My journey with breastfeeding hasn’t been an easy one, It took me a long time to come to terms with the idea that it was something I wanted to do. My mum never breastfed me and I just didn’t see anyone around me breastfeeding, it wasn’t like it is now, where its a little more acceptable, and women who are breastfeeding no longer have to be housebound hermits.
Its not that once I began feeding, five weeks ago, my second baby, that feeding was a struggle or that feeding was hard or strenuous or overly time consuming, not at all, in fact quite the opposite. It’s been a breeze. It was the journey it took for the idea of breastfeeding to become an acceptable notion in my own head.
To me, and bear in mind this was a totally obscure idea in my head, in no way do I think this correlates to breastfeeding mothers. But I thought breasts were a purely sexually derived object and that having a child ‘hang off one’ was a gross feat. I don’t think I even allowed myself to consider the idea, of course afterwards follows a few other negative connotations, that of saggy boobs, how often breastfed babies wake up each evening and the inconvenience when one goes out in public of finding places suitable to feed your child. This idea has completely and irrevocably changed in my mind, now I can only think the most positive things in my head. And maybe it was my age, maybe being pregnant at 18 (by choice may I add, as my partner was 26) I hadn’t allowed myself to steer away from those teenage notions of over sexualised EVERYTHING. Maybe I wasn’t exposed to it enough, and at that time in my life, well quite frankly I had a life, after Landon, my firstborn had arrived everything changed, my life and all aspects to it had become completely Landon-Centric. I no longer purchased even the odd gossip magazine, no it was parent and baby magazines, and what became important to me was becoming a competitive mother. I wasn’t going to do anything by halves, again please understand I am most likely completely nuts, this is fine, as long as I’m a good mother with it. That fear runs through my mind constantly.I will never allow anyone the chance to think my skills as a mother are lacking, because I’m on the ball all the time, I mean, I’m even doing a child development degree.
You would think that this would mean that at this point surely I knew that breast was indeed best and that next child around I would be open and keen to breastfeeding. No I probably wouldn’t have, I would probably be sat now in my kitchen making formula bottles for Wyatt (Second baby, see 5 weeks comment). But the opposite, I’m sat pumping on one breast with my beloved medela and on the other I have a child, hanging off my nipple, that image I decided was ‘gross’. What changed my mind, and I am not afraid to admit was not the benefits for my child, but a hint of my selfishness. Wyatt was an unexpected baby, and my wedding was already booked, I heard that breastfeeding helped to aid weight loss, yes, how fickle of me to change my mind based on the sheer fact that I may be able to get into my dress a little faster. Even then I was going to exclusively pump as I didn’t want to latch feed.
Of course let me tell you what happened, Wyatt was born, skin to skin occurred and he found his own way to my breast and I didn’t stop him, in those loving moments, those precious minutes after delivery, a c-section in my case, I could do nothing but just love him. So from then we started to breastfeed and only in those first two days did formula fill in the blanks where my colostrum was not enough to settle him, with continued latching a few days in and my milk came in, in abundant levels. We are now almost five weeks in and have exclusively breastfed all the way. I say it with such pride, and it’s not because I’ve now turned on formula feeders, not at all. Feed however you wish and whatever way makes you happy. It’s the pride I take in the fact that I managed to turn my own opinion so upside down. So I am glad I discovered that breastfeeding would help you lose weight because now my baby has a great start, with a little more immunity protection.
Now I feed in public, at home, expressing my milk and latch feeding and I am taking steps to become a lactation peer supporter to help other mothers, and especially young mothers and let them see that breastfeeding can be ‘cool’.
A little on the ‘bond’ and ‘attachment’, firstly, I do not believe that bond and love are correlated, you can love your child and have trouble establishing a bond, or query the level of attachment and still think your child means the world. And I can’t really explain the difference without feeling a pang of guilt. But the bond came quicker and found us much easier than without breastfeeding, that closeness really just fuelled it instantly. I didn’t have any trouble bonding with my first formula baby, I never once thought or worried about attachment, but that feeling you get when you know you have bonded is immense and unforgettable, and it did indeed occur much quicker with breastfeeding. That’s not to say its the same for everyone but it is certainly how I felt. And it shouldn’t be the breasties vs. the bottlies. Again its how you feel comfortable, but I am so glad I let my guard down and gave breastfeeding a go. The best decision I ever made, and you know what I don’t even care how my boobs turn out, I can always buy some of those, I can’t buy a better start for my baby.
I hope everyone’s journey in breastfeeding has been as wonderful and even as cathartic at my own. I can safely say I’m finding it easy to rave about it as I haven’t had any real problems with it, its been plain sailing. Sharing experiences here briefly would be wonderful if anyone has had a similar journey or change of heart.