So it is currently National Breastfeeding Week and it has been filling up my social media feeds constantly and of course that is a good thing! No mum should feel she can’t feed her child in public or have to hide away, especially not in a god damn toilet that infuriates me. It is completely natural albeit sometimes difficult thing for women to do. What I have liked about the posts some from my family and some from my friends is that every one struggles with something different! Be it the physical side or the mental side of breastfeeding. It has made my non breastfeeding journey seem just as important.
Yes I am writing a post about breastfeeding and I didn’t do it. Now that is not strictly true I was determined to breastfeed with Ra-Ra I bought books that allowed you to feel like the world is ending but offering proper solutions to the different reasons you could be struggling, went to the classes. I remember her being nestled up against my skin in our room waiting for the paediatric consultant to come and check to see if the tube leading to her stomach had fully developed as I had polyhydraminos with her but no gestational diabetes. We waited over an hour and my anxiety kicked in – what if she won’t feed? What if my milk hasn’t come through? I had her at 36+6 via c-section. Why won’t they just let me feed my baby? I was terrified she would starve.
It took until 9 pm for her to even latch on and she was born at 12:52 pm so if you can imagine my anxiety was bloody high and of course it hurt but I knew that would be the case. She stayed on for 20 minutes and I still don’t know if she got anything (my milk didn’t actually come in for a week after) 00Steve had to go home just after that which was awful I needed him with me to tell me I was doing alright and she was fine.
Throughout the night the midwives did their very best to help with my anxiety and get her to latch on again but she just wasn’t having any of it. I broke down in tears I just wanted my baby to be fed and to be healthy – it took us long enough to conceive to begin with. I asked a midwife if there was any formula she could have and she smiled and said of course. Even with the bottle she took her time to take the feed. I remember ringing 00Steve at 1 am telling him I couldn’t feed her and I was in hysterics and that he had to get formula.
The next morning he came in with powdered formula because no one told us it had to be pre made, so anxiety boom through the roof. I remember he said to me that it was okay, could I try again when my milk came through? If it didn’t work we would buy the formula anyway but at least I would know I tried. I thought that was fair especially as I wanted to breastfeed. By the time my milk came in she was settled in such a routine and he was enjoying being a part of her feeding so much that we didn’t bother trying again. In fact 00Steve did all of Ra-Ra’s night feeds from birth till she slept through the night at 8 months – for anyone thinking why did he do it? He used to finish work at midnight and couldn’t just sleep so he would do her feeds then I would wake him a couple of hours before he needed to set off so he could see her and I would sort his dinner out. Their bond is beyond amazing and it is truly beautiful to watch.
So roll on to being pregnant with Button anytime anyone asked if I was going to breastfeed – which might I add is NOT an acceptable question and even I have to reign myself in sometimes – I would feel sick with fear and shake. 00Steve only mentioned it twice, the first time was to ask me to keep an open mind until Button was here – fair enough I could do that, and the second was when he saw my reaction when I was about 7/8 months pregnant he just said you don’t want to breastfeed do you? I shook my head and he said he fully understood (well as much as a guy can) and that was that.
I often feel less than a real mum due to these awareness weeks, it is bad enough you get the mum’s who say “oh you were too posh to push?” and I have to smile sweetly and say no, I was at the risk of my bowel perforating, or I am chronically sick and couldn’t manage it. Which is especially hard as I wanted to try for a natural birth with Button. There shouldn’t have to be a breastfeeding awareness week because mum’s should never have been shamed for doing it in the first place!
To all the mum’s who are breastfeeding whether they find it hard or have gotten into their groove I salute you! To all the formula feeding or even tube feeding mum’s I salute you! Raising children isn’t easy and as long as we all empower each other it shouldn’t matter if our baby is breast, bottle or tube fed! None are better than the others and do you know why? WE ARE FEEDING OUR BABIES REGARDLESS OF THE METHOD!