I met Mummy Glitzer a few weeks ago at a coffee morning for South West mum bloggers in Bristol. We got onto the topic of breastfeeding (as you do) and she told her extraordinary story of breastfeeding by accident or, probably more accurately, breastfeeding by instinct. At my request, she’s graciously and honestly put into words her breastfeeding journey. Please leave her a comment at the end so she knows that she’s been heard.
When I found out I was pregnant with H and had passed that all important 12 week scan I didn’t put much thought into breastfeeding and had decided to formula feed from the start. My reasoning was two-fold.
Firstly, my experience on forums had demonstrated to me that a LOT of women struggle with it – to some it was pretty soul destroying. I know some for whom it felt like a constant battle, getting baby into the right position, getting baby to latch, mastitis, nipple thrush, blocked ducts etc not to mention the draining growth spurts. Quite frankly, being a first time mummy to a new-born, with a husband who couldn’t be guaranteed any leave and with zero family support sounded difficult enough to me.
Couple that with the fact that I suffer from depression and anxiety I figured that it wasn’t a risk worth taking for my family. We couldn’t afford for me to break down mentally and I surely had to be happy and mentally strong to deal with a baby.
Secondly, whilst I had never had any issues at all with other women breastfeeding, it just wasn’t something I personally was comfortable with. This is an area I am still not prepared to delve into but I just don’t like my body and never have. Whilst I knew women *could* and on the whole *do* breastfeed discreetly (whatever that means) I just didn’t think I could. Yes, nonsense, but all the same even the thought pushed my anxiety to the sky. And yes, I was confused about how I would feel about a part of my body going from being part of my sexual relationship with my husband, to a means to feed my child.
I also did my research. Whilst I was happy to (and indeed demanded to) come off my medication whilst I was pregnant, I wasn’t convinced I could manage without it post birth and yet I also didn’t want to take the risk. Risk? What risk? Well exactly. We don’t trial medicine on a foetus or a newborn so we don’t actually know the risks. For me, my decision to NOT breastfeed was very much based on circumstances and personal feelings.
However. I didn’t take into account H.