Breast is best except when it’s not.

2 May

Inglorious Guide To Early Days Feeding

If you want to breastfeed and it’s working for you and your baby, great.

If you want to breastfeed but it’s not working, seek help from your Health Visitor or local Breast Feeding Support.

If breastfeeding still doesn’t work, you have to formula feed or combination feed. You have to. End of story.

If you don’t want to breastfeed, then don’t.

If you want to stop breastfeeding then do so. Whenever you want.

If you don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, then don’t.


I was tempted to leave this post at that. But I have a few (ranty) points to make first.

Things I didn’t know about breast feeding before I had a baby:

1. Some women will care a great deal about how you feed your baby. You may not know them very well, but they will make it their business to get up in your grill to tell you just how vital breastfeeding is.

2. People will ask you if you are breastfeeding. (I’m talking Randomers. Receptionists, neighbours, total strangers. Not medical professionals).

3. It’s FUCKING DIFFICULT. Ok, not for everyone. But for a lot of women I know, it was a real struggle.

4. It’s a ridiculously emotional issue.

5. It hurts some women. A lot. More than you might expect. One friend said it felt like someone was twisting her nipple off with hot tongs. Ow.

My Experience…

I felt under a huge amount of pressure to breastfeed. I wanted to breastfeed. It didn’t work out for us. I really tried. Really really tried.

“Keep at it!” was the enthusiastic advice I was given by midwives, breastfeeding support ladies, friends.

My baby was readmitted to hospital at 4 days old with dehydration.

I felt sick.
I felt guilty.
Mostly I felt like a total failure.

I was given a schedule to formula feed every 3 hours and I continued to breastfeed as well. This left little time for much else.

My daughter gained a little weight and was discharged. She also had the tongue tie procedure to assist her latch, even though we weren’t even sure she required it. “It won’t do any harm,” the midwife said, just before slicing through flesh in my baby girl’s tiny mouth.

We went home. We saw a lactation consultant. I hired a medical grade breast pump. I was breastfeeding, expressing, topping up with formula and with expressed milk. Sterilising all the fucking time. I took fenugreek supplements. I did breast compressions until I had bruises.

It was a bleak time. I didn’t sleep. I was told to express in the middle of the night as this was the “best” time.

I tried several times to return to exclusive breast feeding. One breastfeeding support worker suggested I take to my bed over the Easter weekend and feed my baby every 2 hours for 4 days straight, day and night. My initial response was “Are you fucking high?!” But of course I just smiled and nodded, strapped my baby into her car seat and quietly cried all the way home.

As I began to come to terms with combined feeding my baby developed reflux. Screaming, thrashing, refusing to feed from bottle or breast for hours, then regurgitating it all up again anyway so we had to start all over again. I felt very sad and jealous of my breastfeeding friends with their hungry babies. My teeny tiny girl was thin and never hungry. I blamed myself. I can’t remember why. My husband was incredibly supportive but I still felt like a failure.

Then I just stopped punishing myself for something that was outside of my control. I applied my logical brain so I could see through the haze of toxic emotional crap attached to feeding.

I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed my baby to meet her needs but I could combination feed her. She needed food and I would give it to her. Some of it came from a carton but what the hell did that matter? Babies need to be fed. That’s all there is to it.

I will try to exclusively breastfeed my next baby, and I think my experiences this time around will put me in a stronger, more pragmatic frame of mind to deal with it. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, so be it.

Oh, and those breastfeeding nazis, The Breastapo, they can frankly go fuck themselves. They can take a running jump. How dare they tell anyone what they should do. I can’t quite figure out why they care so much about other people’s kids diets. Especially when I spotted one of the freaks who advised me (at a BF drop in clinic) to continue exclusively breastfeed because it was “the best possible food”, feeding her (overweight) 3 year old daughter KFC as they walked around the supermarket. Actually she’s very overweight herself. Maybe I should advise her on what “the best possible food” is.

I won’t do that though, of course. Because its none of my business.

Think this post was fun?
Next time…COLIC!!


6 Responses to “Breast is best except when it’s not.”

  1. @aniawl May 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    This is EXACTLY how I felt thorough this whole process. It nearly broke me. It affected the bond I was forming with the baby. And it made me feel like I had failed my child. Combination feeding was the best decision I had made in the whole of my child-rearing time (4 years so far, so I know it’s not much but still…). Once I recovered my brain for long enough to see through the haze of the breast-marketing I just felt a deep sorrow that nobody told me how hard it was going to be. In mine and my friends experience, the lovely mother-earthly experience of breastfeeding is the exception, not the norm. The rest of us and their babies have to work bloody hard at it. Tell me it’s going to be hard! I’ll take it on like a challenge that it is and do my best to make it happen. But maybe if it doesn’t work I won’t feel like such a failure of a human being!?

  2. naimavanswol June 17, 2013 at 5:56 am #


  3. ingloriousmother August 7, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    Reblogged this on ingloriousmother's Blog and commented:

    National Breasfeeding Week has prompted me to reblog this.


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