Why am I giving up breastfeeding? Because I want to!
- It’s time consuming, it means I get to bed late and I get less sleep.
- I don’t like the feel of their teeth on my skin.
- They throw it up and demand a bottle after anyway.
- They have lost interest – they would rather smile at me than feed.
- They are more content after a bottle than they are after a breastfeed.
Am I happy with my decision?
Well I WAS! I was planning to give up today.
I am really f***ing proud of myself for breastfeeding TWINS for five whole months. Exclusively for the first three. I only managed five weeks with my oldest daughter.
I breastfed despite haemorrhaging during childbirth and losing so much blood I was really weak and only had an HB of 7. I breastfed whilst battling HELLP Syndrome, unsure of whether I’d even live to tell the tale. I was pumped full of drugs and got about half an hours sleep every six hours for the best part of a week. But I still breastfed whenever I was physically strong enough to hold them. If that isn’t determination, then I don’t know what is.
I even expressed in between…
I was proud of myself.
Until I read a blog post today and people’s comments on it. One of those campaigning for more
bullying “support” for breastfeeding. People trying to take away the freedom of choice because they think EVERYONE should breastfeed until their kids are in pre-school no doubt. Criticising those who don’t breastfeed (or don’t breastfeed for long enough). Criticising people like me, for giving up breastfeeding after 5 months. What about those people for whom breastfeeding isn’t an option (for example really prem babies in NICU). Or people who physically can’t. What about people who just don’t want to? Just because somebody isn’t breastfeeding – doesn’t mean they are ill-informed, uneducated, nervous about feeding in public or lacking support. Sometimes people can’t or simply don’t want to.
Every form of breastfeeding “support” I have ever come across is more like bullying than support. They feed you lies like:
“You can’t ever run out of milk – it’s supply and demand”. Bullshit. I’ve been there before! “Your milk will always satisfy your baby even if the consistency changes”. Bullshit. I’ve been there before too!
These statements are carefully constructed to make mums feel inferior and to make the elite breastfeeders feel like supermum.
It’s encouragement and empathy people need. Not harassment, judging or enforcement. Why do people have to judge each other all the time?
I love breastfeeding. I loved every second of it with the twins. I loved being that close to them. I loved that grateful look in their eyes. But I don’t feel it is right for us anymore.
I am devastated at the thought that I will never ever be able to breastfeed again. That cuts me up. But it’s not the right choice for my little family anymore. It’s run it’s course for me.
I didn’t feel guilty about my decision to stop. I was happy with my choices and proud of myself for coming this far. But thanks to the blogger who has made me cry today, I now feel guilty. I feel guilty for giving up breastfeeding. I feel that I am being selfish, even though I know what works best for my babies and they just aren’t interested in breast milk anymore. Their eyes light up and they get excited when they see a bottle. Nobody knows my babies like me. Nobody knows me, like me. Nobody else has the right to put me down for my choices. So why do I feel so crap after reading one persons campaign?!
I’d like to point out (after a vicious comment on this post earlier), I would never discourage breastfeeding. Breastmilk is proven to be good for babies, but ultimately the mothers happiness is also a vital part of the babies wellbeing as babies can pick up on stress and unhappiness. I would always support people who choose to breastfeed. My own reasons for giving up breastfeeding were not taken lightly.
If you would like support with breastfeeding, and are not able to get to a midwife, health visitor, or other medical professional, here is a link to the NHS breastfeeding support page which contains numerous links to other breastfeeding support networks and professionals.
Interestingly too I would like to include a link to The Breastfeeding Network’s list of “Drugs in Breastmilk” Factsheets. As you will know, when I had HELLP Syndrome, I was on a concoction of drugs, whilst breastfeeding, which the doctors assured me were safe. This is a comprehensive list of which drugs are safe and which are not safe to use during breastfeeding.
For mothers bottle feeding, please read this excellent post by The Mother Geek… Formula Feeding Does Not Equal Failure.