Breastfeeding: Expectation VS Reality

I’m just waiting for my jacket potato to cook, house is cleaned, both kids are at school. In the moment of silence I have decided to write about something that is always a hot topic in the parenting world. Breastfeeding.

Before I fell pregnant, I was 100% certain that I was going to breastfeed my child. Why wouldn’t I? After all, breast is best was a phrase I always heard.

In my antenatal classes running up to giving birth to Kellan, we attended a breast feeding class. While pregnant. With no baby. The lady was going through all these pro’s of breast feeding like how it benefits the baby, you’ll lose your baby weight and also, having sex and not falling pregnant. This was definitely looking like the right path for me. No sterilising bottles, no having to walk downstairs at 3am in the morning to make up a bottle, no colic, no wind, no reflux. Why wouldn’t anyone want to breastfeed. The snuggling in bed while they are latched on, the ever lasting bond between you and baby while you carry out the most natural thing in the world.

Fast forward to Kellan being born, not only am I now feeling like a failure because I couldn’t give birth to him as my body wouldn’t dilate past 5cm’s and even on the drip I struggled, I was then faced with our first breast feeding experience. I held my chunky 9lb baby up to me, and done everything the midwifes had showed me. Dan was sitting by my side anxiously watching me. I always remember him saying “don’t stress about it, just try, if we don’t breastfeed him there is always formula” – but in my head I’m thinking, No, I am going to breastfeed this child as that’s what he needs, it’s the best start in life for him.

After him trying to latch on and us failing miserably, I called the midwifes in. There I am, post c-section, a screaming child head butting me to find my boob and a midwifes cold hands clasped around my boob, squeezing it into the baby’s mouth. What didn’t help is that I have inverted nipples, I don’t have big boobs, they’re manageable I thought.

After what felt like hours, trying to get him to latch, he would latch for a few minutes, come off my boob and scream the house down. I still wasn’t going to give up.

Three days later, a baby that wasn’t happy, a new mummy who was exhausted and feeling like I was failing, I called the midwifes over. I wanted to go home, I wanted my baby to breastfeed, I wanted this bond that I had heard so much about. She told me that I couldn’t leave until I could competently feed my baby via breast. If I wasn’t going to, then I needed to be shown to be feeding him a bottle so they could see that I could feed him.

What a blow.

I wasn’t being lazy, I wasn’t not attempting to give the baby the best start in life, I was failing. I was failing once again at something that should come so naturally.

I just physically couldn’t do it, I had to feed my baby, so I gave in and gave him his bottle.

What gets to me, is when I see people thinking that people who don’t breast feed are lazy. Most of us don’t choose to not breast feed, there are a few of us, but it’s our decision as humans, but most of us can’t. Some of us don’t produce enough milk, but we manage to feed our babies by bottles – we all have one job, to look after and feed our babies in any way we can.

Stop judging and stereotyping breastfeeding/non-breastfeeding mums. We are all doing the best we can. We need to support each other.

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