I find myself bombarded everyday with images of women breastfeeding. On social media, on the TV. Women claiming that they have the right to feed in public, that its the most wonderful thing in the world. That those who dont breastfeed are disadvantaging their children. Well folks. I wanted to tell you my own story. Because breastfeeding is the best thing for your child but frankly not everyone is able to feed and we shouldnt be made to feel inferior for it.
When Rue was born he went straight to the nursery due to a low temp and low blood sugar. I didnt get to see him for a full day. When i did he had been fitted with a nasal feeding tube because his nose had been compressed in the womb and he wasnt able to breath through it. This was a temporary problem that would right it self in a few days. Until then they had to start him on formula. Due to a traumatic labour i was bed bound for the first two days. Rue was brought to me on the evening of the first day and i tried to breastfeed him but he couldnt breathe and feed so wouldnt latch. I expressed into a syringe a few times a day which the nurses gave him before his formula.
On the third day i was aloud out of bed in a wheel chair so could only go and see him when my partner was in the hospital which was about 3 times a day. They gave me the use of their breastpump but i could only use it when i was in the nursery. I expressed about 10ml of colustrum each time. It was not much as due to my haemorrhage my body was busy trying to make blood rather than milk. The nurses said it was a really good effort to get that much in my condition. On the forth day he got his tube out and i tried him on the boob again. He could latch but wouldnt suck and quickly pulled away. On the sixth day we went home. I continued pumping with my home pump and got about 20-40mls each time in about an hour of pumping, It was time consuming and exhausting for my body which was still trying to heal. I tried to breastfeed him everyday but he now wouldnt latch and would scream every time i tried. After 2 weeks my supply had gone down to 20ml a day. I knew i couldnt keep it up. At three and a half weeks i packed the pump away. I felt terrible. I felt like i had failed my little man. Im nearly in tears now thinking about it. At one month i made one last effort and bought nipple shields thinking he might think it was his bottle. Nope. Hated them. So that was that.
My baby was happy, gaining weight and healthy. I had to accept that. Alot of women are in the same position as me. I have friends who were in tears daily because they couldnt breastfeed. They tried everything. Some went to clinics for weeks to try get their babies to feed. They ate special diets, lactation cookies, went on medication to increase supply. They battle masatitis and thrush. All because we have it drilled into us that we have to breastfeed. Well you know what. I think thats a horrible thing to do to new mothers. Its hard enough without laying that much pressure on us. Sure breast is best but if you cant, if its affecting your mental or physical health then we need to be accepting of formula. As mothers we should not pressure other mothers to breastfeed. We should be 100% accepting of formula feeding babies. Dont shove breast is best campaigns in our faces. Dont look pityingly at us when we tell you we formula feed. Dont tell me that statistically my child will be dumber than breastfed babies, dont tell me that he will be sickly because he didnt get my immunities. My baby is healthy and happy and there is NO benefit to making us feel like crap about a decision that we did for the health of our selves and our babies. The decision is hard enough without shoving breastfeeding guilt trips in our face everyday. I guess you could say that breast is best campaigns have actually gone one step too far. In trying to get us all to breastfeed they have alienated those who cant. Much like the feminist movement that gave us so many options but now its considered a controversial decision to be a stay at home mum. We have to justify a decision that used to be the norm.
So stop and think before judging. Even if you didnt mean it your words and actions can cut. And dont worry if you read this and think im talking about you, none of my friends do this, its mostly a side affect to being a member of mothers groups where there are alot of opinions floating around.