When trying to decide what to write my first Mummy blog on I decided I wanted to speak for those of us that have been made to feel the mummy guilt by feeding our babies through formula instead of breast-feeding. This may not always have been our first choice…
As most mums will have experienced during your pregnancy at each midwife appointment, breastfeeding was always brought up. “Breast is Best” is a term that I feel should be put on each midwives tombstone (I joke).
When deciding about how to feed my little one I had always said I would give breastfeeding a go.
- I had read all the benefits to it
- I knew that it would be a nice bonding experience between my little one and me.
I remember my mum saying to me not to put too much pressure on myself with breastfeeding, which I did not understand until after my experience.
My labour was not the best. My little one was FINALLY born with no issues healthy, as could be, however, it was myself that had the issues. I ended up losing a lot of blood and retaining my placenta which I had no idea could happen.
Anyway, when my little one was born and they flung him on me within about 10 mins of him being cleaned up I was asked to try breastfeeding. Now with the blood loss, being stitched up and the pain of my placenta I was drifting in and out of consciousness. There was no way I was in any fit state physically or mentally to even hold my child, which at the time was heart breaking in itself.
After a while, I was rushed to surgery where I ended up having to be given a general anaesthetic instead of local as first agreed due to the situation changing to emergency.
Once awake and back through to my suite where my poor partner and mum were pacing I found out that my gorgeous baby boy had not been fed (the midwives decision) from when he was born at 16:48 to my return about 21:40 because they wanted me to try breastfeeding.
I could not believe he had not had anything he must have been starving. Due to being made to feel guilty that I had not fed my child due to the life or death surgery I had, I was about to try to find some strength to sit up and begin the process. Just then a very experienced midwife and my consultant came in and explained that I wouldn’t be able to due to just been given a general anaesthetic and most likely currently not being able to produce any milk.
At this point my son finally got his first bottle of milk which he took to instantly as was obviously so hungry.
For the next 24 hours, he was bottle fed until I was up and walking about. As I was given blood transfusions, I was bed bound.
After this period, I thought about giving breastfeeding a go again. However, I was producing no milk. No milk appeared therefore I was unable to breastfeed, as I had no milk to give.
My mummy guilt was continued when reading my notes about how I “refused” to breastfeed. I ended up really upset by this as I didn’t refuse it was physically impossible for me to. Luckily, with the support around me I managed not to dwell on this and overcome my guilt.
This happens to many women but society forgets that there is us mummies that want to breastfeed but cannot and have a different type of “mummy guilt”.
When having my 2nd baby I had decided from the start I am preparing to bottle feed and made it clear at each appointment of my preference as I wasn’t setting myself up to feed again when I physically could.
Luckily, in the June before I was going to give birth the rulings changed that Midwives were not to pressure pregnant women into breastfeeding.
This came as such as a relief as during labour when I answered bottle fed to the feeding question it was met with ‘ok’ and nothing else….thank goodness for this as once again I produced NO milk.
As I look, into the topic I am more and more amazed how there does not seem to be anything mentioned for woman like myself. We are forced to pay the average £10 a tub of formula that if you have a hungry baby like my 2nd you go through more than one a week.
So first, we are punished by being made to feel guilty by healthcare “professionals” because we cannot feed our child ourselves although we want to. The Government who stops formula from being reduced in any promotions so we have to pay full price for first stage milk. They also advertise all over TV and literature how we should be breastfeeding and then finally we can’t receive any clubcard or advantage card points on these purchases due to I believe the government stating that we should not be benefited from buying formula. So the ‘mummy guilt’ continues.
Breastfeeding is not for everyone and each person should be allowed their own opinion on this however it really hurts me when you see so many people advocating for it (as they should) but making us that didn’t breastfeed feel bad about it. Sometimes it is not a choice not to breastfeed. However, I must say both of mine are healthy as can be and I still have a very close bond with each of them.
This is a topic that is so close to my heart as I felt and hope that some woman who are in the same position as me don’t dwell on this and know that they are great mums no matter how their child is fed.