Why I didn’t Breastfeed – A Mother’s Story
I have a 14 month old daughter who I didn’t breastfeed. I would have loved to have tried but I think my reasons for not breastfeeding were basically the opposite to why other women did. Not being from a breastfeeding background, I wasn’t exposed to it. I didn’t know a single woman… friend/family/colleague who has or is breastfeeding.
I’m ashamed to say that I’m a health care professional so I know the whole ‘breast is best’ campaign but in my opinion, info and education without support and normalisation seem pointless. I’ve a colleague who is a midwife, she told me breastfeeding is just crazy and her colleagues hate women who breastfeed, that they’re just so much hard work. Great start…
I wasnt breastfed nor were my siblings or my husband and his siblings. Both my mother in law and my mother told me I’d be crazy to even try – despite the fact that neither of them even tried. I don’t know why I took their word for it. They told me that my father and my husband’s father wouldn’t be able to cope around me and I was upset to think my dad wouldn’t visit me or the baby as I’m very close to him but wouldn’t have had any intention to feed in front of him, he still leaves the room if I’m changing my daughter Both mums also told me it was very ‘animal like’ to breastfeed and that I wouldnt be able to cope with up to 20 hours of feeding a day, not being able to do or eat x, y, z etc. My husband also hated idea of breastfeeding. He thought it would mean that we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere, he didn’t want people looking at my boobs, didn’t think he would connect with the baby…
I’ve never once said to anyone that I regret not breastfeeding. No one knows that I sat with my daughter skin to skin when she was just a few days old and my husband had returned to work in the hope she would know what to do when I didn’t. I believe those moments were really special and really helped me to bond with her and be driven by her cues and my instincts.
I just wish I had been stronger, that I’d spent more time seeking out support rather than negativity and ‘grown a pair’. I’m pregnant again and would love to try again this time but I do have niggly doubts. I am already dropping hints to my husband and our mothers and pointing out that it is me who provided all bottles to our daughter on demand and still do so how I feed this baby would not have a major impact on them.
I saw both mums two hours after my little girl was born and then my mum came for another visit four weeks later and my mother in law six weeks later. They were always on the end of the phone but no visits by their choice. Apparently I’m “very independant and well able to get on with things ” I had no car at the time and a second/third degree tear and my husband worked shifts over an hour from home.
In fairness I dont blame anyone but myself and they felt they were telling me what they knew best but I love the idea that ‘exposing’ my daughter to breastfeeding, normalising it and hopefully being able to support her in the future if she chooses to breastfeed would also be an amazing legacy for not just her but also her children.