Let me start with the fact that breast milk is nutritionally the best for baby obviously as it’s natural.
But is it always best for mum? Is it always best for your family? Is it best for happiness? I found not necessarily.
I have always wanted to breastfeed, since before I was pregnant.
When you are pregnant “breast is best” is drummed into you.
It’s made out to be the most natural thing in the world.
It’s made out to be sunshine and rainbows, well let me tell you it’s not.
My trying and consequently failing to breastfeed ruined my early days with our precious miracle. It’s not at all how I expected it to be.
It took me weeks to realise breast wasn’t best for us.
Early on Arabella fed constantly, I was told this was normal and a newborn thing, to help supply. I stuck with it. It didn’t get easier. She was still constantly feeding. I suspected she had tongue tie, I asked my midwife and GP, I was told she didn’t have tongue tie. I stuck with it. After her carrying on feeding constantly, and I mean constantly. She was forever on the breast. I couldn’t go out. I didn’t get any sleep. I asked on a Facebook group and twitter with pictures if she had tongue tie. Well it looked like she did.
I booked a private lactation consultant at a huge cost to us when she was 5 weeks old. I couldn’t cope with the constant feeding. She saw immediately Arabella had 100% tongue tie. It was snipped there and then. But it was all too late. Arabella never learned to feed properly.
I went to see the NHS specialist breastfeeding midwife, she immediately told me I has had been doing it wrong from the start, this made me feel like shit, like a massive failure.
I may have been doing it wrong from the start, but as a first time mum, was I given breastfeeding help in hospital, no. I just had to muddle on on my own, learn myself whilst the other 3 women on my bay were given help with bottle feeding.
This midwife got her to latch perfectly for a feed. It was the first time I had seen her milk drunk in weeks, since she was newborn.
I got home and then couldn’t get her to latch properly. All I did was cry, I felt like a failure. I was a mess, this was full on meltdown. I felt like I was falling into the deep hole of depression.
I made the decision there and then to switch to formula and express as much as possible. I expressed for aslong as I could. It just wasn’t convenient at home with a newborn on my own all day to keep it up, I would start expressing and then she would need me so I had to stop. My already poor supply dwindled.
Stopping was one of the hardest things I ever did.
But I needed to do it for my own mental health, for us. I truly believe if I had carried on I would’ve needed help.
I hate it when people say if you really want to breastfeed you will, it’s just not that simple.
I really wanted to fucking breastfeed. I still cry about stopping now.
People make comments about how I must miss out on that special bond, like I can’t have a special bond with my baby because we now bottle feed.
People really need to think.
So this is my post for breastfeeding awareness, maybe not what is expected. But people need to be aware of this side of breastfeeding.
Breast wasn’t best for us, no matter how much I wanted to do it.
Breast wasn’t best for my mental health.
Breast wasn’t best for my relationship with my daughter.
Breast wasn’t best for my relationship with my husband, I was stressed by it, and of course he was directly in the firing line.
Breast wasn’t best for us.
Maybe things would’ve been different if breastfed babies were checked for tongue tie before leaving hospital, if GPs and midwifes had proper training on it, if I had had proper help with breastfeeding on the ward.
This post may be controversial but hey, it’s just my experience.