It feels like everyone has an opinion about the best way to feed your baby, but ultimately it’s down to two people: you, plus that adorable little creature who calls you mum (even if for now, “mum” sounds very much like “wah!”). Since your baby is merely of the opinion that they would quite like to be fed right now, thank you very much, that leaves you to do the research about how you want to do it – and then question everything you’ve learned when you’re actually presented with a hungry newborn.
Whether you’re breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, combi-feeding or currently weighing up the options, there are a few little secrets we’d like to let you in on, in association with our friends at MAM, who want to make everyday life with your baby that bit easier…
1. There are lots of ways to bond
It’s true that breastfeeding helps to create a lovely bond, but many of the reasons for this are less about the milk and more about the fact that there’s an adorable snuggly baby in your arms. If you struggle to breastfeed or just decide it’s not for you, it doesn’t mean your baby is missing out. Cuddles are bonding. Carrying your baby close to your chest is bonding. Making silly faces at them while they lie in their pram is bonding. Binge-watching This Is Us while they snooze on your shoulder is bonding. And all of it is equally lovely in its simplicity. You are their whole world, and that’s the case whether they have a bottle or a boob in their perfect little mouth.
2. There’s no “easy way”
Both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding have their pros and cons. The biggest two challenges? If you breastfeed, it’s tricky to leave your baby with anyone else – even for a very short time in those early weeks and months, since newborns have no respect for normal meal-times. And if you bottle-feed, you have to carry more stuff around, actually get out of bed at night to prep the milk and generally be a bit more organised than just owning a boob or two. TLDR: Having a baby is hard!
One way to get the best of both worlds is to give expressing a go – and MAM’s 2in1 Single Breast Pump is a great route in, combining the benefits of both electric and manual pumps, packed away in one neat device, it’s the Mary Poppins bag of the breast pump world. Enabling you to build a stash of breastmilk to use whenever you need. Now you can enjoy that window of freedom – or sleep! – it brings you.
3. ALL mums are tired
Motherhood can feel like the fatigue olympics, and if it’s not your partner you’re being competitively sleep-deprived with, it’s other mums, and everything – from the way you feed your baby to your work situation – can feel like it has an exhaustion allowance attached to it. But tiredness can’t actually be measured (OK, it kind of can, which is why we strongly recommend removing your smart watch at night since no good can come from knowing you’ve averaged 3 minutes of deep sleep for the past six weeks…). Instead, let’s just accept that we’re all knackered because being suddenly responsible for another human (and all the ensuing hormonal madness) will do that, however they’re being fed.
As the months wear on and your eyebags grow eyebags, you’ll look for anything that can help take the edge off and MAM’s Night Time range of soothers and cups could do the trick. They gently glow at night making it easier to find your LO when they are catching their Zzz’s so you and your partner can get yours.. But what can we moan about then…?
4. In time, this will all be a distant milky memory
If your friend makes a typo on Instagram, you don’t roll your eyes and say “she was probably bottle-fed”. When you’re in the thick of it, though, the way you feed your baby is all-consuming – that’s because your body knows you’ve just given birth and have an important job to do – but as they grow up, new dilemmas will pop up with alarming frequency (when to wean? When to potty train? Which schools to apply for? Should you let them go out wearing that?). All those sleepless nights feeding and burping and jiggling ad nauseum will be a very hazy memory.
For the time being though, this is it: keeping your baby fed and happy is everything. It’s an exciting time, but can be a tricky one too. If you have questions or concerns, MAM’s expert advisor Katie Hilton is your woman; she’s a nurse, midwife, health visitor and mum who knows everything about feeding – and she’ll be hosting a Mush virtual meet-up on Tuesday at 11am. Bring your baby, bring your boobs, bring your bottle: no judgement here.
This week’s content is brought to you by our friends at MAM. For over 40 years, MAM has been developing products that are unique in design and function. Our products are the result of intensive teamwork between medical experts and designers. This means MAM products support the individual development of every child and make everyday baby life easier, so parents can feel confident and babies can feel good.