Monday, 29 July 2013

"You won't be stupid enough to breastfeed your second baby!"

Yeah, you read that title right.

When she said that I took a sharp intake of breath too and wondered who the hell she thought she was.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time I'd heard this statement from someone. Before all the bottle feeding readers click away, I'll make my stance clear - I'm pro choice. I don't really give a crap what anyone does. I believe that parenting, like religion and politics is one of the most polarising topics to discuss and within the realm of parenting issues, bottle V breast has to be one of the most contentious.

I made a choice to breastfeed. My reasons are my own. I believed it to be the best option for me and my baby. I don't judge others for choosing to bottle feed but if someone asks me what I felt was best for me then every time my answer is breast.

You don't have to look far to witness the breastfeeding propaganda that new mothers are surrounded by. In my maternity hospital waiting room I counted 16 posters all referring to the benefits. I think that ramming it down everyone's throats is actually having the opposite effect. Bottle feeding parents often complain to me about how they are made to feel that they are damaging their child, selfish and useless. That they are judged by the breast brigade to be inadequate. I believe that there are a number of people out there who do perpetrate these opinions, I am not one of them.

It appears though that it doesn't matter which feeding option you choose, you are judged. In my experience as a breastfeeding mother I have had to put up with many negative comments about my choice. From the opinion of the above person who feels that I was 'stupid' to breastfeed first time round as JC had terrible colic, was fussy and didn't sleep well (obviously all of this was caused by my breastfeeding making him clingy and attached) to the 'It's just a bit gross' group who are uncomfortable with the thought of snuggling a baby to your breast (and God forbid you do this in public, I mean who wants to see something so perverse!).

I had a great experience of breastfeeding JC, it wasn't easy and it took perseverance but for me and him it was the right decision. In the darkest days of my post natal depression, it was all the held us together. It kept the bond between us intact. Many postnatally depressed mum's talk about a lack of attachment to their baby, I never felt that thankfully and I think that was due to the feeding. I think it's hard to explain the feeling (a bit like trying to describe an orgasm to a virgin) but there was something so magical in those wee small hours when sitting in a darkened room feeding your baby. The knowing that I was sustaining and nurturing him with my own body. He used to curl his fingers round my pinkie finger and squeeze it while suckling. These were the happiest times for me. I remember when he turned 8 months and started to refuse the breast, opting for a cup of milk instead, I cried. Proper heavy hearted snortling cries because I knew that I had to let go of that special connection with him that had been a crutch for me during the tough times.

I expect the first few weeks of breastfeeding this second baby to be hard work. I am prepared for the cracked bleeding nipples, the possibility of mastitis and the feeding in toilets and the car because you are made to feel dirty for feeding in public. Equally, I am excited about regaining my figure in a timely fashion through the natural uterine contractions that feeding stimulates and that close bond I am going to feel with my new baby.

The first feed - breasts like bloody melons! 
So I guess I am stupid enough to breastfeed again and I don't give a shit what anyone thinks of me!


  1. I loved breast feeding Claire and would have carried on longer with my son (we got to 6 months) if I hadn't become pregnant again so quickly and my milk dried up. I guess I must have been really lucky not to encounter negative reactions because I know many people do.

    I got to 10 months with my daughter before she started to self wean.

    For me it was the right choice and an incredibly special time that I didn't want to end.

    Enjoy every moment feeding your baby xx

  2. I breasfed a a little while with my first but for a whole host of reasons i found the experience very bad and decided to swap to formula feeding. I must say that i did feel judged and did again when I had my daughter BUT I don't care anymore and I think you are right not to care either. I was at a point of explaining my life history everytime someonone asked me why I didn't love my baby enough to breast feed and just thought "why am I explaining myself to this stranger?".

    We should be making choces that are best for us and our children and that should be it. I struggle to understand why people are against mothers breastfeeding in public. I don't get it. I have tried to assume their perception to try to understand but I can't get my head around it at all. I mean if mums were sitting about with there boobs hanging out waiting for hungry children to wander past I could understand but mums are feeding their children with discretion. I don't get it.

    I'm against young girls trotting aorund with their arses literally hanging out of their teeeny weeny 'should definitely be illegal' shorts, maybe I'll start a campaign against that!

  3. I remember them well - natural uterine contractions - and was forced to remember them by OK Magazine drawing everyone's attention to Kate's tummy. I instantly wondered if she would BF knowing that if she did, this would be one of the benefits.

    Great post m'lady xxx


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