Parenting comes with a million decisions and from even before the birth you second guess if you are making the right ones. One decision I made a long time before I got pregnant probably from as early as childhood myself was that I was going to breastfeed. It was not really a decision so much as all I knew, my mother breastfed four children exclusively and only put my youngest sister on formula when she needed to treat post natal depression with prescription drugs. All of her friends breastfed and it just seemed normal. My decision was only further supported when I started reading up on how to breastfeed and the information on all the benefits.
So when Madame was born and I was already worried I might have chosen the wrong pushchair or if letting her co-sleep would lead to problems later on but I was not terribly worried about my decision to breastfeed. I though at any moment the ease that I had seen my mother feed her children would come and I would have a bond with my child due to the amazing gift I was giving her. Weeks passed and it didn’t come, sometimes in the dead of the night when I had only drifted off less than an hour before and her cries would come that she wanted more I would cry as I fed her from the shear exhaustion.
Every time she would spit up over and over again I would curse all those women and books who said breastfed babies spit up less than bottle fed babies. Curse every health professional who said it to my face as I tried to find help and make sure the spitting up was normal, especially the one who looked at me like as I was being melodramatic because everyone knows that yup you guessed it breastfed babies spit up less than bottle fed babies (props to Madame for soaking three outfits in rapid succession in front of this woman).
I cried to myself and to my mother on the phone because breastfeeding was suppose to make me love my baby more and sometimes I just really didn’t want to feed her, not that I didn’t love her or want the best for her but I just needed 5 minutes to think. I cried in private when one of the breastfeeding mothers from our birthing class complemented me for how easily I breastfed in public and managed to make it look easy because really I felt like I was falling apart and I was the last person she should look up to. I cried because it was suppose to get easier at six weeks and I held out and it didn’t feel like it did. I cried because my let down was so powerful it hurt and took my breath away
Then I stopped crying, I had options I could bottle feed no one was stopping me I CHOSE to breastfeed, I truly believe it is the best option for my baby. I took a long hard look and made some observations.
1. Maybe breastfed babies were suppose to spit up less, mine doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that she is not gaining all the other benefits from breastfeeding it just means I have more laundry to do. Bottle feeding would not make her less sickie and would probably make her more sickie.
2. 6 weeks is a figure that is thrown out there to when breastfeeding will become established, it is not a magic switch that goes off. To be honest I was established at 6 weeks, the ease and partnership between Madame, myself, and my breasts came it just didn’t come until some where around the 10th week really not that long is the scheme of my breastfeeding career with Madame or her life in general.
3. It was unfair to me to try and compare my lack of feeling ease with breastfeeding with the breastfeeding I remembered my mother doing as most of those memories came from my youngest brother who was my mother’s fourth child. On top of that my mother is a very different person than I am and has a selflessness I am just now starting to understand as a mother and am still years from even coming close to.
Last week that moment happened I had dreamed of happening, I pick up a warm still half sleeping baby at 10pm and she nuzzled in and latched on and in the dark room propped up on the bed she cuddled as she fed and I found peace.