"Breast Feeding versus Bottle Feeding"

About: Barnsley Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

The antenatal care i recieved prior to having my 2 babies in 2004 and 2006 at Barnsley Hospital was on the whole excellent however there was one area that, even now, 18 months on has left me with the feeling of being poorly treated. This is around the issue of breast feeding vs bottle feeding.

Even prior to pregnancy with my first child I knew all of the benefits of breast feeding and would endorse it as the preferred method of feeding a new baby however I knew that for a number of reasons I was going to have difficulty breast feeding. This caused me a lot of anxiety in the early stage of my first pregnancy. I took the decision that I would bottle feed.

Following that decision I had a number of difficult conversations with midwives about making this decision. It appeared that midwives were only allowed to promote breastfeeding and not allowed to talk to me about bottle feeding at all.

At antenatal classes I was told that they could only show the video on breast feeding as they were not allowed to show me one on bottle feeding. I remember watching the breast feeding video quietly sobbing at the back of the class in the dark. I was left feeling totally inadequate and that the decision I had taken was the worst thing in the world.

When I had had my baby I had to work out how to bottle feed him myself. I know its not rocket science but it would have helped knowing that the midwives were allowed to provide me with advice. I avoided asking them and asked my mum instead!

I now have 2 health children who have thrived on bottle feeding but I still feel strongly about the way breast feeding is promoted at the exclusion of bottle feeding.

I know that this is a nation wide policy not just Barnsley and do not consider Barnsley Hospital midwives to be at fault. I would like to see a national recognition that there are some mothers who can not breast feed and develop policy that allows them to feel comfortable and well informed about bottle feeding.

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Response from Patient Opinion

Thank you for telling us about your experiences, it sounds like you had a difficult time. You can get more advice on breastfeeding support, from La Leche League and their magazines.
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