I really wanted to put some thoughts together on my whole breastfeeding experience, not because I want to pitch a tent in that camp, I don’t, I’ve said it a million time I’m neither ‘pro-breastfeefing’ or ‘pro-bottle’, I am ‘pro-feeding your baby the way you want to’ and that’s my stance on that. That said I do want to make comment on how I got on with breastfeeding, the good and the bad, and maybe it might give someone who is wondering about it all a bit of impartial advice. I’ve written previously about what I did differently this time round with this baba compared with my two previous attempts, so it wasn’t for lack of trying that I got it right eventually! First things first I really REALLY loved it. I just loved it. I felt with Lucy being the third and the other two ladies demanding quite a lot of my attention it was the one thing in the day that only I could do for her and that I had to stop, to sit, to relax and connect with her fully for it to work.
Secondly, it was just so handy. three small kids, at the stages mine are at, is infinitely busier than I ever could have imagined. I’m now that mother that is late for everything, I’m constantly sweaty from it all the rushing, I’m always apologising for being late, urgh I could go on, but for those first few months, personally I found not having to worry about having bottles with me was incredibly liberating. I could decide on a whim to go to the park after school with the girls and not have to worry about a hungry baby.It also forced me to look after me, to eat well and to drink (copious!) amounts of water and to not be guzzling coffee like an addict with a problem. It certainly did not make me a size zero in a matter of days, I found I had to eat well but eat lots to keep up with her. I also didn’t go back running like I usually would after about a month, I was worried that my supply would take a dip and I just couldn’t afford that as I felt I was only just keeping up wit her.
We did give her ladyship bottles from time to time, the odd night if I just needed a break just so that she was used to them as I had a few weddings and hens to attend that I just wanted to enjoy. I did need to pump while away but with regards to pumping I never did it otherwise, I didn’t find the time in the day for it and like I said I am in no way shape or form adverse to formula. So while I was away she had formula only which did her no harm whatsoever! That said, I have to comment on the fact there is a mental stress attached to breastfeeding. I CONSTANTLY doubted my supply, wondered if she was hungry despite all the check ups on her weight suggesting I was doing just fine. There is also the lack of sleep that no one really tells you about. Correct me if I’m wrong and perhaps it was just my lady but despite ALL my efforts to have her napping perfectly and settling herself to sleep with no aids she still kept waking for grub. She did not sleep for a full night in over 7 months (and counting almost!) compared with my bottle fed babies who slept like little troopers from around 3 months.
And there is no denying it f**king hurts for the first couple of weeks, I remember someone saying if you survive the first two weeks you’re over the worst of it and for me that held true. My advice for the first while, when dreams of breastfeeding can be made or broken, is to ask for help if you suspect anything amiss. I also found that the minute I came of the medication from the section I realised I had a blocked duct, painkillers clearly mask pain regardless of where it is so be warned! I think that’s about all I need to say on the topic now, I do want to go wild and make one last comment on the whole breast versus bottle debate. I feel like there is so much room in for people to find a middle ground. For people to know starting out that there are options, you can top up if your baby is over 10 pounds, has an insatiable appetite and you’re exhausted, it doesn’t make you a failure at breastfeeding it keeps you sane. But sure look, I’m no expert either! And my final words are, happy baby, happy mama, remember that, never forget it and never let the Mammy guilt sway you from that mantra.