Recently this blog has had alot of breastfeeding posts. That’s because I was successful feeding number2. But with my first son it wasn’t the case.
Turn the clock back 6 years. I was 16 and determined I would breastfeed. To the point I knew zilch about formula, had no bottles or sterilisers… And then he arrived. In a dramatic, 24 hour induced labour, failed ventouse, emergency csection with complications type arrival. Then in HDU I clotted seriously. Had my heart rate go sky high and required a blood transfusion of 6 pints. We went through the wars. I was unconscious and unable to feed so my mum cup fed him as she knew I wanted to breastfeed and a breastfeeding counsellor she knew about latch. Then he went off to scbu the next day for further complications. I visited him that night and painfully fed him. I couldn’t sit up straight without my whole body hurting. He had a good feed. The next day I expressed for him. It hurt. I had hard painful boobs. However despite me wanting to breastfeed I quickly fell into a depression as a result of the birth and being separated from my son and I couldn’t carrying on fighting. I gave into formula.
That decision haunted me for 5 years.
Every time the ‘breast is best’ message was mentioned in the media I would feel like a total failure. I knew in my heart formula had done him no damage and he had thrived on it. But still I’d failed. During that time though my understanding of his birth wasn’t great as I didn’t remember much.
In 2010 when I was pregnant with DS2 I went to a birth reflections midwife. We went through everything I’d been through. Everything I’d forgotten. We talked about my guilt. She made me see I’d done everything I could and she was amazed I’d tried despite the birth. After that I made peace with the fact I hadn’t managed to. And it fuelled my determination that I would try again. And the second time I’ve been successful. 18 months and counting.
Days like today when a new campaign is launched to tackle the dangers of 3rd world babies being formula fed when they don’t have clean water shouldn’t fuel negativity of the breastfeeding guilt. We can’t change the past. But we can accept our past and learn from it.