This week the Royal College Of Midwives released a statement essentially saying, that, whichever way you choose to feed your baby is fine. Whether that’s by bottle or breast, it’s all good. Your choice should be respected and supported now. Whilst I wholeheartedly welcome this change of tune, I can’t help but wonder, what took them so bloody long? Talk about stating the obvious! It’s 2018 and I really don’t think it’s justifiable that anyone is shamed for their choice, no matter what that may be.
I tried desperately hard to breastfeed eldest. I had my heart set on it infact. Mainly because, at every appointment, I had been told ‘breast is best’. After I had given birth and, he had been weighed etc, they placed him on me to feed. It seemed like he had latched on. How would I know? I’d never done it before in my defence! But he had no sooner started when he was abruptly taken off me and I was ordered to “go have a bath!”. Thinking there was nothing wrong with this, I did as I was told. My sister (a midwife) later told me that this should never have happened. After what was the most unrelaxing bath ever, we were sent to our room. Eldest wailed all night long (hubby rather annoyingly slept, what with having been through a strenuous labour and all that.) I kept placing him on my boob and being unable to get him latched on. After several failed attempts, I frantically hit the buzzer and sobbed to the midwife that I needed a bottle. “No, just try again sure” was the response, and off she went. I continued coping on zero sleep with a newborn squealing (and hubby peacefully napping) until the shift change occurred. Hubby, finally awake, demanded they give us a bottle for him. It was even obvious to him that I was struggling to feed our first born. “Has anyone sat with you and showed you how to do it properly?” the new midwife enquired. “No!” was our swift response. She advised that she would send someone in to show me, and, that she did. I was so grateful to that lovely midwife who took the time to explain everything and even show me what way to best position myself. She answered any questions that I asked and put me at ease. I mean, I still didn’t have the slightest clue if he was even getting anything but I was better equipped with knowledge at least.
Alas, our breastfeeding journey would cease soon after we got home. I still couldn’t ascertain if he was properly getting anything and that didn’s sit well with me as a new and anxious parent. This was even more apparent when the community midwife would ask how much he was feeding! I made a decision there and then to give up and I felt like a complete and utter failure because of this. I truly believe that the guilt from this contributed to the enormous baby blues that hit me shortly after. Surely, as a society, we should be protecting new mothers? Shattered ones at that as they are kicked out of the hospital so quickly after giving birth, with no time to recoup and rest. Of course, everyone knows by now that ‘breast is best’ but, each to their own, like everything else. As my mum said to me “I bottle fed you and there’s nothing wrong with you!”. Maybe that’s a bad example, I am slightly bonkers.
Because of all this, I made sure (with my second and third) that I wouldn’t be made to feel guilty again. At every appointment, when asked if I would breastfeed, I would stubbornly reply: “No, nor will I be made to feel guilty about it either”. I actually wrote this in capitals on my birth notes with the third. Probably why they handed me a bottle straight away without prompting. “Anti breastfeeder in room two, get a bottle and fast!”. In my view, every new mother should be made to feel that the choice she makes with regards to feeding, is the correct one. As long as that little baby is getting fed, surely the way they are fed is irrelevant?
In other news, I would like to issue a public appeal. Can all utility companies out there please refrain from sending me even more bills? Thanks! I thought last week was bad enough until the dreaded electric bill appeared through my letterbox on Tuesday! Just F off postman and give this mum a break, please.