Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Breastfeeding: my 2 pence

Right, a bit of background before we start...I have 2 children, I breasfed my eldest until she was around 4 months and I am currently breastfeeding my second child, aged 3 months. Anything else? Oh yeah;
I really bloody hate it.
Now look, I've heard the debate, it's not really something you can get away from as a new mother unless you run to the hills with your bundle of joy where you will be free from the internet, health visitors and, well, people.
"Breast is best"  makes me want to punch people in the face. You cannot simplify such a complex, emotional process into one (really shit) phrase. Not to mention the fact that you are already implying that those who can't, or choose not to (yes that is allowed) breasfeed are what? Not doing the best for their child? Bullshit. Breastfeeding is enough to send even the calmest of us slightly crackers and I'm pretty sure keeping yourself out of an insane asylum is best for your child.
I also don't like the fact that people try and "convince" you that you should breastfeed by banding about quotes and facts about things that may concern you as a mother like childhood illness and  IQ points. I know a mother who has an 8 month old who is exclusively breastfed and he had a really bad cold the day I met him (5 months ago) and I'm pretty sure he's never had rid of it. Kids get sick. No amount of breastmilk can stop that from happening. Regarding the IQ points,  when I got my GCSE results, which were average at best, no where had the examiner written "you were obviously formula fed".
The "debate" for me is by the by. It's not why I would choose to feed or not to feed. Hold your nose people because this is going to be like a bucket of cold water for some of you;
I decided I wanted to give breastfeeding a bash because I am really bloody lazy. Washing up, sterilising, getting up in the night to make a bottle vs lobbing out a boob - I knew which I was going to try first. I now know that it really isn't that simple but I am lucky enough that I could have a go as both my daughters have been prepared to have a go with me, but it doesn't mean I enjoy it just because I'm getting out of washing up duty.
I sweat like I have never sweated before. If I didn't worry that the baby would freeze I would breastfeed in the garden (I live in Northern England - it's cold) wearing only my disgusting nursing bra.
When I move I always get a faint whiff of milk. There's a reason they haven't bottled and sold this particular scent.
It's boring. Well it was before I got addicted to Candy Crush Saga, but it certainly isn't a time I use to bond with my baby, it's pretty difficult to chat to someone who is residing under your left breast.
I'm not keen on the fact that I am solely responsible for feeding my child. My husband can't step in (I'm rubbish at expressing, not to mention the fact that it involves washing up). I can't go and have a lovely day to myself as my child would starve and my boobs would explode.
I hate breastfeeding in public. A midwife once said to me "you are allowed to breastfeed in cafes and things you know, no one can stop you." I don't care if I am allowed. I don't want to. Why would I want to get my boobs out in public??! Last time I checked Costa Coffee was not a strip club and I ain't getting paid!
Natural? Let's get one thing clear; breathing is natural, this is not. Our bodies may make the milk but that's about as far as it goes. It is bloody hardwork, it's relentless, unrewarding, demanding hardwork.
So why do I keep doing it? Well, for now, for me, it's the easiest option. I've learned to live with all the crap things over the last 13 weeks and we are both doing ok at it. However, at the first signs of any real unhappiness from either of us and I would have no qualms about stopping and nor should I.
No mother should ever be made to feel pressure one way or the other about feeding their baby. They should suffer no judgement and no guilt. Advice and support should be given to mums with no bias. But this is not an ideal world, and there will always be one arsehole ready to pounce on you. My advice to you? Do what you want and to hell with people and their opinions. You are a mother, you know best and no matter what you decide, please know that you are doing a really fabulous job.

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