Choosing to bottle feed 

Guest blogger: Marielle Frens

In this blog, I’d like to share with you my story and decision to bottle feed my two daughters. But first let me introduce myself! My name is Mariëlle, I’m 30 years old, and together with my husband I have two children, Vlinder, 5, and Bowie, 2. 

When I became a mother the first time, I was almost 25 years old and did not have many friends who had a child or children. I was unsure about a lot of things with my first daughter. Why is she crying? Why is she not sleeping? How much milk should I give her? How do I help her with stomach cramps? I think I had only two friends who already had a child, so I sent them messages regularly asking for advice and my mum also received quite a few questions from me. If I could talk to my ‘younger self’, I would tell her not to worry, that everything will work out. It always does!

Bottle feeding or breastfeeding?

When I was pregnant, I had already decided that I did not want to breastfeed. I can imagine that lots of women don’t even give breastfeeding a second thought and I am fully aware of all the advantages. I’ve also occasionally worried or felt guilty about the fact that I did not want to breastfeed. After all, ‘breastfeeding is the very best for your child’, right?

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Also normalize bottle feeding

You also read a lot in social media and magazines about the fact that breastfeeding needs to be normalised or about breastfeeding in public, that kind of thing. And I couldn’t agree more. But what I also think should be normalised is that some women choose to bottle feed. I can’t count the number of times I was asked – at the start of my pregnancy, when my daughter was born and right afterwards – why I didn’t breastfeed or didn’t even want to try it (midwife, maternity nurse, child health clinic..). I’m happy that I’ve always stuck to my decision to keep bottle feeding. 

You’ve given birth: now what?

Giving birth was quite a traumatic experience both times. It took a very long time with my first daughter, while the second time included an ambulance ride because it all happened so quickly. Both times after giving birth, we had to spend either a few days (first time) or an entire week (second time) in the hospital. It was a very long recovery and I was in a lot of pain. Both our little girls had to recuperate after birth. Bowie, our youngest daughter, went through a particularly dramatic birth, which included resuscitation, a drip and oxygen. This was a very intense experience for her. Choosing to bottle feed after giving birth gave me peace of mind. I could give them milk immediately and my husband or a nurse could also help out with feeding. It also meant that I could once again focus on myself when I needed to, such as after a gruelling night or when I was absolutely exhausted. It felt like my body was (and is, of course ;-)) mine again. 

Taboo or not?

I think that the taboo on bottle feeding is becoming a thing of the past. In fact, with my second daughter, I got fewer questions about it. I also think it’s different for every mum whether or not it makes you feel insecure. This may be related to age, your personality or how sensitive you are to other people’s opinions. But I do think it’s important to mention that I do not have anything against breastfeeding personally, but that it simply never felt right for me. 

So, dear mums, whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you’re doing a fantastic job, and remember that you’re always making the right decision for your child(ren). Don’t let anyone make you feel uncertain and do what feels best for you. 

With love,

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