How your baby is fed is probably the most talked about subject between parents.. That and sleep. So how is your baby fed? I don’t know why but I always dread this question, whether it be other parents asking or medical professionals. I always cringe so hard on the inside and have a speech prepared as to why I am not breastfeeding. I have nothing against breastfeeding, if we have another baby I might breastfeed them. Why is feeding such a popular topic? I’m starting to wonder this more now as I have started typing it.
So why did I choose to not breastfeed? I don’t have a simple answer for this. I have about 50 reasons as to why and to be honest some of them I don’t even know why as I’m sure it is a deep-rooted problem of mine since Dexy died.
So, one of the reasons is because I didn’t want all the pressure of feeding on just me. I needed to put my mental health first. If I needed to get out and go to a coffee shop or just to take the dog out I didn’t want “Have I pumped enough” “Will I be limited incase he needs me to feed him.” I just wanted to be able to be stress free as possible. That amount of pressure on myself to be the sole person responsible to feed him would, I think, tipped me over the edge. I was already high risk for PND and I needed to eliminate any added stress on top of that. My motto has always been “Happy Mum, Happy Baby” If I am comfortable, as stress free as possible (If motherhood is ever that) then that works for me.
I planned to breastfeed Dexy. This was extremely hard for me to cope with after he died. I had everything planned to breastfeed. I brought all the pumps, storage packs, nipple balm and I mentally prepared for the challenge ahead. When Dexy died the thing that was hurting me was the idea that I would have to have my milk come in and wait for it to dry up. I saw that as basically torture. My baby had died and now I have to go through what every other mum does with an alive baby whether they breastfeed or not… My boobs making milk for a baby that will never have it. How hard is that? Knowing your body is still producing everything for an alive baby when your baby is dead is just another kick in the teeth, a cruel joke. So… I opted for the tablets to stop my milk coming in. I mean it did stop the most of it but my boobs still bloody killed and were sore. I developed a real hate relationship with my body after Dexy died. I loved nothing and hated everything. That brings me onto my next reason.
Trusting my body. Ha-Ha-Ha. How can you trust your body when it couldn’t even keep your baby alive. Since Dexy died I really can’t trust my body with anything. I can’t believe it is even capable of looking after myself. Weird again I know. Throughout my pregnancy with River I found it hard to believe that my body was going keep him alive and keep him safe. I was convinced the whole time that my body would kill another one of my children. How could I think any differently when it had already killed two of them. I felt like I was really going to push it if I decided to breastfeed River as well if he lived. I felt like I might be stretching my luck of having an alive child and I felt like I would be expecting to much if I wanted to trust my body enough to then keep my child alive outside the womb. I can’t trust myself and my body for 9 months let alone for the next 2 years and producing the one thing he needs to solely keep him alive for the first 6 months. I just don’t think I would cope and would constantly worry about if he was getting enough or if it was good enough.
Feeling like a failure. Feeling like a failure when my child died inside me, feeling like a failure that I fight for his existence, feeling like a failure that he isn’t a crazy 1-year-old. How much would I feel let down if I couldn’t breastfeed or if I really struggled. I would honestly never forgive myself.
We had a long hard think about it and for all of us it just made complete sense to formula feed. I have experienced formula feed shaming off people but to be honest I really don’t understand why?! I know that there is so much more in breast milk and formula doesn’t come close but it is more than just feeding your child. Your mental health, your physical health, your family and importantly what is best for your child (mentally and physically) matters. I had my concerns knowing River would be late pre-term and if he would suffer with the lack of breast milk, but actually he is thriving. He is gaining weight, his development is of a full term baby, he is happy and loving. He is starting to smile which makes my heart melt. He is perfect. So don’t feel bad for how you feed your baby. If they are fed, you are doing okay, you are coping okay, your family is benefitting, then it really does not matter if it comes from a bottle or your boob. Yes, “breast is best”. Yes, “Fed is best”, but really “informed is best” informed decisions are what really matters.
Breast/Bottle feeding shaming is ridiculous. There is so much more behind feeding a baby than just feeding them. You don’t know someones background, their thoughts/feelings and why they are choosing to feed their baby the way they are. As I said… Happy Mum, Happy Baby.
You are doing okay.