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Why Bottle Wasn't Best For Me

This is a parody based upon a recent article in the Daily Express (click here to read)

I DID a double-take when I saw this picture in 2010 of a four year old Suri Cruise having her bottle. The little girl was old enough to make herself a sandwich so for me it was shocking to see she was still using a bottle!

Of course the photo is deliberately provocative, designed to add to the heated debate among mums who bottlefed from a few weeks or months, those who believe in bottle feeding from birth (so-called "detachment" parents) and people like me who breastfed all my children.

Many mums feel under enormous pressure to bottle feed after the first few months but now I’m concerned they’ll feel that four years is the new standard.

Meanwhile the pro- bottlefeeding lobby is now so vociferous that mothers can sometimes forget there is a choice.

I’d like to tell any panicked new mother feeling the pressure from doctors, nurses, parenting groups and other mums that, as a bottlefeeding refusenik, my tall, smart, healthy children are my evidence that the sky doesn’t fall in if you never use a bottle.

I delivered my babies in the noughties but I wasn’t keen on the idea of bottlefeeding, even though health professionals I met were.

Breast milk substitutes were discussed as though they had magical properties (too small, too big, too awake - formula can apparently solve everything!). My GP told me there was no value to breastfeeding after a few months, and they bonded better with their dads when they could feed them too.

Twenty-odd years later I know that the bonding part is rubbish.  Their dad could not love our four more or be closer to them than he is. Not feeding them as infants has nothing to do with that. I got off lightly for choosing breast over bottle compared with today’s women who are emotionally clobbered for making others feel bad or grossed out if they opt to breastfeed whenever, wherever.

A neighbour with a newborn baby who didn't want to bottle feed recently said she felt she’d lost the Baby Olympics because other mums in her post-natal group were so competitive about how much weight their babies were gaining, how many people could feed them and how long they slept.

Some implied, with raised eyebrows and hard stares, that she was being selfish by exclusively breastfeeding and that perhaps she should think again and at least express to introduce a bottle "just in case" or so dad could at least do one feed per day. The prevailing view is that good and selfless mums introduce a bottle and bad, selfish (hardcore, militant) ones don’t.

When I gave birth to my first baby I wondered if after delivery a wave of hormones would flood through me, make me doubt giving my baby milk of his own species and make me choose to bottlefeed after all. It didn’t.

To be blunt, formula feeding uddermilk from hairy cows wasn't my style.

The night my son arrived I was instantly besotted and declared he was going straight on the breast - after all other body parts are most definitely multi functional, why are breasts any different? I wanted him to have the real thing not a replica, which is why I also ruled out mix feeding.

As a first-time mum I loved the closeness of feeding my new baby. My husband and I both planned to work full-time after the birth and so we maximised sleep for everyone by having baby in a side car cot, he made meals to feed me whilst I fed the baby!

My theory at the time was that the burgeoning “bottle is a must” lobby was created by formula manufacturers who wanted to exploit parents to make billions.

Dad did the bathing, soothing and cared for us both and I liked that. What a joy to see granny and grandad happily snuggling their grandchild. I confess that when they were busy with baby I took the time to enjoy long baths and daytime naps. After the very early days the following months were a breastfeeding breeze.

Just 18 months after the arrival of baby number one I was pregnant again and this time with twins.

Midwives and health visitors were eager to explain to me that I would never make enough milk to feed two babies! I was having none of it. The prospect of the amount of work involved with bottle feeding twins rather than just popping them on the breast made me feel quite ill.

When my milk came in after the twins were born I suffered breast engorgement (which is normal whether you use it or lose it). The swelling started just beneath my collar bone and my breasts looked like miniature barrage balloons - I quickly put my babies to my breast and the relief was instantaneous.

Our house was happy and peaceful when my children were small and I believe breast feeding played a part in that. I was never stuck having to make up feeds with crying babies at 3am (have you seen the guidelines from the DOH?!) or trying to hold a plastic bottle to feed while the other vied for my attention, I always had one hand free. The toddler would snuggle up on my lap with the new arrival, stroking them tenderly.

I know all the hard facts about breastfeeding being the normal food for humans. However when breastfeeding is established it is about so much more than calories, the oxytocin hit is the ultimate relaxant. Far from being selfless I love the convenience, and the knowledge he is receiving immunological factors that will impact on his body and lifelong health  The alternatives simply lack thousands of constituents that can be found in same species milk, and new mums should be free to make their bottle or breast choice without judging or being judged (or compared to farmyard animals).


  1. LOL Hubby said, "On the evolutionary scale, I'd rather be a primate than a bovine." :)

  2. Love it!!!!
    Your parody is making so much mor sense than the original.

  3. Am i missing something? I wasn't able to breast feed my son due to medication i had to take and still feel the loss at not bein able to. I felt judged by the professionals- couldn't find anything out about formulas- and also a sense of judgement from other breast feeding mums- the exact opposite of ur article. To be slated like this in your article and called selfish- and all the pitfalls of wot my child missed out on- why do you have to do that and not just accept different strokes for different folks wthout puffing urselves up and seeming superior! Live and let live!

    1. This article is in response to another article which attacked full term breastfeeding... Its not personal or aimed at you. Read the original article (linked in purple above photo of Suri Cruise) and you will understand the motive of this writer!!

    2. Yes, you're missing the first line of the article!
      " This is a parody based upon a recent article in the Daily Express"

      Read the original.

    3. This reply from Melanie appeared in my inbox, but hasn't appeared in the comments for some reason:

      Dear Ellilee
      I am so sorry that you were unable to breastfeed. Almost all mums can, even those on medication - but that's only when they are given enough support, information, and empowered to do so. In practice, breastfeeding can feel unachievable for many, many modern mums.

      But unachievability that doesn't change the facts; breastfeeding is better, and formula is worse. We can't and we won't alter this reality. No amount of technology will change our biology.

      You mention "judgement" and "shame". And the feeling that others perceived you as "selfish". And you go on to urge non-judgemental attitudes. This seems like a really important point to me, and I agree with you: It feels awful being judged, and I too feel judged by others and hate it. The problem and the dilemma and the reason judgement creeps in so easily in parenting decisions is that our decisions and actions as parents impact our children so strongly. They impact us, too, and they also are important for the whole of society; but our babies are especially vulnerable, and especially strongly impacted.

      Judgement creeps in whenever we are debating and deciding our future actions. We need self-judgement: reflexivity helps us make better decisions; but we also need to consider different options as modelled by others. That requires judgements.

      I can't see the problem with commenting on the significance and importance of breastfeeding. Nor can I see the problem with talking about our experiences, good and bad. But we can only talk about ourselves. We can't comment on you, or on our children, or anyone else. We can only talk about ourselves, our own decision making, our reflections on the impact of those decisions.

      How you choose to react to these accounts is up to you. You may choose to feel judgement - and if I commented on how you "should" parent there would be a judgement. But if I am expressing my own experience, I am not judging you.

  4. I realise this is a parody - but it is so close to the truth! So many of us feel under huge pressure to bottle feed our older babies and stop breastfeeding our toddlers....

  5. I just have to point out that Suri's bottle is clean & empty. People have assumed she was still drinking from a bottle. We don't know this to be the case. Good article though :)

  6. It's not clean and empty in image? It's the brand of bottle that has the bag in which can be seen?

  7. I loath people who decide to make breastfeeding mothers feel uncomfortable. Period. I have 2 kids one is 10 the other 5 months and they are both booby babies. I had my 2nd full on natural for her health, I'll be ****** if someone makes me feel bad for breast feeding her. O.o