Bonding with Bottle Feeding

There are a lot of people out there that will scream and shout from the roof tops that ‘breast is best’.  In many ways they aren’t wrong.  It’s the most nutritious way to feed your baby, there is no formula that can truly match your own, well balanced, tailor made breast milk.

I am not one of the people that sing from the roof tops.  I am not anti breastfeeding.  Far from it.  I often wish I could have done it for longer, but I couldn’t.

Pinky had tongue tie (a very bad tie) and it wasn’t cut until she was 10 days old.  If you aren’t sure what it is and how it effects feeding you can read more about it here.

To spare you the gory details, the pain was unbearable and there was an incident were I thought she’d ripped my nipple off, as melodramatic as it sounds it was that painful.  Then, to my delight, when Perky was born I very painfully discovered that this has left permanent scarring inside my boobs!  That wasn’t pleasant.

Once my little girl arrived into the world all I wanted to do was breastfeed.  I did not give it up lightly. Hubby will tell of the horrors he saw, the inconsolable wife and mother he tried to reason with, to get to stop putting myself through this.  It eventually took a very nice health visitor to make me realise that bottle feeding was the best thing for me and Pinky.  Breastfeeding simply wasn’t meant to be.

One of my huge concerns was bonding with my daughter.  Another thing people sing from the roof tops is that breastfeeding is the best way to bond with your child.  Well I can tell you sometimes it’s not!  I had been known to physically recoil at feeding time.  I knew the pain I was about to be in, I knew it was going to take ages for Pinky to get all she needed with her tongue tie reducing her suckle.  This torment stopped us bonding properly.

Bottle feeding helped us bond.

I understand this is just my story, I would never preach this as the best way to bond with you child but it was best for me.  I made the best of a bad situation, I found ways to make the bottle feeding as special as breastfeeding.  I would feed her 99% of the time, I very rarely let anyone else do it even though obviously they now could.  I would hold her really close and gaze into her eyes.  I couldn’t see her eyes breastfeeding and they really are beautiful.  I would stroke her forehead and cheeks, I would smile at her and she would smile back.  I would sit back and truly relax, I didn’t need to find the perfect position and hope that my back or shoulders didn’t start aching.  Whilst she was feeding we could shut the whole world out and concentrate on each other.


It took me a long time to realise that I hadn’t failed as a mother because I didn’t breastfeed past 12 days.  In fact, I excelled as a mother because I put my child’s needs first when all I wanted to do was something else.  Pinky deserved a happy, relaxed mummy.  Not a delirious crazy woman in so much pain she couldn’t think straight, not even mentioning the hormones!

Move on 2 years and Perky arrived.  She had the same 12 days of breastfeeding as Pinky and this was fully my choice.  I missed the eye gazing and cheek stroking.  This time she had a big sister to help and I let her.  We would hold the bottle together and both look into Perkys eyes.  Now we all have an amazing bond and although those first few weeks of feeding were not the only thing that built this bond they definitely helped.

Yesterday Pinky announced that her sister was her best friend, that’s the first time she’s said that.  I may have gushed a little.

If I could have breastfed for longer I would have.  Despite this I am proud of the choices I made because they were the right choices for my family.  My biggest regret is that I didn’t realise this sooner.  I have no photos of me feeding my daughters either breast or bottle.  Now, I wish I did.

This post originally appeared on MeetOtherMums where I am proud to be a regular blogger.

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  1. This is such a heartfelt post and I can really feel your pain in those early days of wanting to do the ‘right’ thing. My best friend went through torture and needed counselling to get over not being able to breast feed, mainly as a result of the health authorities going to extremes to get her to ‘push on through’ the pain (try this, try that. Well have you tried…) It’s enough to send any new mum over the edge, for no valid reason. As you know, I couldn’t breastfeed either due to having had a double mastectomy prior to having kids. I don’t know any different, but know that both me and my husband were able to bond with both our babies with a bottle. Breast isn’t always best for everyone and all our kids are thriving regardless. Thanks so much for sharing your experience – I’m sure it’ll be a great comfort to many new mums who just can’t get away with breast feeding.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. It was hard. I don’t even know how you coped with it all. The mastectomy is such and added dimension.
      I know many of the midwives in my area are getting less forceful on the subject, they did a survey with me after Perky was born asking about the breastfeeding care so I told them how I felt…. They got it all, two smoking barrels. I suspect I wasn’t the only one.
      I admire anyone who can breastfeed and stick at it. I just wish it wasn’t worn as a badge of honour for some. X

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