So it turns out I’ve been starving my baby. More about that in a moment.
Last night, I was breastfeeding while watching the news – as I’ve done so many times since I brought my beautiful little girl home from the hospital 8 weeks ago – when one story seemed to speak just to me.
BREASTFEEDING figures are in steady decline, even though national health guidelines recommend feeding infants the old-fashioned way.
A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found only 40 per cent of mothers still exclusively breastfeed their babies at three months and 15 per cent of mothers are still breastfeeding at five months.
This is despite health guidelines that recommend breastfeeding for the first six months.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare surveyed more than 28,000 parents, with the data to be fed into the national breastfeeding strategy.
According to the survey, the biggest reasons for using formula were wanting to share feeding with a partner (28.5 per cent) and the belief that it was as good as breast milk (26 per cent).
Only 7.8 per cent of mothers said they used formula because they wanted to return to work.
Since it is so close to Christmas there is nearly four generations of women staying in my home and so we muted the news and discussed the issue as it and my breasts were staring everyone in the face. Not only that, yesterday I picked up a script from the Chemist to help me produce more milk because I have been starving my baby.
That’s not the nicest thing to realise, I’m not in a third world country, I shouldn’t be starving my child, and yet here I was doing exactly that because I was determined to do what was best for my child, and yet I really wasn’t.
It started when I got home from hospital. The beautiful nurses did their best to help me feed, and it did work. By the time I left, after a lot of agonising coercing and pushing and pulling of my nipples and boobs into my child’s mouth I left with a beautiful baby latched to my breast. It really is the most beautiful thing in the world, seeing your child nourished from your own body, those big trustful eyes looking up you gulping away at a substance that gives them all they need and more. I was on top of the world and everyone around me was patting me on the back and congratulating me for conquering such a difficult task, and it really is difficult.
As I gingerly walked out of the safe confines of the hospital afraid of the outside world and the evils it potentially held for my helpless child, posters advertising breast feeding were plastered on every notice board. I got the point, breast is best, my breast is best and together me and my boobs would protect my baby from harm.
Two weeks later I was an emotional wreck, if my baby wasn’t crying she was latched to my chest sucking for dear life. Visitors would come and coo and first ask how breast feeding was going and then tell me that this was the best time because all babies do is eat and sleep.
Not my baby, all she would do is eat and cry.
She has colic one tribal elder would say.
She has reflux another.
Maybe she’s windy, give her Infacol, Infants friend or at least 20 minutes of winding, that should fix her.
I tried it all, I had too. I had already walked around Westfield with half my boob flapping in the air conditioning after desperately trying to console her in the long line in Medicare and popping a boob in her mouth to settle her and then frazzled and fatigued I had forgotten to put it all away.