Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Go easy on yourself

My breastfeeding journey is nearly over with my youngest, in part because he keeps full on smacking me in the face during a feed but also because it seems like it’s starting to come to a natural end. As I watched the boys playing together this morning, and with the thought of this on my mind, I realised that you’d really never know which of the boys was bottle-fed and which was breastfed. I know this is an emotive subject and I’m not going to try and promote one over the other (if you’ve had a baby you’ll already know which method is advised), but I do feel that it’s time we cut ourselves, and others, some slack.

With the first boy I tried to breastfeed, I really did. But I just didn’t get there. He wouldn’t latch on. As the hours passed by, he lost weight, resulting in us having a five day hospital stay before they would discharge us. I was beyond exhausted, desperately expressing round the clock to try and build him back up. I don’t remember many things from those first days, after a big blood loss and no sleep for five days it’s all a bit hazy, but I do remember setting my phone alarm in hospital every two hours throughout the night so I could try and express for an hour before he woke up. The reality of it was that when all that was done, setting up the pump, expressing and then feeding him, I had approximately half an hour left to sleep before the alarm was going to go off again. It was physically and mentally exhausting. It was soul destroying. When we finally got home, my husband went out for some formula and it was a revelation!  And while it felt so good to be able to finally feed him without the stress and urgency of having to express enough to satisfy him and to time it all ahead of him waking, with that came intense guilt, guilt that I hadn’t quite managed what was supposed to be the most natural thing in the world, something I’d watched woman after woman achieve on the postnatal ward just hours after they had given birth.

But as I look at him now, he’s amazing. He’s funny, bright and beautiful. Yesterday he came home with a star award from preschool for counting to one hundred. One hundred! He’s happy, he's wonderfully weird and he’s healthy.




With the youngest, he latched on straight away. Now, I’m not saying it was easy. Far, far from it. At first, I’d have rather have gone through labour again than that initial latch on pain- think bleeding, cracked nipples- horrendous! But persevere we did, as despite this, with each feed we seemed like we were always a tiny step closer to cracking it and eventually we did, we came out the other side and that became his main method of feeding. While I’m glad that we managed it and that he reaped the many benefits from breastfeeding, one of the reasons we kept going was because I felt I had something to prove, to myself and others and because I didn’t want to have to feel guilty all over again or to have to justify my feeding choices to anyone else. And that was wrong, that shouldn’t have come into it. I see this time and time again in my baby classes; bottle feeding mums who firstly, feel like they have to admit that they are bottle feeding and secondly, the reasons behind it. I’ll never ask, I’ll never judge and you certainly don’t need to justify yourself to me. You’re doing great!

My youngest too is funny, beautiful, happy and healthy and while I once felt guilt, I no longer do. They’ve both blossomed. The mother and baby unit is a partnership so while there are many reasons to breastfeed, if one of you isn’t on board, then ultimately it won’t be a content one. You can definitely still bond with a bottle-fed baby, they stare at your face, not at your boobs, and while breastfeeding has undeniable health benefits, it’s not unhealthy to bottle-feed, not at all.

So if you’re just starting out or if you’re well into your feeding journey, go easy on yourself. There is always competition in parenthood but try and keep out of it. You will meet parents that do it all by the book, parents that don’t and parents that always seem to have their shit together while you have Weetabix in your hair and sick down your leg but that’s life. It’s irrelevant. What matters is you and your family. And you’re doing great! 



Rhyming with Wine
Best of Worst
Mummuddlingthrough
Cuddle Fairy
Twin Mummy and Daddy
Quite Frankly She Said Sunday Best

33 comments:

  1. This post has made me feel so much better. I didn't manage with my first 2 and, while I plan to have anther go with number three, I feel old enough and wise enough to make an informed decision without feeing as bad as I did the first time. What a great balanced view you have on it. I feel like thanking you. #MaternityMondays

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    1. Thank you so much. Definitely don't feel bad, a fed and loved baby is a nurtured baby, whichever way you decide to feed xx

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  2. Great post! I tried with both of mine and didn't succeed with either. They are still healthy and happy. So long as they are fed it doesn't matter which form it comes in! xx #twinklytuesday

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  3. Great post! Going easy on yourself is crucial when it comes to motherhood. #twinklytuesday

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    1. Definitely! I'm going to try and go easier on myself this year x

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  4. Very encouraging post. I just don't understand why there is this competition in parenting these days. New mums, while preparing to breastfeed, should also be preparing themselves mentally for not being able to for one reason or another. And, it seems, this preparation should include how not to feel guilty about it and how not to be made to feel inadequate by other people!

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    1. I totally agree! I wish that there was more support for bottle feeding mums too x

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  5. Love the way you talk about your children! :) I'd like to think both mine are 'wonderfully weird' too! :) #dreamteam

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  6. What a beautiful tale that sums it all up - one Mummy, two brothers, two types of feeding, and one happy ending. See, there really is no difference...Love it.
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

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  7. As long as baby is happy and mum's happy I don't see the big deal. It's got to work for everyone in my opinion. No good having a mummy who's miserable or depressed as a result of feeding! #ThatFridayLinky

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    1. Yes, it's definitely got to work for mum and baby so make it the right option x

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  8. I tried to breastfeed our girls but they were prem and so little that they had to be tube fed when they were first born and they didn't take to it. I did pump so the girls did have my milk for three months, but they also had prescription formula to help them put weight on quickly. As they say, fed is best. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

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    1. you sound like you did amazingly, it can't have been easy to express xxx

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  9. This is a lovely post, it just goes to show how different siblings can be!! Good luck with your next step and thankyou for linking up with the #bestandworst

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    1. Thank you so much. Yes they are definitely very different! x x

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  10. A beautiful post be easy on yourself motherhood is tough Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

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    1. Thank you. I will definitely be back next week x

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  11. Well said. No one should be made to feel guilty for their feeding choices, or feel they have to explain themselves! x #SundayBest

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    1. Absolutely. There is so much pressure put on mums x

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  12. I have made it almost a year with each of mine, but with my last i had to give up at 10 months....he bit to the point of bleeding with every feeding for month #9 and I just could not take it anymore! Each baby is different and you journey with breasfeeding is different every time as well. You do what works for you and that is all that matter!

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    1. You sound like you've done so well. My little one has started biting too, so painful, little monkeys! x

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  13. oops, forgot this #BloggerClubUK

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  14. What a lovely post, and it's interested to hear your different journey with each little one. I think as long as they are happy and fed, who cares whether it was done by bottle or breast. Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam x

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  16. I'm 36 weeks pregnant with our first, so reading this has been really good. I don't really know what to expect from breastfeeding or whether it'll work for us, but I'll give it a damn good go. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches Travel & Lifestyle Blog

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  17. Great points, I totally agree with the sentiment here.
    Thank you for joining us at #SundayBest - hope to see you again tomorrow! xx

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    1. Thank you! Will definitely be back next week! x

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