Let’s talk about feeding
Reflecting back on those early, crazy days when your new favourite person (ever) needs so much from you feels really strange. It’s good for you, you should do this more. Make the time.
So, let’s talk about feeding.
Before the bump became a real life boy - saying son still feels weird, 15 months on - you knew you wanted to try breastfeeding. You didn’t really understand when women talked about it being disgusting; it’s natural, right?! Then he came along and you did it. It felt weird and amazing.
It was a shaky start though and it really knocked your confidence when the genuinely lovely midwife sent you back into hospital because you were inadvertently starving your newborn because he didn’t cry for food. And that time you sobbed so loudly at the minuscule 30ml you’d hand expressed that you woke your husband up, upstairs. But you quickly settled down into the feed-sleep routine all tiny babies have.
You felt proud to breastfeed. But not just that. You felt too relied upon. Too needed. And pumping was beyond awful for you. It hurt and it didn’t seem to yield enough milk despite your persistence and special cookies (delicious and calorific but in all likelihood ineffectual at increasing your milk production). It felt humiliating sitting in your kitchen with your boobs out, hooked up to a machine like a dairy cow, dripping milk all over the sofa and smelling like an old fridge. But you continued regardless.
Gradually you introduced formula to give yourself a break from feeding and so your poor husband didn’t have to listen to you moaning about feeding any more. The relief was huge. Someone else could feed your precious little man! Your boobs were not required. Thank God.
It took you many weeks to finally bite the bullet and stop breastfeeding. You went backwards and forwards, weighing up the pros and con, debating the merits of each option. Anyone who’d listen to you got an earful of contradiction. The number one reason it took you so long: “I feel like I’m letting him down because I can feed him, so I should.” It wasn’t about the nutrition; you trusted formula to give him what he needed. It was about your expectations of yourself as a mother.
But you are a good mum. A great mum. He idolises you. You’re doing a fantastic job raising a clever, cheeky, special little man.
Well done for deciding to stop feeding. It was brave of you to make that decision because you knew it was the right decision for you and baby and his dad too. Despite how conflicted you felt.
You’re still not 100% convinced that you don’t “have” to at least try breastfeeding any future babies, even now. It’s ingrained in you, not because of the “breastfeeding mafia” from whom so many poor mamas feel inordinate pressure. Not from your mum nor from your husband nor your friends; it’s inside you that this is what you “should” do.
Try to relax and enjoy your baby. He won’t be a baby for long, although thankfully he doesn’t rush to crawl, stand, walk so you get to keep your baby a little longer than some. Worry less, he’s fine. Play more but don’t worry if you don’t. Spend time with him. Worry less about comparing yourself to other mamas and him to other babies; just be.
Love Hannah x
You can follow Hannah on Instagram - @hannahlstevens