This weekend marked the end of breastfeeding for me. And today, I find myself very very sad that it’s over – I miss it so much, more than I thought I would do especially if you would have asked me 5 months ago!
It was something I freely admit to being terrified of and also quite (ashamedly so) judgemental of before and during my early pregnancy. It really freaked me out, I’m not sure if it was the sensation I didn’t like the idea of or the fact that in today’s culture in the UK breasts are seen as sexual before
Maternal? I’d go so far as to say I don’t think I have ever seen a women breastfeeding on tv but have lost count of the many other ways I’ve seen boobs on tv. Is it just me or is that a little wrong? I mean for gods sake why is it ok for any old act of sex to be shown/portrayed on tv but breastfeeding not to be shown, are they both not equally natural and essential to Human life?
I found out so much about bf from the parent craft/antenatel classes lots of stuff I wouldn’t have actively thought to seek out, but essentially we all know how good it is, look at every other mammal on the planet for gods sake! But what we’re not told by anyone (I think, like childbirth other women forget) is how full on and absorbing it is all I remember being told is
Feed your baby every 4 hours
I can honestly say that I NEVER had a 4 hour gap until I started introducing solids. The Bandit (my nickname for my daughter) was on me literally every hour or so and all I thought was
Holy Crap, what’s wrong with her? Am I doing something wrong
My nipples seriously can’t take anymore, are you sure she’s hungry?
It’s hugely demanding, but then I guess that’s parenting fullstop! I just feel that we aren’t getting the full story and thats why so many may start but then change to formula because we think we are doing it wrong and our baby isn’t eating enough or is it because the paternity leave in this country may be 2 weeks but the pay is so SHIT many can’t afford to take it with one wage already taken from the family? Would the extra support from your man make it easier?
But, in the same vein I don’t see why we should be made to feel so guilty about giving formula for whatever reason especially by a healthcare system that offers so little actual support to breastfeeding mothers? The guilt and shame I felt when I finally did reach for the formula was immense, I felt like I was failing because I couldn’t keep up the boob for longer, that I was being selfish for wanting my body back and that I should be able to cope with the exhaustion.
I did a little bit of research whilst I was writing this and apparently breast feeding rates are up in England to 83% – where are you all hiding!? In the 6.5 months I’ve had a baby I have met 3 other Mums breastfeeding, none of my friends from antenatel did, almost all the babies at baby groups are bottlefed and when I have been out and about feeding in baby rooms etc it was just little old me with my boobs out! Or is it just everyone else is more practiced at being discreet than me 😉
It’s truly one of my greatest accomplishments and I would never have been able to do it without the love and complete support from my amazing husband. So this post is dedicated to him – Here’s to the next stage of parenting and whatever it throws our way – Mwah!