My girl turns 6 this weekend. Wow! It was a 4-day labour so I figure we will stick with our annual tradition and milk the partying as long as it took to get her out into the world.
I was asked if I would breastfeed when I was pregnant with her and my response was ‘of course’. Not because I thought it would make me ‘Perfect Mum‘. It was simply something I really wanted to experience and I didn’t for once think it would be an issue. I mean my Mum fed me and my two older brothers no bother. I just thought it was as black and white as that. UNTIL…..she arrived.
To cut a long story short, Bonnie really didn’t want to latch. The girl is headstrong. We tried breastfeeding clinics, I sat with her for hours but she was determined and I had no idea what I was doing. It was tough. I felt jealous when I saw other Mum’s feeding. I felt sad that I was missing out on something that should be so simple. I had advice to keep trying and to not give up. But it was making me feel awful. Bonnie was extremely distressed whenever I tried to latch her. I will never forget sitting in a breastfeeding clinic, on a Sunny Friday morning when she was a few days old. I had been a couple of days earlier with no luck. I sat for hours waiting for help. The room was cram packed with people struggling. The nurse asked me to try and latch her and as soon as she heard Bonnie screaming at the thought, she cried out:
‘Quick, give her a bottle’.
I had sat for two hours waiting to be told that? I cried on the way home. I felt useless. I was sad. Bonnie and I had a nap and I woke up and told myself – ENOUGH OF THIS. Give her what she wants and more importantly – give yourself a freaking break. You are amazing and you have just created the most amazing little girl. Yes, I wanted to breastfeed but sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan them to. Sometimes we just need to roll with it.
A couple of years later when we had Charlie, he latched right away. It was a totally different experience. In fact, for the first few months all the boy seemed to do was latch. I used to sing Sam Smith to him all the time –
Now I got you in my space
I won’t let go of you
Got you shackled in my embrace
I’m latching on to you
I loved breastfeeding. Maybe you can’t stand the thought of it. Maybe you find it too painful (ouch I remember it well), maybe your baby doesn’t want to latch. Do what works for you. It may not be what you planned or what you wanted but your mental health has to come first, especially at such an intense time. Young babies are hard work. Life as you know it changes and as parents we can feel as fragile as a raver after a week in Ibiza. Yes, you will hear those thoughts of guilt no matter what you do. Show them the front door. Yes, you will hear unwanted advice. You know your baby more than anyone. You know yourself too. Be kind to yourself x
Ps – It was amazing getting so much help with Bonnie #everycloud