Not on a bandwagon or a soapbox

Please don’t jump on a soap box or a bandwagon, I haven’t and won’t when it comes to breastfeeding.  So if you are one of ‘those’ don’t continue reading, this post is just about me putting my thoughts down on paper.  Each to their own, you do what works, and you shouldn’t need to explain.

I realize now as a mother, that back then I knew absolutely NOTHING about breastfeeding.  Only one of my friends had a child and well, she just made it look so natural and easy.  Breastfeeding is natural, of course it is, but it doesn’t come naturally that’s for sure.  I didn’t know what ‘let down’ even meant.  I didn’t know the emotions and pain that would come along too.  I knew little of mastitis or how regularly to feed, what was normal and what wasn’t, or if in fact there was even a normal!

Being pregnant again, I have been pondering breastfeeding quite a bit lately.  When I arrived home with Phoebe I thought I was doing pretty well.  No one told me though what it would really be like, I don’t think anyone could have prepared me.  She fed LOTS, and fell asleep LOTS while feeding.  After a couple of weeks I remember saying to my partner, if this continues, I don’t think I’ll ever leave the house again, and these were my honest to god feelings.  My anxiety began to rise, and panic attacks ensued.  My baby girl could feel my stress and in turn became stressed.  The mere sound of her crying for a feed would send my stomach into knots.  It all became to much, to much for me mentally and in turn too much for her as well.

I made the decision to bottle feed, I’ll admit I did cry when I did it.  Not because of having to give up, not because I felt I was a bad mother, but I think because I had never really thought much about it at all and wasn’t prepare.  I guess I was in shock.  I made the conscious decision that for the first three months, no one would be allowed to feed Phoebe except Hubby and I.  We bonded, you can do that when you bottle feed you know?  And still to this day, I believe it is one of the reasons why we are all so close.

I wish I was crazy passionate about breastfeeding, but try as I might, I just don’t think I am.  I wish I knew that I was 100% committed next time around to breastfeeding, but I am not.  I do know that I am trying to educate myself more.

Bel x


28 thoughts on “Not on a bandwagon or a soapbox

  1. There is definitely a lot of pressure and expectations on a Mum to breastfeed her baby. I was lucky that it all came very easily for me and I enjoyed being able to provide nourishment for my baby.
    In many ways it is easier to breastfeed as no cost or preparations are involved. But there are definitely some negatives as well. Not knowing how much milk your baby is getting was difficult in the first few weeks. And the one thing that I have struggled with is having the pressure of me having to do all of the feeds. Recovering from a c-section and coping with rheumatoid arthritis has been a struggle as I also deal with broken sleep.
    I don’t think anyone has a right to judge anyone if they choose to breastfeed or not. Every situation is different and I fully believe that a Mum knows what is best for her baby and for herself!

    • Chelsea you are so right about pressures, but I think they come both internally and externally. Us Mum’s really can be too hard on ourselves.
      I think because I have done both (even be it for a short time), I actually saw the convince of bottle feeding too. But as you said, there are positives and negatives to both. But I am glad that I was never judged by family or friends!

  2. Tough decision to make. Everyone has an opinion (even those who haven’t tried). But it boils down to figuring out what’s right for you. I did an ABA Course to “educate” myself before Alyssa. Good but i needed to pick and choose what parts to listen to. Some was bit too strong for me. I did bf for convenience. I just hate washing bottles!!! But there were def struggles and tears.

    • I don’t think my decision will be made until the baby arrives Liz, too many conflicting thoughts, so I’ll go with the flow. It’s funny, I actually really enjoyed my bottle washing and prep, it was my ‘calming’ part of the day and was routine.
      I think everyone has their ‘moments’ breastfeeding and bottle feeding. We just need to support each other no matter what the decision.

      • Support is the key bel with any decision. Honestly still hate washing bottles and been doing it since he was 4mths.
        Saw what you replied to someone else and made me really want to say I don’t think sticking with it or not has any reflection on how strong you are. There are enough challenges to test our strength. Personally I don’t see this as one of them. This is just finding what’s right for you, your family and the new bub.

  3. I really feel for you. I can identify with so many of your experiences, particularly the stomach in knots thing at the mere sound of a hungry cry (or any cry!). I had badly grazed nipples and tortured myself to stay with it. But my experience was much different to yours in that this was our second baby and, as our first had passed away as a newborn, I vowed to myself that I would not stop breastfeeding until she weaned herself. Ooops! Eventually at about the 10-week mark, it wasn’t painful any more. But it was hell. Sheer. Painful. Bloody (literally!) hell.


    • Kirrily thanks for visiting (love your blog). You are right, everyone has their own unique experiences and I guess you have to be happy with your own decisions and why you have made them! I don’t want to make a decision yet, everything could be so very different next time.
      Good on you for sticking with it! I admire women who do, they seem much stronger than I xx

      • Stronger or just taken leave of their senses…?!?! I was really out to prove something. I was also in a PND state. So please don’t always assume it’s a woman’s strength (in my case it was sheer bloody-mindedness and a bit of a death-wish!) xox Good luck. Whatever you choose, it’s ultimately perfect for you and for your baby. Your planning it and thinking it through (from day one) is testament to that already.

      • Haha Kirrily, very true, or sheer stubbornness! I would and continue to support anyones choice, whatever it may be. It’s nice to see the same happening here at the moment x

    • So true Jess, so very true! It would be an ideal world though if everyone supported each others decisions. I’m glad everyone has in my little space today though x

  4. hey bel, i hear you. as long as bubs is getting fed i think it’s whatever works best for each family, that particular baby & their family at the time. with amelia i persisted for 13 weeks with feeding/expressing and formula top ups on top of every feed with tears from both sides and screaming and fussing from amelia. on reflection the more i read the more guilty i felt if i changed to formula but at 13 weeks i thought – wow, i have not enjoyed the first 3 months at all and i need to make the change, amelia was so much happier and thrived. with kayla, i breastfed again in hospital and it was going swimmingly but on day 4 i thought, i want to make sure i enjoy this newborn phase as i dont plan on a third so swapped without any second thought…funnily enough amelia was the baby that got sick, not kayla. each to their own i say, and you’re right no-one has the right to judge because we are all trying our best it doesnt always happen so easily…and sometimes you’re lucky and it does xx.

    • Mel come to think of it, I honestly didn’t enjoy those first few weeks either and looking back, once I made the switch I did. But I do believe me panic attacks played a big part in my decision and my mental health (which I always wanted to be very aware of).
      I’m glad people are visiting my little space today to share, encourage and support each others decisions rather than preach.

  5. This is absolutely your decision. And whatever you decide, know that it will be the best decision for you and your baby. No judgement here, I’ve tried both Xx

    • Thanks chick! It’s nice to know there are lots of us out there who are supporting one another and their decisions. We do what works in the situations we are dealt with. x

  6. Same here! With Lincoln I was in struggle town! And I ended up expressing for 6 weeks. With Flynn it was 3 weeks of breast feeding. So it does get “easier” but I had a toddler running across the couch, climbing onto the dinner table and turning off the light while I was learning to feed a newborn!
    Every mum has a different situation and its not fair to judge, because you’re doing your best.
    You can always do nudie cuddles and lots of eye contact to bond.
    Give it a go and if you’d like to switch you can, they make some great formulas nowadays.
    Enjoy your time with your tiny bundle and make it stress free 🙂 x

    • Brydie, you nailed it on the head, for me I think it is definitely about being stress free and enjoying the time with bubs. If that means I bottle feed again, I’m at peace with that (and more importantly, I’ll be better prepared than last time!). x

  7. You are a fantastic mum. You are more than capable of deciding what’s best for you and your new bundle of joy. I’m sure all your family and friends will just accept whatever decisions you make about it one way or another- after all its your body and your baby, so you will know!

  8. I think there are a lot of pressures on mums to breastfeed but they need to provide more education about it too. I did a lot of reading and research before my first child and I really do believe it helped me with breastfeeding and I found myself helping others. I breastfeed my daughter to 16 months and just weaned my son at 19 months and I found I got a lot of pressure and judgement for doing it this long. I am very pro breastfeeding but make absolutely no judgement what so ever to anyone else- in any parenting matter- yet I have been the victim of constant criticism and judging for breastfeeding past the “norm” of 6 mths. I’m doing training to become a breastfeeding councellor not to be a Nazi but to inform new mums and encourage them and mostly support them.

    • There are definitely lots of pressures, internally and external (sometimes internally is a lot stronger). I know now that I knew NOTHING about breastfeeding and in part that probably didn’t help. It’s nice that you are training, I didn’t even know that a lot of services like that were out there. This time I am arming myself with lots of information but at the end of the day, I’ll do what’s right for me a bubs.

  9. You already know my thoughts on this Bel- do whatever works for you and your baby. Happy Mummy=Happy Baby. Maybe prepare for both and you’ll know whats right when the time comes xx

  10. Our experiences are similar in that neither of us was able to feed for more than a few weeks with bub 1. I am struggling with making a decision with what to do this time. Having twins I have been TOLD that I MUST breastfeed as they will be smaller than a singleton and preemie (more than likely) and its the only way to make sure they are healthy. This was from the AMA and the Twins Association from the Baby Expo. I was more than a little pissed off at that “advice” (or was it judgement) as I did want to breastfeed Niamh but had no milk. I had explained this and was asking for advice for things I could do now to encourage milk production. Didn’t get any info on that.

    I also judge myself too harshly as this time I don’t know if I want to breastfeed, especially because they are twins. I’m not sure if I will be able to cope and the thought of bottle feeding and getting some help (even if Darren does one night feed for me) sounds like heaven. I guess I will also make my decision when I am here and am trying hard not to beat myself up about either being unable to, or choosing not to, breastfeed. Funny thing is I definitely DO NOT judge others and think every mother should do what’s best for themselves and their baby.

    • I think the key things that stand out for me now is how little I know, how much I want to know, and how ready I am to make a decision that suits me, my baby and family best. I think these are also key things in your comment x

  11. I feel sad when I hear mums tearing themselves up over this issue. I knew I would never breastfeed, my doc, the hospital, everyone was fine with it and we shared the feeding so dad felt so included. He is happy , healthy, rarely been sick and I’ve never really thought twice about my decision. I hope u can be happy with your own choice and not worry about what others think .

    • Thanks Nicole. I’ll definitely be happy with my choice no matter what it is. My job is to keep my physical and mental health a top priority to look after bubs, and to make sure bubs is happy …… no one else will enter the equation. xx

  12. Pingback: The breastfeeding journey this time round | Life at no. 2

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