My marvellous Mum called me all in a panic last month. Her exact words were, when I answered the phone, “Please do not kill yourself if you cannot breastfeed.”
As you can imagine, this one of the strangest first sentences I have heard upon answering a telephone call but this is the way of my mother and nothing surprises me anymore! Upon further investigation it seemed that she had read this article in the Daily Mail (oh yes, she reads that paper I am afraid to say) and because I have decided that I will at least try to breastfeed she is now convinced that if I am unable I am likely to do something silly. I like to think that I have my head screwed on more than that, and I know for a fact that Mr C has it in his head that he will be watching me carefully to make sure that I do not put myself under pressure about the whole thing so I am sure that whatever happens everything will work out fine. Plus, I am fairly sure that there must be more to this lady’s sad story than simply not finding it easy to breastfeed.
Oh, and this behaviour is not unusual from my darling mother, as a teenager she used to cut the articles out of the paper and leave them on my bed. Teenagers and drugs, teenagers and pregnancy /sexually transmitted diseases, teenagers and eating disorders; you name it, I got it! As I have got older we progressed to more hefty subjects – savings, pensions and first time housebyers, all of which have been sent to me via Royal Mail as I moved away!
Anyway, back to the subject in hand. Breastfeeding. Mrs over at OMG We’re Pregnant has written this post on the subject and it really got me thinking. So much so that I decided to write about it here as well.
Of my Mum’s side of the family myself, my brother and our three girl cousins were all bottlefed. Of my cousins, two have had children and one bottlefed and one tried breastfeeding (see that was big news – first in our family to even give it a go!). All of us grew up to be strong healthy happy human beings.
My step sister had a baby boy five years ago and decided that she wanted to bottle feed him. Getting pregnant was a surprise for her and she unfortunately hated every second of being pregnant. She just felt out of control and that her body was not her own so when baby came bottle feeding was the way forward for her. Last year she had her second child, this time a little more planned and she knew what to expect and decided that she would express and then bottle feed using breast milk. When the baby came though she decided to breast feed until her milk came in and then when she tried ton express Chloe was having none of this bottle rubbish! So she decided to carry on breastfeeding and has managed it successfully for 8 months, longer than a lot of people.
When I think about it myself, to be honest, the idea of me producing milk makes me feel very weird. The idea of having someone drink that milk is even stranger to me. That said I want to try, even if it only lasts for a short while. I know that it will not be easy but I read somewhere that giving it a go for 40 days is the best idea. If it is still not working by then, then fair enough.
To be honest, the whole thing makes my brain hurt! I read a lot of books so I went and checked out what each of them had to say about bottle feeding.
In The Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth ….breastfeeding is not for you, it is nowhere near the end of the earth. The way people go on about it, you’d think not breastfeeding was the equivalent of making the baby drink gin and wheeling it across motorways during blizzards in a warzone. Look at the adults around you, look at the kids around you. Can you tell who was bottle fed? Of course you can’t……Instead you can enjoy the relaxed feeling of bottle feeding your baby while making eye contact, and the freedom it gives you because you can always get someone else to feed the baby if you’d like to go out for a hour or so and have an affair with a couple of firemen. Now crank up the steriliser, tweak those teats on the bottle. And get on with it.
In Your Baby Week by Week ….So if breastfeeding is not for you, or you have simply decided to bottle-feed from the start, don’t waste time and energy feeling guilty. You are in the majority as most British women bottle feed at some stage, and babies thrive on bottled milk.
Finally, in The Rough Guide to Babies …..First things first, don’t sweat the white stuff. For whatever reason you find yourself bottle feeding, rest assured in the knowledge that you are giving your baby a form of nutrition that scientists have been slaving over for years and that reaches stringent government standards: formula is packed with proteins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals and although it doesn’t contain the natural antibodies of breatsmilk, it is a damn fine close second.
So, I am going to try and give it a go. But I will not allow myself to be put under pressure by other people to do what they think is right. I will do what is right for me and my baby. The whole thing quite honestly scares the bejesus out of me and if I think about breastfeeding in public I shrivel up inside, because I am AFRAID OF CONFLICT people, and if challenged about where I try to feed my baby I will FREAK OUT. But I have come to the conclusion, first things first. Let’s get this chap out of me, then try and feed him. Actually leaving the house can be tackled when he is about 5 right?