Monday, March 26, 2012

A rollercoaster called......

Why breastfeeding of course?! Strange topic for a blog post I know, and feel free to stop reading now if it doesn't interest you (as with any of my blogs) but I am feeling quite profound and deep today. Must be my new desk (blog post to come on the makeover extrordinaire!!)

The Breast versus bottle debate has been of hot topic lately, on Facebook and pages especially, but its a constant cause of arguements, and trust me, I am not about to start one, more sharing how I have felt about me journey/s with our cherubs.

I believe that Breastfeeding a baby would have to be THE BIGGEST emotional rollercoaster a mother has to endure. The pressure put on you by society, healthcare professionals and other Mothers is second to none with the pressure we place on ourselves. Constantly second guessing and doubting yourself , and your supply/technique/ timing is hard work, and before long, it all starts to take its toll.
Isn't it funny that your body requires sleep, proper nutrition and a constant and adequate intake of water, to produce milk and that of a high quality, yet it is the most sleep deprived, mal -nourished state that we will ever be in?! I don't know about anyone else, but the last thing I think of during the day, when I have a newborn, is eating myself. My needs go by the waste-side, and that of our baby/babies has always come first. This may have been my issue all along, who knows? All I do know is , that breastfeeding has never come easy to me, but my determination has got me through in the end.
The pressure I have felt  by some people to feed my babies, has always haunted me, and then on the other hand, the pressure I have felt to place them on a bottle, has angered me. Its like you can never get it right, but ultimately, its our decision, my decision and I have always treasured that. People are always quick to judge and even quicker to give their opinion and comments. Do I really need to know that you had so much milk you had to get rid of some before feeding your baby? Do I need to know that you gave up within 2 weeks? Share, sure, but sometimes oversharing , especially when you are feeling vulnerable, can often make things worse.
 I have always had our childrens best interests at heart, as have any mother, but I just wanted to give it a go. To say I tried, and thats the best anyone could do.

I am not the best feeder in the world (sorry if its Too much information, but I am real, this is real) and have always struggled to maintain a good supply and keep my babies satisfied for the length of time deemed to be appropriate, but who determines that? Who says that a baby should be fed only every 3-4 hours? Doctors? Nurses? A mother knows what is right by their own child, and thats how the schedule should be made. Sure, if a baby is demanding every 2 hours, its a pretty short length of time, but if you are prepared to get up and feed all that time, than power to you , I say!
I have taken supplements, herbs, baked cookies, eaten this, not eaten that, drank X amount of water , and tried (as much as a mother with newborn/s can) to sleep and rest , you name it, I have done it. All for milk supply. All to justify to myself and more so, to others that I "Have enough milk for my baby". All to avoid judgement and snide comments. But more for my baby, because in the end, thats why I am doing this.

If you are a good feeder, have an abundance of milk, and have never felt this way, then you are lucky. You are blessed and you should embrace it, however if you aren't , and you are much the same as me, I am sure you are relating to every word I say.
This emotional rollercoaster is hard.

I will never forget the day , that a paediatrician said to me that my beautiful baby boy (Max) had an allergy. He was allergic to milk protein. In my milk, in formula, in everything. He had to be placed on Prescription formula, or he was never going to be free from pain. And I wanted that. So desperately. I wanted my boy to sleep longer than 20 minutes at a time. Day and night. Seriously, twins and a baby waking every 20 minutes, how did we survive?
But we did, and I had to make the emotional decision to feed one baby and bottle feed the other. Twins. My two babies that I so desperately wanted to treat equally , and was more than conscious of doing so. But, he was happy, he started sleeping and the screaming stopped. Enough said. (He also had Reflux, BAD, and the meds worked a treat)
And you know what?! Max and Lacey are one in the same. Sure, Max is better at talking , (Lacey is more quiet and mischeiveous) but Lacey is better at climbling ladders, walking up slides and scaling furniture. Neither of them is better than the other, more advanced, or dampened by their form of nutrition and feeding. If you ever feel pressured or have been told that what you are doing/have done is wrong, they are prime examples.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE feeding my babies, but I am not anti formula either. From 2 weeks old, Stella was supplemented at night and slept through from 10 weeks, got to love that. Formula is great, and if I didn't want to feed or it eventuated that I just couldn't through lack of supply, I would be more than happy to bottle feed, but I do love it, and we are going great. Especially this time.
Feeding Angus has been the easiest out of my 3 pregnancies/sets of newborns. And for the first time in 4 years, I am enjoying it, and feel confident.
And its nice.
Really nice.
Lets hope I can continue until he is 12 months, and that my goal when I was first pregnant with Stella, 4 years ago, can finally be realised!

PLEASE know, this is NOT an attack on anyone, or any form of feeding. But a statement about me and my experiences.
Care to share yours? Go for it!! You never know, there may be someone out that that can relate, or just needs to hear the words you have to say!


  1. Thankyou for this post Liz. My breastfeeding experience was less than ideal, and by 12 weeks my daughter's "formula supplements" just turned into formula. It is really nice to hear from someone who has had so many different breastfeeding experiences, because it gives me the confidence to try again with my next baby, and not just presume that it will all go downhill again.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, especially as it is such a sensitive subject amongst mothers, and opens us up to so much critiscism when we are at our most vulnerable. I'm so happy to hear that you are feeling so confident now feeding Angus. Hearing stories like this really inspires me, and also reminds me that for every mother who has judged me in public, there are also mothers like you, who have been on both sides of the breast/bottle ride, and just see a happy baby :)

  2. You're a champ Liz!!! Breast feeding is harder than labour I reckon...theres away too much pressure on mums these days...we need to relax and go with the flow and trust our instincts. If you can breast feed, great. If you can but don't like it, great. Bottlefeeding? Go for bubs were bottlefed after months of struggling to gain adequate supply, pill popping and pumping like crazy, only to have them spew everything back up again, and yes I think, why me...why couldn't I get that right? But they're both very happy, healthy and smart little girls!!, Helena's....

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences :D

    My first daughter was lactose intolerant and at about 5-6 weeks old I made the decision to swap from breast to a lactose free formula. In all honesty I was fed up with breast feeding at that point, I was tired, sore, confused and I had a baby that just screamed. When she had her first few bottles I was suddenly left with a different baby and finally felt able to bond.

    With my 2nd daughter I was more educated, knew what I had to do, I was prepared for everything that parenting brings, I was ready to not sleep, I had breast pumps, nipple shields, shed loads of cream and most importantly for me - no bottles. And I did it. She fed from me until she self-weaned at 13 months and she never had a drop of formula. It was the hardest thing I have ever ever ever done. And whilst I am proud that I stuck at it I can still remember the constant problems I had. 4 bouts of mastitus, had to use nipple shields to feed and my baby fed hourly - on a good day.

    Now I look at the differences between them and I do sometimes wonder if my feeding choice made that difference. Both girls got a sickness bug from nursery, my eldest was sick for 24 hours, pale, weak, my youngest (the breastfed one) was sick twice. And that's the only time she's been sick since she was a baby. Did I do that? Is that my 'fault'? I'll never know I guess!

  4. I have had a lot of trouble breastfeeding. And I beat myself up for it for a very long time. I think the first 4 months of Noah's life I spent putting myself down everyday for not being able to feed him. I was more successful with Chloe but still not great, and I tried a lot of things to help with supply but it wasn't working. I am hoping I will be 3rd time lucky when we have another!
    Thank you for sharing your story, Liz xxx

  5. Hi Liz, It's so sad we as Mums feel so much pressure to be perfect! I couldn't breastfeed either of my boys- I have a terrible reaction to a hormone produced by milk production.
    My son H was allergic to milk protein too- gosh it's horrible when you don't know what is wrong- i still remember him screaming for hours on end with reflux caused by his allergy!
    Thanks for taking the time to write about this issue- you put it so beautifully- its tricky to word it without making peole feel attcked but you have done a wonderful job and certainly made me feel better about not breastfeeding,
    Thanks, Pip- My Life of Chaos


Thankyou for taking the time to read and more importantly comment on my blog. They are all so appreciated! Liz x