STOP WITH THE FEEDING JUDGEMENT
Above is a picture of me and Millie in hospital at 5 weeks old when I had severe mastitis.
The other day once again I feel judged, judged because I no longer breastfeed.
I now get nervous when somebody asks if I’m breastfeeding because I feel like they going to judge me when I tell them that my baby is now formula fed.
This is my rant….
I was in a nail salon talking about my baby and how she was at home with her Nanna for the day when the older lady next to me turns around and says “How is it possible for you leave her all day when you need to breastfeed her?” When I told her it was possible for me to leave her because she is now formula fed she got a look of disappointment on her face and said to the nail technician in front of her – “Women these days are more concerned with themselves then with making sure they stay a home and feed their babies – they’re all in a rush to get their old lives back.” At this point I was OBVIOUSLY furious but decided to keep my opinion to myself.
Little do these judgemental people know that I and many other Mummies out there have tried everything possible we could to keep breastfeeding for as long as possible.
Although I would never feel the need to have to explain myself to anyone this is my space where I want to share my thoughts and feelings so here’s my breastfeeding story….
In the first few weeks of being a Mum breastfeeding came easy – Millie latched in the recovery room after my c-section and I was on cloud nine thinking this was all too easy! In those early days I can even remember saying to family and friends how this whole breastfeeding thing was so simple and natural.
But then things changed, I had an oversupply which cause problems for my little girls tummy and ended up causing me to have mastitis so bad that I was in and out of hospital when Millie was only 5 weeks old. This was the WORST and only caused extra stress and anxiety – I did not want my newborn baby to have to stay in hospital with all the germs around but I had no choice we had to stay there so I could “feed through” the mastitis.
After I got mastitis Millie got sick from the antibiotics and I had a severe allergic reaction to the medication which made break out in the most irritating rash all over my body. I was so itchy and sick it was almost impossible for me to hold her while I fed. Sometimes my partner would have to hold her up to me because I couldn’t let her touch my skin. At this point we decided to start mix feeding as both Millie and I were so unwell.
Once I was recovered from the mastitis and the allergy Millie did not seem as interested in the breast but I tried everything to keep feeding as I wasn’t ready to give up that bond we shared - from seeing lactation consultants, doctors, expressing, not expressing, feeding in every position you can imagine, feeding schedules, feeding on demand, mix feeding, exclusive breastfeeding, pumping before feeding so she would only get the hind milk and in the end exclusively pumping because Millie would no longer latch no matter what I tried!
I took advice from every person I could ask, read so many books/websites and took inspiration from other Mummies Instagram pages and in particular one Mumma - Jules aka @newmumstheword , who inspired me and almost pushed me to keep going (I shall call her my breastfeeding coach) as we both went through the similar struggles at the same time with similar aged babies. If you ever read this Jules - thank you for making me feel less alone in my struggles with not only breastfeeding but new mum life. If you’re a new Mummy and don’t already, you need to follow this woman – she is so hilarious, honest and inspiring plus her little girl is incredibly cute.
After fighting Millie for a month to get her to try to latch again (every time I tried to feed she would scream like she was being tortured – which only made me feel worse) I started exclusively expressing – this only lasted for around 3 weeks then I realised I was tired, my boobs were sore, that I had had enough and most importantly - Millie was SO much happier on the bottle. I felt that that bonding experience for us was over, if anything the more I tried the less happy my girl was and the more stressed I became. We already had the greatest bond possible – after all she is my daughter and I am her Mummy.
This week I finally packed away my breast pump (drying up my milk took a long ass time) as my breastfeeding journey has come to an end and I'm comfortable with that.
So why is it any one else’s place to judge? Why does it concern any one else and more importantly why do women feel the need to judge other women? My chubby bubby is healthy, well fed and happy.
So how about instead of being judgemental we start to support each other in the choices we make as parents – it’s hard enough being a new mum with out the pressure of judgement as well.