Hello and welcome back to another instalment of The Baby Feeding Series, that features real stories from real parents who have experienced how hard and baffling feeding your baby can be. I want this series to be a place where parents can share their own experiences in the hopes that other parents who are struggling can feel less alone. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but it's one of the most rewarding jobs too and so I want to share their stories.

I'm very excited to say that this week for The Baby Feeding Series we have the lovely Carly from This Crazy Mamma guest posting for us. I was so happy when Carly decided to get in touch asking to take part and share her bottle feeding story with her children. I couldn't help but fall in love with Carly and her experience as a bottle feeding mama, it's honest and to the point. I think that a lot of women who bottle feed their children will understand what to expect when it comes to it, but not everyone will see that many women go through a mixture of emotions when making such decision, thank you Carly for kindly offering to share your post.

Let's talk about my breastfeeding journey? I didn't breastfeed, both my girls had bottles.

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in....

I tried to feed them, really I did, but I can count on one hand the amount of times both my girls fed from me. With Hannah I had this rosy view that you had your baby, you stuck them on the boob and they fed (I know Haha me!) and obviously that didn't happen so she had pumped breastmilk for a month or so and then solely formula. With Ruby I tried, I really tried but after losing 9% of her birth weight and listening to her scream all night I did a midnight dash to Asda (in my pyjamas, as you do!) to buy formula. Again I pumped for as long as I could and then she too was solely on formula.

I always hear about Mum's saying how easy it is to breastfeed, no sterilising, making up bottles in the night (they have ready made milk for that you know!), how it's a great bonding experience, no one talks about the positives of bottle here it is!

* Mark helped with the feeds, he took her during the night to feed her and often did the first feed in the morning. He still does her bedtime bottle and the morning bottle - it's become their thing.

* Hannah was able to feed her, I am sure that this was a great bonding experience for her.

* I could leave Ruby to take Hannah to parties or pop into town without having to rush back to feed her.

* I didn't have to wear nursing bras.

* I didn't have to buy new clothes suitable for nursing

* I didn't have to find a suitable place to feed her, no smelly feeding rooms or feeling like I had to rush home.

* I didn't have sore boobs, cracked nipples or anything leaking at any given moment.

While I was upset I couldn't feed Ruby for us the benefits soon outweighed the negatives. Surely it was better that she was happy healthy and fed than us all being miserable and her being starving. Given that she has never been a great sleeper, the fact that Mark could do a few of the night feeds really took the pressure off.

I have been judged for bottle feeding. People are brazen enough to ask 'don't you breastfeed her?' or 'Don't you know the positives of breastfeeding?' and to begin with I didn't know what to say. Other people can be really unkind. Luckily I soon found my feet and simply replied 'No she is formula fed' it was no one else's business. I am a firm believer in Happy Mamma, Happy Baby and once I got over the realisation that I was never going to be a breastfeeding Mamma we have had a really positive bottle feeding journey.

Hannah had significantly less pumped breastmilk than Ruby and yet she is a happy, healthy, hardly ever ill, 7-year-old who is over achieving at school. Ruby who had more breastmilk, has a cold every other month and while she is still too young to tell if she is going to be a 'bright little button' she walked at 9 months so watch this space. What I am trying to say is you have to do what's right for you, for your baby and your family, don't get too hung up on the research that suggests your child will be healthier/brighter/happier being exclusively breastfed.

We live in a country which had formula milk readily available so why shouldn't we use it? and we shouldn't be judged if we CHOOSE to use it. Not all Mamma's want to breastfeed and some simply can't, so other Mamma's need to put the judgey stick down and let others do what's right for them.

As Ruby approaches her first birthday my bottle feeding journey looks to be coming to an end for good. I will miss watching Mark feed her first thing in the morning and last thing at night, I already miss cuddling her sleepy little body in the night for a quick feed. I will even miss washing up and sterilize the bottles. I will miss counting the scoops and wondering if I can get one more bottle out of the little bit left at the bottom of the tub and I will miss watching her little hands holding the end of the bottle while she drinks it. If we were to ever have another baby (not likely but you never know) I would save myself the stress and go straight for formula....and No Guilt Shall Be Given.

About Carly
Carly is a 30 year old working Mum of two, 7 year old Hannah and 1 year old Ruby. Who lives in Berkshire with her partner, Mark and our staffy Bailey. Carly blogs about all things parenting, day trips, fun activities and anything Mamma related. As well as being a blogger, Carly works in Health Visiting supporting Vulnerable Local families.
You can find Carly over at This Crazy Mamma
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