At the risk of turning this blog into a “Mummy Blog” I do want to post about the whole breastfeeding v bottle feeding debate. I was inspired to write about my experience after reading this post.
Pressure to Breastfeed
The pressure to breastfeed is ridiculous! I am fully aware that “breast is best” and whilst I don’t doubt that there’s medical research to support it, it isn’t always best for mother and baby. My belief is that when mother and baby are happy then that’s best for everyone.
Admittedly, prior to giving birth to my girl, I had fully intended on breastfeeding. In fact I couldn’t understand why women wouldn’t choose to breastfeed. However, soon after Little Miss’ arrival I finally understood why. Here’s my story…
Breastfeeding – My Story
I gave birth to my girl via c-section after 36 hours of non progressive labour. It was the worst thing ever! She did not want to come out! So when she did arrive, she (and me) were all drugged up! I couldn’t move due to the operation so I couldn’t even get out of bed to lift my baby to feed. Unfortunately I had to rely on nurses to attend to me. Luckily on the first night that I was the only one in recovery so we had full attention of the nurses on duty.
When I did try to breastfeed my girl wouldn’t latch on. She was too spaced out. The fact that the bed was uncomfortable didn’t help either. On the first night the nurses took her away to feed her some milk I’d expressed. Now that was painful! Not only were my boobs manhandled to get some expressed milk but I then couldn’t even watch her drink my milk. It was heartbreaking!
Trying My Best But Apparently That Wasn’t Good Enough
On the second day the drugs were wearing off and she was screaming. She wanted milk. But because she couldn’t latch on she wasn’t getting any. I had a nice midwife who did try to help me but I just felt awful that I couldn’t do it.
When she left for the day I then had a horrible bitch of a midwife who didn’t seem to want to be helpful and just made me feel awful. When I said I was having difficulty she actually said to me “you stupid girl”. Even thinking back now it makes me cry. I kept trying and kept trying but the second night was just all screaming from my girl and crying for me, neither of us slept and neither of us ate. The woman in the bed opposite had the opposite problem, whilst my baby wouldn’t feed, her baby fed all night long. None of us got any sleep!
Decision to Bottlefeed
After that night I was exhausted. I just wanted to go home. The nurses were charting the feeding and I overheard them say that I wouldn’t be allowed to go home until they were sure I could feed my girl. Can you imagine hearing that? It was at this point I phoned the hubby to discuss switching to formula feed. The girl in the bed next to me hadn’t even tried breastfeeding and it seemed as if she and her baby we’re doing great. So I made the decision to switch over to formula feed. The change in Little Miss was instantaneous! She downed a whole bottle and was calm and content. I was happier because I knew she was feeding well. And it was a huge relief.
But the point is this, why was it so difficult for me to make the change? I felt like a failure because I couldn’t breastfeed. I shouldn’t have felt like a failure. At the end of the day I did what was best for me and my baby.
To reiterate, I am not against the “breast is best” campaign. All I would ask is that the medical profession and breastfeeding experts please acknowledge the emotional and physical trauma that is being caused to mothers who cannot breastfeed.
A Word of Caution to New Mothers
So a word of caution to those expecting their first baby, be prepared to accept that you might not be able to breastfeed and if you can’t, you are not a failure! And one final piece of advice I’ll give to any new mother or any new parent for that matter, always do what is right for you and your baby.