Today is the day, I farewell the battle, the bond and the beauty that is breastfeeding.
Right now, I think I’m bordering on reflection and slight denial in my grieving process.
I have been slipping in and out of the so called ‘stages’ for days now, probably even weeks. It’s a funny thing really, as I desperately cling onto the last shreds of what was. So many moments I just wanted to give up and find a better answer, but I persevered. Sleepless nights worrying was I putting enough effort in, was there something more I could do, when it literally felt like I was giving my blood, sweat and tears. You took so much from me, but I wanted it to keep going for at least a little while longer. It has been the most challenging, grueling, yet rewarding relationships I ever encountered and today I wanted to publicly wish you adieu.
It’s 6.15AM. I’ve brought you into bed for our morning feeding ritual. As you fumble your way in the dark and latch, I think come on, we can both do this. You start to suckle and I know it’s not going to be long before…..fark me!!!!!!! THE BITE. Oh the sheer pain of having three little teeth bite down hard on your nipple. My little baby is finally saying mumma, you ain’t got no milk to bring no boys to the yard. Best you close up shop and bring in the professionals. Cue the formula brigade thanks.
Some of you may think I am using the stages of grief analogy is the wrong context or maybe I am being a little overdramatic. Some of you will think I have nailed it on the head. Because like every part of being a mother, there is no experience exactly the same. Most of the time, there is no right or wrong, it is simply what works for you. Will you bottle or breastfeed, will you decide to co-sleep from the start or reluctantly down the track. Every mother and every baby is different no matter want the nature vs nurture debate says.
I have days when I look in the mirror with blackened bags under my eyes, trying to remember ever being so tired. When I have been covered in vomit or poo or had baby food thrown in my face after trying to be the new gourmet baby chef. I have cried so hard because I just couldn’t find the solution or provide in the way I wanted. Or as my girlfriend’s and I were joking the other day, that as new mothers we all spoke the new language of stupid. Cause let’s face it, even I’ve been surprised at the crap that I’ve said on a sleep deprived day.
The funny fails of sleep deprived mums. Post continues below.
But along with the hardship that is parenthood, there is thankfully way, way more of the good. I still can’t believe how this tiny creature has also become the love of my life. Ok I better say my hubby is still on equal par. As much as I couldn’t even imagine my life without her, I do look back to those baby free sleep ins and late night partying with fondness. But as I’ve said before, it is all worth it, as this girl has officially broken me.
Every day they rock your world with something that could be so simple but it opens you and leaves your vulnerable, hormonal heart for the taking. Forget about watching the news, films about kids or hell even a nappy commercial without welling up. So, when it comes to the monolithic journey that has been breastfeeding, for me, it comes as a very mixed bag of emotions that it has to end.
You see for some women, breastfeeding is a walk in the park. Baby pops out (ok we know they don’t just pop out, but this is a blog about breastfeeding, not having your vagina rip in half), is placed on breast, then away they go for up to x amount of years. Friends had even said to me, oh gosh, you’re so going to be one of those mums who are still breastfeeding their 7 year old. I might not have gone quite that far, but I really wanted it to be longer than 8 months.
I should really stop myself right now though and give myself a major pat on the back. As I have been the other variety of breastfeeding mums. One who has struggled with it from the start. There was luckily no mastitis or cracked nipples like some poor mums, but there was bad latching, tongue tie, vasospasm, lactation consults one after another. I even found out the other day I have postpartum hypothyroidism which also effects milk supply, which at least explains why it was such a struggle. But for me, the killer was expressing nearly every day since I had this little lady. My former breasts that I had become quite fond up, have literally had the life sucked out of them. All I can say is hallelujah for the day push up bras were invented. But I did all this for Bonnie as that is what I wanted for her.
I need to state, this is not a breast is best rant in any form. I completely get why parents choose to go formula. Some out of necessity, some out of preference and as I said there is no right or wrong- You do what works for you. The main reason I kept going was then it did work, I loved breastfeeding. I loved the closeness and the bond I felt. But since giving her the bottle more and more, I know that still exists as it is foremost about feeding a hungry little baby and that is far greater than the battle of boob vs bottle.
So weeks ago when I was in shock that this was happening, I did of course try to deny it by continually offering the boob even as the bites became more frequent. I got angry and guilty with myself that after all this hard work, these former shells of themselves couldn’t produce some measly milk. So I tried to bargain with her - I’ll still offer the boob first and then you can have the bottle. I felt alone and sad as the realisation it was coming to an end. Even though, since I’m starting work soon, it was inevitable.
As I sit here typing away, I realise that out of function I of course put on a maternity bra this morning. You know those giant, sexy ones with the clips that allow you to expose your breast to the world if you so desired. I’m not sure about other mothers, but I have certainly never felt sexy wearing them. So as I have this realisation that I do not now need to wear these anymore, that I can start to wear tops that don’t make it easier to whip out my titties in public places, that I can actually have more than a few wines... Maybe that is another step towards acceptance as my baby happily chugs another bottle of formula down.
This article was originally published on Destination: Some Place Else and was republished here with full permission.
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