Are our breastfeeding expectations too high?

Here I am back at the debatable topic of breastfeeding. After reading an article in the Independent this week by Kathy Donaghy, it was scary how much I could relate to how she felt after having her first child.

She went on to write that, ‘the pressure to breastfeed has some mothers beating themselves up when it doesn’t work out. Kathy says no one should feel like a failure for deciding to bottle feed. I totally agree! I had planned on breastfeeding years before I’d decided to actually have a baby. It’s just what I wanted to do, it’s what nature had intended for women, so I thought how hard could it be?

Well God bless me is all I have to say! Kathy Donaghy couldn’t have put it better, ‘after coming through labour (and it’s not called labour for nothing), exhausted and drained, I believed, I could just sit back and relax and feed my child as nature intended. The reality could not have been more different’……I hear ya Kathy!

I thought I was armed with the knowledge that I needed to start this natural process and as much as the midwife helped Olivia latch on, in the end she hurt me so bad from not being latched on properly that, (as I’ve said before), my nipples were so toe curlingly painful I just had to stop.
I cried so much on day 3 behind the hospital curtain for feeling like a failure, that this thing I had wanted to do so badly, wasn’t working out for me.
The nurse, my boyfriend and later on, the other mothers in the ward that had heard me cry rallied round and reassured me that I wasn’t a failure.
I continued to express at home but in the end I started to feed Olivia formula milk.

Once I got over the shock of having to sterilize bottles (funny how I wasn’t prepared for that)! I felt a huge sense of relief that my baby was being fed another way, my breasts were left to heal and I could enjoy my newborn baby properly.

But to this day, 9 months after giving birth, I will encourage any woman to give breastfeeding a try and if it doesn’t work out, we’re not a failure as a mother. Don’t let others judge us. It’s better to be happy while feeding than feeling miserable everyday.

At that point, we’ve gone through so much already that we need to give ourselves a break and if you ask me…. a pat on the back!

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