Though it may seem trivial to some, this for me is a really hard post to write due to my previous breastfeeding guilt with J.
Breastfeeding is something I really wanted to achieve this time. I had armed myself with information which lovely people had provided, telephone numbers and ready for the support of the local breastfeeding support peers. I (foolishly) convinced myself that I would ‘get it’ this time. That we would get it.
If you have read the posts from the early days after N was born, then you’ll know that it just didn’t happen like that (parts 1, 2 & 3). Even in hospital, as much as I wanted to come home, I persevered. Perseverance worked, as he finally latched and we went home.
Once we were home I continued to express as I had been doing in hospital. The B.A.B.E.S. came out to check on us and gave me a nipple shield as even though he was latching, it wasn’t good. This was so much better and we continued using it. But even then he was very fussy, so we were mainly giving EBM from a bottle as it was very upsetting for both of us.
For me, I found expressing so time consuming and tiring. Add that to the fact that when I wasn’t attending to N, J required my attention and I couldn’t not give it to him as he is a very clingy child and would get upset easily. And if I didn’t give him attention, by the time I’d finished, N would require me again. This really started getting me down and many tears were shed.
Which led to us starting to give formula top-ups. I think this was my downfall, and where I feel I sabotaged us being successful. Once that had started, it kind of became a downward spiral from there and the formula increased, so N wanted my milk less & less. Which also meant I was producing less & less milk as I wasn’t expressing as much either.
After thinking long & hard, and this time making an informed decision rather than feeling like being partially forced into it, I have decided to switch completely to formula. This time I know it is not poison, and J thrived on it. He is a happy (most of the time anyway!) healthy child. I will not feel guilty. I will try not to feel like a failure again.
But I will feel sad.
Sad that our breastfeeding experience wasn’t as I imagined it would be this time. But happy that I managed to have a bit of one. I look at it that N has had 4 weeks of my milk, so I have given him the best start in life. I feel like I have given it my best shot this time, whereas with J I had pretty much given up before I’d even started.
But I feel like I have let down the many people who tried to support me. I really have appreciated all the support, and I thank those people as I don’t think I would have gotten this far if I didn’t have that.
So that’s it, our precious breastfeeding journey is over.
But I will treasure this photo forever. Something I thought I never would share even if I did succeed at any point. But I am proud.
No guilt, but now it’s the breastfeeding envy I have to deal with (and that’s a whole other post).
Once again, nobody said it would be easy (but then nobody said it would be so hard either).