Mummy says… I have four beautiful, healthy, bright children. I didn’t breastfeed. I chose not to breast feed. I have carried that around with me for over twenty years, not full realising the effect on me until i started blogging….
I CHOSE not to breast feed.
I was made to feel pretty useless, and embarrassed at times.
I had an emergency caesarean with my first baby over 22 years ago. She (MiMi) was two weeks late and after a failed induction, she got stuck and her heart rate dropped. I had no choice, I had to have an emergency caesarean.
I was out under anasthetic, and woke confused, disorrientated and in pain. I couldn’t even figure out whether I had had my baby or not!
Next thing, the midwife is saying ‘Your baby wants feeding’ and MiMi is thrust to my boob. The pain was immense. It WRECKED! I tried a few times, whilst trying to avoid my wound, get my bearings and properly ‘come round’.
By the end of that first day I was in bits. MiMi hadn’t really fed, she was hungry, I was absolutely exhausted, tearful and a mess. I was elated with happiness that I was a mum, and had my family visit which was brilliant. I just couldn’t feed. It hurt too much. I couldn’t do it, I didn’t WANT to do it.
The midwives and nurses made me feel pretty crap, if I am honest. I felt cheated and so angry that I hadn’t given birth ‘naturally’ – why me? Why could everyone else do it, but not me? AND I couldn’t seem to breast feed! What a failure I was!
The only person who understood, who ‘got it’ and who helped me was a wonderful male midwife called John. He made me realise that as long as MiMi had safely arrived it didn’t matter how. As long as she was fed, it didn’t matter how.
I stopped trying to breastfeed and put MiMi onto a bottle. I instantly felt better, seeing her feed, hearing her feed, watching her fall asleep with a full tummy, satisfied and content.
I knew it was the right choice for me.
As the weeks went by, and I watched my (then) sister in law feeding hr new baby ‘on the boob’ constantly, always questioning and curious about how much he had fed – was it enough? Did he need more? Did he get much? I happily watched MiMi feed, knowing exactly what she had had, she was settled, happy and thriving.
I was happy, MiMi was happy but various wellwishers seemingly weren’t! ‘Oh, you are not feeding yourself?’ They gasped, ‘Can you not feed, what a shame!’ I felt awkward, embarrassed and inadequate.
Reading all the stories about how breast feeding mums are shamed reminds me of how I felt shame for NOT breast feeding!
I chose to not breast feed my other three babies – the next two were a no-brainer to me, but I did struggle with Pickle. I felt incredibly guilty again, but luckily my midwife was brilliant and listened to me, talking through the options and I realised that as a busy single mum of four, bottle feeding was, again, the best option for me AND Pickle.
It feels good to have shared why I chose not to breastfeed, and I hope you ‘get it’ too. Did you breastfeed? How did you feel?