Its a weird one for me, being successful at breastfeeding this time. For those that don’t know with Pickle we managed just a couple of feeds whilst he was in NICU and that was where our breastfeeding relationship ended. At the time I was so out of it following a horrendous birth I didn’t really take that much in of the general choice to give him formula. I remember lying in theatre having been there probably about 2 hours by this stage and them saying they needed to cup feed him a bit as he was hungry, I was barely concious so didn’t even register it! I hadn’t planned to bottle feed, I had no equipment, as far as I was concerned boob was the way I was going.
In the months after Pickles birth the guilt became more and more over the fact I didn’t breastfeed him. Now don’t get me wrong this guilt isnt because bottle is bad! Its not! I have a perfectly healthy child to show for that! The guilt comes from my own mind and my own expectations of myself and the pressure I put myself under. I never in a million years imagined I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed and although everyone tells me I was in no fit state to be able to do it I don’t really remember that much, I don’t really remember deciding that the pain from trying was too much and to continue with formula. I do remember the first time I gave him a bottle and how alien it felt. How I’d not imagined this is what it would be like.
With Moo’s pregnancy, unlike with Pickles where I had expected to put baby to boob and thus it worked and off we went, having learnt that wasn’t always the case I researched breastfeeding and methods, techniques, possible problems until the cows came home! We havent had an easy ride of it, well he has, Mummy has ample milk supply, infact has oversupply, and I’ve let him feed even with a bad latch, its mummy that has suffered with the painful nipples, the swearing and toe curling every time he latched on. In the past month or so its got better and we’ve finally cracked it. I’ve now been breastfeeding for 14 weeks.
Every day that I feed moo with my own body I feel guilty that Pickle never got that. I feel like a bad Mum because I managed it this time around but not with him. I worry that he knows he didn’t get fed the same way. Irrational I know but they are thoughts that just don’t escape me.
One thing my breastfeeding experiences with both boys has taught me is breastfeeding is no where near as natural as you expect. It takes time to learn how to position the baby properly, how to get a good latch, how to survive blocked ducts, thrush, painful nipples, cracked nipples. The lot. Its no wonder so many choose outright to bottle feed. And yet I still feel guilty that Pickle didn’t get it. Will that guilt ever go? I don’t know. Maybe.