You may think we are all about breastfeeding given that several of our products are for breastfeeding, however we strongly believe that fed is best and there is no judgement here, however you choose to feed your baby, bottle, breast or a combination of the two. Today we hear from Rachael who blogs at Lukeosauras and me…
I’m about to become a new mum once again. And once again, I have felt the pressure from all sides to breast feed my baby.
It’s no secret that breast milk is magical. It is the best food for your newborn baby and it can also be used for so much more than just feeding. However, breastfeeding is not necessarily something that all women get on with.
With my first born, I was pressurised to breast feed. My partner wanted me to, my consultant at the hospital pretty much told me I had to and both my regular midwife and health visitor insinuated that if I didn’t, I’d be depriving my child of his needs.
This behaviour needs to stop!
In the end, I did breast feed Luke and do you know what? I categorically hated the experience. It sent me spiralling into Post Natal Depression and has caused me to forever associate bad memories with breast feeding. That’s not something you need when you’re expecting baby number 2.
To set the scene a little, I was 21 when I gave birth to Luke. He was a healthy 8 lb 13 baby and boy, did he like his milk. At 21, I noticed that other people my age had chosen to bottle feed their babies and that the majority of people I met who did breastfeed, were usually 5 – 10 years older than me. Queue the anxiety and the mum sweats associated with my own inadequacy. There wasn’t anyone a similar age to me that I could talk to. I felt intimidated by the people I could talk to at groups, as they all had far more life experience than me and it seemed to all come so naturally to them. So in the end, I stopped going and completely cut off any form of breastfeeding support I had.
Add to the mix my crazy mother in law at the time. Nothing gives a new parent the confidence they so desperately need like someone telling them that their 4 day old son has them wrapped around his little finger.
2 days out of hospital, still unsure of what I’m doing and not wanting to breastfeed in front of her and her husband meant I spent an hour or two in the bedroom on my own while they were in the living room. Apparently, this was me stealing her precious nanny/grandson time away from her. It was wrong of me to keep feeding him, even when he was hungry, as this was the beginning on an unhealthy routine.
Yep, a 4 day old baby. But, of course, being young, naive, and worried, I didn’t feed him for the rest of her visit and it backfired massively on me later that day. I still resent that moment to this day.
What About Now?
So, along with memories of crippling nipple pain, bleeding boobs and the reminder of PND, I find myself coming full circle and being faced with the decision again.
Luckily, whether it’s because I’m older, I’m at a different hospital or I’m just more confident, I have been able to convey my worries to health professionals and discussed my anxieties. Thankfully, it’s led me to a decision that I now feel comfortable with.
My boyfriend wants the baby to have breast milk; I want the baby to have breast milk. I’m just not sure I’m ready to commit to breastfeeding. So we have decided to get the old breast pump out and do our best to get a healthy supply of breast milk stored up for our little one. I’m happy with the idea of pumping breast milk, even though it means pumping through the night as well. I know that my baby boy will still be getting the good stuff, but his mum will also be in a healthy, happy state of mind!
Stop Pressurising New Mums
I’m sick of the pressure people put on new mums to breastfeed. Yes, it’s good for the baby, but have you ever looked at a playground full of kids and been able to pick out which one was breastfed and which was bottle fed? I didn’t think so.
If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to breastfeed, please don’t beat yourself up about it. Please don’t feel that you’re on your own. Please don’t feel that you’re not doing right by your baby. Please don’t feel that you’re a bad mum.
It’s important, especially in those early days, to look after yourself. Both physically and mentally. There are many reasons why some parents choose not to breastfeed and all of them are valid. At the end of the day, if mum isn’t happy, baby probably isn’t happy either!
Rachael, 26, is a blogger and freelance writer in charge of Lukeosaurus And Me, a family lifestyle blog. She’s due to have her second baby in July and Luke, her four old on son, can’t wait to become a big brother. She writes about topics such as family days out, crafts and activities, family recipes, budgeting and lifestyle.