Breastfeeding and Me

This week one of my friends was verbally attacked on Facebook. It disturbed me greatly. Her response was well thought out and concise and far more diplomatic than I would have been. I admire her for that.
But it has led me to write this post.
It is about my breastfeeding journey. It explains why I will never let anyone belittle me for being proud of breastfeeding. It will explain why I will always seek to support and educate women.

I couldn't breastfeed Ryley.
After a traumatic birth, in which I was sent to recovery for 2 hours and he was sent who knows where (up to the ward with my parents I think), Ryley wasn't interested in feeding.
Oh he must be just sleepy, nevermind, lets get some of your colostrum anyway and we will try again later.
OK. So it's not my fault then? Phew.
I then got milked by the nurses. Every 3 hours.
I was told that I wasn't attaching him right. I was getting too upset, which made him upset.
We had better give him some formula.
OK. So now I am starving him. Great.

I had so many people around me who told me I was the one doing everything wrong that I actually believed it.
Everyone can breastfeed. It's not hard. Stop getting so upset. Let me try and attach you.
I ended up expressing milk for Ryley for nearly 8 weeks. He would take an hour to feed what little I had expressed. He would then sleep for an hour (which I spent expressing) and then he would wake up vomiting.
I had no choice but to feed him formula. I barely had any supply left and was exhausted. He wasn't putting on much weight and it was apparently because of my milk.

It was devastating for me. As it turns out, Ryley didn't have the jaw strength to breastfeed. He just couldn't attach. Partly because he has a disability. Not because I am a total failure as a woman.

I still wish I had went and searched for more support. But I wonder if I would have found it? Possibly not.
Do I regret not being able to feed Ryley?
Not anymore.
It was just one of those things. I did try and I should feel proud of myself for giving it a go.

And then there was Braeden.
The minute he was born and placed on my tummy, he started making his way up to my breast. He got there so quickly! All 9lbs of him wiggled up and just latched on.
Perfectly.
We gazed into each others eyes as he drank, and I felt this amazing euphoric feeling. All my fears about breastfeeding just melted away.
I was actually doing it!
I cried with utter joy.

Braeden is 25 months old and still feeding. I am so proud of myself for sticking to it. I have fed through mastitis twice. I have had nipple blisters several times. I have fed when I have been so sick I can't move. I have given up sleep because Braeden still feeds through the night at least 3-4 times (if not more). It has been HARD BLOODY WORK. There have been times I have just broken down crying in the middle of the night because I am so exhausted physically that I feel like I can't go on. I have put up with people's snide remarks and judgements of me because I continue to feed.
I will NEVER apologise for being proud of breastfeeding. I have worked hard to keep up and give my son the best start I can give him.

I have never judged someone for breastfeeding or not. Because I have been judged myself. I know what it is like to feel the pressure, feel like you are the worst mother in the world. No woman should be made to feel guilty for the choices that they make in regards to breast or bottle feeding. It is a personal choice. Not everyone can breastfeed, not everyone wants to.
I think that there needs to be more support out there for women full stop. Having a baby is hard work. Once upon a time, all the women in the neighbourhood would support each other when a new baby was born. This doesn't happen anymore.

So breast, or bottle.
It doesn't matter.
But own the choices that you make. Don't blame others. Don't be afraid to seek support. Don't feel like you need to justify yourself.

Comments

  1. Good for you!

    I had a simular experience at Elliott's birth. People suck, that's all it is. I don't understand why and how people can be so judgmental and so unwilling to understand or support ones choices... they need a cup of Shut-The-Hell-Up or a can of
    Get-The-F&*%-Away-From-Me quick smart.

    People suck, oh i said that already.

    XXLiv

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  2. I applaud you for breastfeeding. I am a big supporter of breastfeeding. I breastfed Hailey for 15months and thought it was wonderful. When Dylan was born I tried for 4 weeks but because of his cleft palate he was just never able to latch on and suck correctly. It was heartbreaking for me to not be able to nurse him so I pumped for 9 months! It was very hard work but I was determined to give him breast milk as long as I could. I commend you for writing this post.

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  3. Thanks for the comments!
    Kristy-WOW to pumping for 9 months! That is just fantastic!

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  4. Anna, I am so glad that you are so proud for BF B for an extended period, it is fantastic! I understand all your feelings int his regard and will never forget being "milked" after birthing Cooper! Pepper also healed my lack of BF but now thinks that booby milk is so funny when I tell her that she use to have her milk that way! :) Bron

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  5. Anna you should be proud of yourself mate about being able to breastfeed as long as you have,You have done and still are doing a great job.And yes well you know how I feel about the whole facebook attack..Some people need to learn to just pull their heads.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Anna,
    you've done amazing breastfeeding for so long with Braeden - and it is bloody hard work!! You've done your utmost best you can for both your kids - both times round and should be proud. I think people who have issues with the idea of BF have issues of other kinds.

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  7. You know what I think, your a champion Anna, b/f is beautiful and joyous, and hard and exhausting and every emotion inbetween, just enjoy your bond and your baby boy. I miss feeding, I know it is a year since I weaned Abbie, she was 2 but I still miss that special time. Much love to you all, bec yourell

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  8. Well said! I am a loud and proud breast feeder! There are truly times when a women can not breast feed for one reason or another. But there are many times that people give up because its "too hard" or "not working" I had my share of these times in the beginning with mastitis, nipples that felt..(and looked!) like they had been taken too with a razor...not a babies gums! Low supply and yep....basically being told I was starving my baby and I should be giving her formula instead.....
    I guess my point is that there is help out there you just have to find it....I had the support of the Australian Breastfeeding Association, many hours on the phone to volunteers and one of them even popping around to my house to see how my baby fed....I joined my local group and I reckon some of these women would even feed her if for some reason I couldnt!!!
    Good on you for giving it a go with Ryley and good job with Braeden. Also great Blog, inspirational....(Jules put me onto it)

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