Those of you who have followed me for a while may remember that I tried, and failed, to breastfeed my first child, Aria. I put a lot of pressure on myself to breastfeed, so much pressure, but she just wouldn’t do it. She would get all warm and cosy and fall asleep on my breast. She lost so much weight, 12.3% of her body weight to be exact. She was only a teeny 5lbs 11.5oz born so this drop was huge. As a result I was advised to introduce two bottles of formula a day into Aria’s routine. This was when my breastfeeding hopes were shattered. The bottles were so easy to drink from that she just refused to latch on to the breast going forward. But it was what my baby needed. She thrived off the formula.
Aria was a lazy baby. I was an anxious, stressed mother. These two things combined did not make for a plain sailing breastfeeding journey. Feeding time should have been a relaxing time, but it wasn’t, I was stressed and feeling the pressure and Aria would just cry. I was not in a good place. I eventually made the decision to stop breastfeeding. I expressed for six weeks but my milk supply soon dwindled and I was exhausted; if I wasn’t bottle feeding I was pumping milk into a new bottle. I eventually conceded that I had given Aria the best start in life with my milk, now it was time to move onto formula, quit the stress and enjoy being a first time parent.
With less than three weeks until my due date I have been thinking a lot about my intentions for feeding this time around. I intend to breastfeed this time; but the difference is I am feeling confident that I can do it, and if I can’t, it’s no big deal. I won’t beat myself up about it.
I know that breastfeeding will likely be a struggle again, gestational diabetes babies are well known for being sleepy and struggling to feed. I’m planning to prepare for this. I’m meeting my consultant on Tuesday and am going to speak to her about harvesting colostrum in readiness, just in case.
You would think that a failed attempt at breastfeeding would have knocked my confidence, but it hasn’t. You see, with Aria I was a first time parent. I was clueless about everything, not just breastfeeding. This time I like to think that I know what I’m doing in most areas. I am hoping that I will be relaxed enough to really concentrate on breastfeeding.
I know that if I don’t succeed in breastfeeding I won’t be judged for it (well, I might be but I don’t really care what those people think).
While struggling with Aria I had a lot of help and support, but at the time it felt like pressure, I felt like everyone was pressurising me to breastfeed and would have been disappointed in me if I quit. This time I know that isn’t the case. Those people are just supporting me and helping me to achieve what I want to achieve.
Last time around I worried about feeding in public, those viral breastfeeding stories set out to raise awareness for breastfeeding were actually quite damaging to me, a nervous first time mum. I was worried about feeding in public anyway, so when I logged on to facebook to see that yet another mother had been shammed for feeding in public this scared me. This put me off breastfeeding. Which is quite ironic given that these stories are told with the intention to normalise breastfeeding.
This time around I’m older, I’m more experienced and I really don’t care what anyone else thinks. This time around I will try my very best to breastfeed, but I won’t pile on the pressure, and if it doesn’t work, I know that formula feeding is okay.