Sitting here at 3 in the morning with my 4 week old the sleepless nights commencing and my thoughts returning to the long nights I had with Z trying to attempt breastfeeding.
I loved the idea of breastfeeding with my first, it was the most natural thing to do. I wasn’t caught into ‘the breast is best” campaign. It was just something I as a mum really wanted to do. My mind was set my baby was here but my body wasn’t. It’s a possibility that I struggled more because it was my first child, but then life throws you more lemons when I later became ill with the noro virus and couldn’t even go near my 2 week old. But even during that I didn’t relent. Nothing could stop me from breastfeeding my baby. I knew after I got better that I wanted to try again.
Then I got sick once more – this time becoming hospitalized. I hadn’t got round to retrying properly and my illnesses were not helping milk production. I had to make a choice. So I let her continue formula drinking as that was what she was having to do whilst my bout of sicknesses took over my recovering body. By the time I got out of hospital and was over my medication my baby was hitting 2 months and mummy was dry. She was so settled with the formula that I knew there was no going back. Don’t get me wrong – I cried, I was upset and I saw myself as a failure. But with time, I slowly healed and saw my Z flourish on bottle feeding (something I thought wouldn’t happen). She was happy and content which made me feel the same. So much so that come second time around I didn’t fret, I didn’t just go with what everyone said. I went with my choice as a mum. I decided to exclusively bottle feed from day one.
I didn’t feel the need to breastfeed because even through bottle I bonded, and I knew my baby was content because he was being fed. I didn’t feel bad for myself but I felt sympathy for other mums. Even in the hospital I felt for the lady across the ward with her first baby struggling into the night to breastfeed. Her hungry child screaming the place down continuously. I heard her breakdown but kept getting pushed by her husband. Deep down if she had the choice she would have just fed her baby through any form, because all mums want is to look after our little babes and make sure their tummy’s are full. No one wants to hear their child cry into the morning because they cannot feed them.
People look at bottle feeding the same as breast feeding. Both are frowned upon in some form or another. Yes they both have their individual disadvantages but they also have their own advantages. As a mum who has seen it from both sides I support all mums. I support the struggle we all have, be it bottle or breast. We wake up at all times in the night, we all have sore boobs (some longer than others), we all heed to our crying babies. But we all also have a choice. That choice is our own to make as grown women and mothers.
So be it bottle or breast – the most important thing in all of this is that you are feeding your child nonetheless and as long as your child is happy so are you. My advice, support every mum the same amount because the reality is we’ve all struggled when it comes to feeding.