going but I also feel like I’ve missed out in a way and although thats 100% my fault, it sometimes really gets to me.

Bottle Feeding has been amazing for us though and with the ease of Steve also being able to feed her (or anybody for that matter), it’s been a lot easier for me to adjust to being a new mum and although I’ve felt jealous of other breastfeeding mums, I’m still unsure whether next time I’d still want to do it. I don’t know whether it’s just Madison or whether it’s the fact that we’ve been bottle feeding but Madison has been such an easy baby with sleeping and feeding and I don’t know if I want to risk that with another baby, especially with another child to run round after.

This post has been quite a ramble but it’s something that I’ve really needed to get off my chest. Hope you don’t mind.



the mummy guilt of bottle feeding






  1. March 1, 2018 / 7:00 pm

    Fed is always best but I know exactly how you feel, you know how bad my experience was so I totally get you xx

    • beky
      March 1, 2018 / 7:10 pm

      This is what I mean Alice, I don’t feel like I’m worthy of guilt because I chose not to breastfeed whereas you were pretty much forced to bottle feed and that must’ve been horrific… yet I still feel a little guilty even though I knew I never really wanted to do it. Xx

  2. March 1, 2018 / 9:52 pm

    Its so sad that people can’t just let others choose and be happy with their feeding choices. Not everyone is the same and not everyone feels the same. Seriously, so sad hearing new mums are being made to feel awful about their choices. You should always do what you think is best for you and your baby. In everything. xxx

  3. March 1, 2018 / 10:01 pm

    My midwife is so crap, she hasn’t mentioned breast feeding or a birth plan and I’m nearly three days over due.

  4. Erin
    March 1, 2018 / 10:37 pm

    I think guilt is something every new Mum struggles to deal with regardless of reason, if you aren’t feeling guilty about feeding you are feeling guilty over time, sleep, feelings, you name it – it is always there. And it never seems to go away. Although I believe breast is best – I do believe that it isn’t right for everyone, and it is completely up to the individual what is right for them. Madison is happy, healthy, growing and fed. That is all that is important. Feeling guilty over method of feeding is personal, babies have no preference, no judgement, Mum’s shouldn’t ever feel bad over it, especially not made to feel bad by others or society. Keep doing you lovely 🙂

    Erin || MakeErinOver

    • beky
      March 1, 2018 / 10:40 pm

      Thanks Erin! I always thought Breast was best but when it came to it something in me just knew I didn’t want it. Madison is very happy and very healthy and if she wasn’t then maybe I’d be in a different mindset about it all, but it’s worked for us and it’s only now looking back at the last 6 months that I don’t regret not giving her that ‘best start in life’ x

  5. March 2, 2018 / 12:20 am

    I’m glad you stuck to your decision! I always wanted to breastfeed but we had to combination feed and now we are just bottle feeding. But bottle feeding is so much easier and means we can leave our daughter with her grandparents if we ever need to. I totally agree that feeding your child is the most important thing – by breast or by bottle.

  6. March 2, 2018 / 8:19 am

    Ah sorry you felt this way, I have seen quite a lot of mom shaming recently and it is really terrible!

  7. March 2, 2018 / 8:58 am

    I think you have to do what’s right for you and baby…only you know as a mummy what that is!
    Em x

  8. Anna
    March 3, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    Such a lovely piece. You took he words right out of heart. Mum’s well being is considered an after thought once baby is born. It’s so important mum is in a healthy head space and given the support she needs especially in those first few weeks. Bravo and congratulations xo

  9. Stephanie H
    March 5, 2018 / 1:38 pm

    For me it was slightly different. I had a scary labour where there was that fear we could both die (although a quick Labour compared to yours it’s put me off going in for a second). Anyway all through my pregnancy I was all for breastfeeding, it was something I envisioned doing for 6 months.. alas my plan failed. First there was latch issues (stupid nipples) which led to using a nipple shield but then positioning was an issue, there wasn’t one where we were both comfy. I fought on though cause I kept telling myself it would get better, I mean I was still pretty messed up from labour and having a blood transfusion and still fighting the pain because in my head it was drummed in that “breast is best” and it was something I wanted to do. Finally after 4 days I was discharged and feeling a bit better but then chest pain set in (eventually diagnosed by GP as muscular caused by how I was positioned when breastfeeding) and on the first night of being at home at 3am I crumbled and sent my husband to go buy some formula. It was also the first time I used a dummy cause I couldn’t bare to listen to him scream waiting to be fed but I was in so much pain including down below that I physically couldn’t do it. When I mentioned to midwife next day about issues I was having she didn’t seem to be bothered that I was topping up with formula. Nor did she have any advice. I tried joining a support group but they were all like come to our meet ups and I was in no position for leaving the house. So after a few days of crying 24/7 and no sleep cause I was wracked with guilt and fear what other people might think I finally made a decision to pack it in and went full formula. At our 10 day check up I was told there was another reason I was in so much pain… my stitches had come away and I had an infection. He’s 6weeks and 4days and I’m still not better down there 🙁

    I guess what my story tells is that even if you’d wanted to do it, it doesn’t mean you could of. I realised most my guilt was because of what I thought others might think and what was supposed to be the best time of my life wasn’t. Since making the decision to bottle feed I’ve been able to enjoy my son, and his Daddy has been able to have that special time too. Am I gutted to not be breastfeeding, yes, especially when I have friends who can do it no bother and are still doing it 1 year on, but I’ve also accepted that shit happens and me and my son are alive and aslong as he’s being fed in some manner he’ll stay that way. Fed is best cause starving a child isn’t.

    I’m pleased to have found the bottle feeding support group. I just wish they had local ones where Mum’s who bottle feed can meet up and share experiences and advice.

    Also Happy Mum, Happy Baby (that phrase is true, cause since I’m not so down I’ve been able to notice how happy and content he is regardless of where his food his coming from)

    P.S Hope I didn’t ramble too much.

    • beky
      March 5, 2018 / 2:01 pm

      Thank you so so much for your comment. I’m so sorry you had so many issues and a bad time with breastfeeding but I’m glad you’ve taken to bottle feeding well and you and your son are both happy! Fed is best for sure! Xxx

  10. March 5, 2018 / 3:29 pm

    Not a mum yet but it really saddens me time and time again that people go out there way to shame wonderful mums such as yourself – you should be proud of yourself for doing what is best for you both and for sticking to your guns x

  11. Alice
    March 5, 2018 / 4:17 pm

    Just out of curiosity why were you so certain you wouldn’t want to breastfeed? Had you seen others have a bad experience (I had no idea what breastfeeding would feel like before my daughter was born – but maybe I just wasn’t well informed.)

    • beky
      March 5, 2018 / 4:20 pm

      Honestly I don’t know. When I found out I was pregnant and knew I had decisions to make I just had an overwhelming urge to not breastfeed.. I’ve seen a few people struggle but a lot of people really thrive and I’m not too sure why I just didn’t want to do it x

  12. Alice
    March 5, 2018 / 9:05 pm

    Interesting, I always assumed I would breastfeed as my mother did and most people I know had……. but I didn’t have strong feelings about it either way, just thought I would give it a go. Luckily it worked out – I know it can be hard but when it isn’t hard, it’s so convenient! Especially when out and about or travelling.

  13. March 7, 2018 / 7:40 am

    Such a great post. I think doing what fits your life and keeps baby happy is the best outcome whatever it might be.

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