Mama Chat Monday With Anna Junghenn.
Meet Anna, A mother of two soon to be four in March. Anna approached me to share her journey and I'm am so pleased she has, Thank you for your openness and honesty, for answering the questions and for sharing your journey. I'm sure many mothers will find comfort in your story and I hope it also opens other peoples eyes as to how it can be for some mothers. Anna will sure to have some newborn twin spam early next year to follow her head over to @justusjunghenns.
Tell us the first word that comes to mind when you think of your feeding journey?
I have a couple. The first being "Depressing" and then second being "stressfree".
2. What best describes the way you feed your child/children?
My 1st child was breastfed for the first 10 weeks before going to formula, my 2nd child was on formula the day we got home from the hospital and I plan to put the twins (Due in March) straight on to formula as well.
3. Did you ever feel embarrassed bottle-feeding or breastfeeding in public?
Yes and No... Initially I was embarrassed that I had chosen to give up on the breastfeeding journey and switch to formula, I hid the fact that I was formula feeding for weeks - mainly due to the stigma against formula feeding and the pressures to breastfeed - from not only professionals but at the time, what felt like everyone. I now have no problems at all saying I am a bottle mama, breastfeeding is not for me. You are always going to get strong advocates for 'breast is best' but as long as you know in your mummy heart that you have made the best decision for you and your baby, that's all that matters!
4. Are there any products that made your feeding journey easier?
Having a microwave steriliser was a game changer, so easy even hubby could do it haha, to be honest, i didn't really find any particular bottles that were better than others, it's just what works for you. The biggest thing I found (although not a product) was talking to other formula feeding mums and hearing all their tricks of the trade as there is not a lot of information around and I found that professionals were reluctant or unable to impart knowledge on formula.
5. If you could give a new mum once piece of advice what would it be?
Listen to your gut instinct, what you believe is best for you and your baby, will be the best! Everyone is on their own journey and their experiences and preferences will be completely different to yours.
6.Do you think mothers feel pressure from society regarding feeding? Yes/No If yes why?
Yes, the pressure is very real! For me, it felt like I wasn't given an option as to the different feeding options. Right from the start at my anti-natal class, it was discussed in depth about breastfeeding while formula or bottle feeding was completely pushed to the wayside because 'breast is best right?'. Surely in this day and age mums should be allowed to make informed choices by being told all about both options.
Then once I had made my decision to bottle feed, there was no-one to go to, to tell me how to choose what formula was best for my baby, that I needed to sterilise bottles or how long I could keep my made up formula before it needed to be tipped out - all of my findings were from 'Dr Google' and my lovely fellow formula feeding Sister in law.
The number of people who have in passing said 'oh its going to be interesting feeding two babies', 'you're going to be like a milking machine' is ridiculous - I am very straight up now and tell others right out that my babies are going straight on to formula. There has been a few raised eyebrows and questioning of my decision, when really would you question a mother on her decision to breastfeed?
7.What do Mum's need to do more of to support other mums?
I think we need to be more respectful of our fellow mums, don't make assumptions about each others feeding practices, and don't be judgemental when it comes to other mums choices on how to feed their baby because at the end of the day 'fed is best' and "a happy mum means a happy baby'!
I had a traumatic birth with my first baby, she wouldn't latch well to the breast and to be quite honest I hated the feeling of it. I persevered due to (what felt like) the pressures of my midwife and plunket nurse, I tried different feeding positions and nipple shields until I got to the point where I was a very unhappy mama, who was dreading hearing the cry of her newborn baby as that meant getting a boob out again. I was crying all the time, I dread leaving the house, I couldn't love my baby - I was having some major mummy guilts!
I made the decision to get some formula and give that a go, Paige took to the bottle straight away and I never looked back. When talking to my family and friends about this time they said my whole demeanour changed once I made this decision, I was back to my happy, go lucky self and all of a sudden I loved my baby, I was enjoying that special new born stage with my new baby... but alas that mum guilt was still hanging around and it was a few weeks before I actually came clean with my midwife and plunket nurse about swapping to formula feeding. They were both really understanding and shocked that I had felt I had to hide this decision from them when they were there to support me.
When it came to baby number 2, I had planned right from the get-go that she would get colostrum while I was in hospital and then straight on to formula. If I'm honest, I felt really judged while in hospital - the midwives came around with offers to help get Ruby to latch and I told them straight out that she was going to be on the bottle as soon as we got home, I then found I wasn't getting checked on as often as before (whether this was due to the fact it was my 2nd baby or to the fact I was bottle feeding I'm not sure). I was a very relaxed mum with baby number 2, it was a completely different experience to the first time round. so this is the feeding journey I will be taking with the twins when they arrive as well, my mental health is far too important to be messed around with, trying to run a household with two school-aged children and two newborns is going to be an interesting, possibly struggling time without compromising my own wellbeing.