It’s hard to believe that simply feeding your baby can be such a hot topic among moms. Also the pressure placed on Moms is unbelievable.
Breast is Best!
Fed is Best!
Formula is Best!
The never ending battle is on.
I follow a few Mom Vloggers on Youtube and one mom shared her experience breastfeeding on her channel. It got me thinking that if more mom’s shared their experience, how awesome would that be for new moms? So I felt I needed to share my story.
When I was pregnant with my first, I had a lot of pressure placed on me from my now ex-in laws to breastfeed. I was made to feel like they had all breastfed their babies, while washing cloth diapers in the river, in the middle of a snowstorm barefoot. So since I had a 1 year maternity leave, and nothing to do, I should have no issues. I mean breastfeeding is what all GOOD Moms do, I wanted to be a Good Mom right?!?
Honestly no one had breastfed in my family. So I had no exposure to it growing up. So how hard could it really be?
OMG! It was hard! It was terrible. I hated it. What was suppose to be a close bonding experience quickly turned into a nightmare. I felt used.
Looking back now, I realize I was suffering from postpartum depression. I had a terrible, traumatizing induction, labour and delivery. Let’s be honest, considering that I got pregnant at 19 years old, and should have had a healthy pregnancy being so young, it was anything but healthy. This all wore me down.
I mostly remember being alone during this time. I remember my baby needed to nurse so much, but because I was shy, I was often in a bedroom nursing. I desperately needed to be with people, yet I was locked away in a room with a child I felt was just using me.
This was affecting my bond to him. I didn’t want to hold him, he might want to nurse. I didn’t want him to keep using me. I really struggled sharing my body with someone like this.
After 3 weeks I had enough. I couldn’t do it anymore. I remember calling the public health nurse and asking her how to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula. I could tell she really did not want me to do this. She told me to replace one feeding with a bottle of formula for a week, then after that week replace another feeding. I told her that was going to take forever, she had no sympathy and said if I didn’t want to get mastitis(infection of the breast tissue) this is how it needed to be done.
I was beside myself, I couldn’t do that! I wanted this over now. So I called my doctor and he got me in for an appointment right away. I told him what was happening and what was suggested to me. He told me that wasn’t necessary and I could just switch one feeding nurse him, the next breastfeed him. After a day or two do 2 bottle feedings and one breastfeeding, then just stop. Following this advice I weaned him in a week.
My now ex-mother in law worked at the daycare centre in our local town, she slandered me to my friends who had children there. I was so selfish she told them. Implying that I was a bad mom, because you know GOOD Moms breastfeed. My family on the other hand completely supported my decision, so for that I was so grateful.
After all this I swore if I ever had another child I would not even try breastfeeding. I was going straight to formula.
Then a month shy of 7 years later I had my next child.
Over this time I had been exposed to more moms who breastfed their children. It actually started to become the norm. After some research my positions softened up on the subject. My oldest dealt with a lot of allergies and I wanted to do everything in my power to help my youngest to avoid this experience.
I made a deal with myself. I’d commit to it for 3 months. From what I read online after the first 3 months, typically breastfeeding becomes easier than bottle feeding.
The first few weeks were tough. My son was 5lbs 15oz at birth and 5lbs 8oz when we left the hospital. His mouth was so tiny that the newborn soothers I had brought for him were way too big for his tiny mouth. Luckily I made connections with this wonderful nurse’s aid, she snuck into the NICU and got Little Z a preemie size soother. But because his mouth was so tiny, it made getting a perfect latch difficult. So it was a bit painful to nurse for the first little while.
I think it was my second night home, I remember crying on the couch in our living room on the phone with the breastfeeding support line at 5am. My son had started breastfeeding at 10pm and at 5am was still nursing. He would not allow me to pull him away from the breast. When I had to stop to use the washroom he would scream until he was put back on the breast. As any mother knows he cry of a newborn rips at your soul. Finally he stopped and allowed me to put him down. I found out that this was quite normal as he was helping my milk come in.
However things were different this time around. While feeding him while we were out I no longer felt isolated. While I would leave the group and move to another room, I didn’t lock myself up in a room. I always allowed people to come sit with me and keep me company. I know I could have just nursed where I was, it was less distracting to be in a smaller group.
I remember one of hubby’s little cousin’s who was about 6 at the time asking to come with me when I went inside to feed the baby. I covered him up when we sat on the couch and started nursing while we talked. Then suddenly she asked me, so when are you going to feed the baby? She thought I was going to feed him with a bottle. I told her I was feeding him. “But how?” she asked. Just as she asked her mom came into the house. I told her I’m sure her mom would be happy to explain it to her. Her mom explained I was feeding the baby like cats feed their kittens with their body. That was enough of an explanation for her.
As expected nursing became easier and easier. The thought of the added hassle of washing bottles, buying formula, mixing formula, and actually having to get up in the middle of the night and mix a bottle first seemed like such a hassle. It was so much easier to reach over and feed him while we were still both half asleep.
3 months turned to 6 months. 6 months turned to 12 months. My ultimate goal was to nurse till he was 1 years old. Thing is when he turned 1 I could not image stopping. Then I read the World Health Organization(WHO) recommends that children be breastfed to 2 years old and beyond. So that became my new goal.
I want to recommend though that you are careful what you refer to nursing as with your child. I remember when my youngest was about 16 months my friend showed up to pick something up a few minutes after he had woken up. I was holding him at the door chatting with her and suddenly my son started tapping my breast calling and yelling “BOOB!!! BOOB!!BOOOOB!!!” He was not interested in our conversation, he was hungry and he was hungry now! So make sure you call nursing something your comfortable with your child screaming for in random places.
At around 17 months, nursing got hard again. My son started biting me. I’m not talking little nips, he drew blood. Everyone around me it was ok to quit. But I couldn’t, the boob was the answer to many problems.
- You’re tired? Here’s a boob.
- You’re hungry? Here’s a boob.
- You fell and hurt yourself? He’s a boob.
- You’re sad? Here’s a boob.
- Something scared you? Here’s a boob
- You’re grumpy? Here’s a boob.
- You’re bored? Here’s a boob.
- I want to sit down and I am tired of chasing you around. Here, have a boob.