Have been pondering this a bit as I am preparing for Womble ‘s arrival and again I am planning to build up a stash of colostrum for her like I did with Munchkin. It helped save our breastfeeding. If you are interested our breastfeeding story can be found here.
Anyhow breastfeeding munchkin for 13months is the thing I am proudest of anything I have achieved in my life. It is officially the hardest and most horrible endurance marathon I have ever run (Yes labour was traumatic ick and what I most suffer from flashbacks on etc but the 16weeks of agonising incredibly difficult feeding kind of makes that pale into comparison in a weird way). Sometimes I feel I can’t always say how proud I am for breastfeeding munchkin as I don’t want to make other mum’s feel bad about their choice/decision not to breastfeed. It really is down to personal choice/circumstance but I feel sad that sometimes I can’t talk about how incredibly proud of myself I am- because what I am saying about my situation personally shouldn’t ever be taken as a slight on someone elses circumstances because it really isn’t. In fact maybe any post on breastfeeding should have the added caveat- “This is me talking about my experiences – it is absolutely not a judgement or reflection on you or your experiences”.
Anyhow I just wanted to ramble about it on here as I gear up for another endurance marathon of feeding Womble (although I really flipping hope its easier second time around!).
The reason I stuck at breastfeeding is actually probably a bit fucked up. In my head I was trying to make it up to Munchkin for letting her down during her birth. And although this is a shit reason and I now do pretty much do believe I didn’t actually let her down during her birth (it was just circumstances) – at the time those negative thoughts really helped me stick at it. I was so so determined she would be mostly breastfed (and although she was mixed fed alot intially by about 3.5months she was predominantly breastfed with one formula bottle a day).
The thing is what I haven’t ever really reflected on is by forcing myself to go through all the trauma, exhaustion and agony of getting her to feed and gain weight properly it actually massively helped me connect with her and actually did hugely help save my sanity after her birth. I think had I not been able to breastfeed her I would have fallen apart much more and we could have had some bonding issues as a result. Knowing that I was able to feed her (despite the breast reduction and flat nipples let alone the weightloss, tongue tie and other issues) massively boosted my confidence as a mother. Those middle of the night feeds where just me and her were awake snuggled in bed feeding were almost magical with how incredibly in love with her I felt and how special our bond was. I was so sad when she self weaned at 13months because although it was probably about the right time for both of us, I really miss that bonding connection I had when feeding her (now I know it was probably because I was pregnant with the ectopic and my milk had changed but ah well- 13months is a good innings!).
Anyhow even if I have a section and breastfeeding has a wobbly start as a result with delayed milk coming in etc, I really really hope to exclusively breastfeed Womble if I can. But if she ends up being mixed fed or whatever I’m not going to beat myself up but I know I can bloody well do it and seriously if employers wouldn’t look at me like I was mad- I would actually put Breastfeeding down in the achievements section of my CV because it seriously beats my GCSE’s, A-Levels, Degree, PGCE and Masters (not quite finished) combined as the hardest and the best thing I have ever achieved!