By Lizzie Hodgson @mama.to.sienna
I didn’t realise how emotional I would get about this subject until I actually wrote the words down and read it back. It’s safe to say breastfeeding has been tough for me. I’ve managed 12 weeks and half of me thinks “wow, well done you” but the guilty half of me is saying “I wish I’d have been able to do it for longer“.
But why should I feel guilty when it’s between me and my baby?!
When I found out I was pregnant the first thing I knew I wanted to do was breastfeed. It never crossed my mind that I might not be able to or have struggles with it. I bought a breast pump, breast pads and nipple cream, all in preparation to breastfeed. I had colostrum leaking from 30 weeks so was planning to harvest that at 36 weeks but Sienna came early at 36+5.
When she was born she wouldn’t latch and I just cried my eyes out non stop. My heart was crushed and I completely doubted myself as a mother. We tried skin to skin, nipple covers, the lot. We soon realised she had a class 3 tongue tie which got cut when she was 4 weeks old but luckily she latched before that at 2 weeks. She’s been an incredibly hungry baby since birth. She would feed every hour of every day, feed from both boobs and still scream for more milk afterwards. It was exhausting and I just didn’t have the supply for her.
My partner and I made the decision to switch to formula when she was 8 weeks old and since then we’ve been gradually adding in a bottle of formula and taking out a breastfeed each week. In a way, a massive weight was lifted of my shoulders but also I felt this awful sense of loss like I would lose the bond with my baby that I’d spent all this time building up because of breastfeeding.
This is the thing about breastfeeding, you’re looked down upon for not breastfeeding but then if you do breastfeed you’re scrutinized when/if you choose to feed your baby anything other than breastmilk. You just cannot win. I think there’s way too much pressure put on mums to breastfeed when in actual fact a fed & happy baby should be the main priority right?! Whether it’s exclusively breastfed via boob or bottle, combi fed or formula fed you HAVE to do what’s right for you and your baby. I’ve been in two minds for ages trying to get myself to realise that there’s nothing wrong with feeding your baby formula. In order for my baby to be happy and healthy I’ve got to be happy and healthy too in my mind and body. We still have that amazing bond i thought we would lose, I still get the same gummy grins every morning.
So mamas, if you’re thinking of switching how your baby feeds so it fits in better for you both then absolutely do it. Your baby will still love you the same no matter what. We didn’t carry these bundles of joy for 9 months and go through labour pain to be told by other people how to feed our own babies.