Before Sid arrived, back in the mists of time, I decided to myself that I didn’t want to breast feed and would rather go for the bottle. My argument was that bottle feeding surely wasn’t that much better for babies and anyway, all that stuff about breast feeding and bonding was bollocks, because surely if it were that true, no baby would be able to bond with their dads. Mark was happy, because he wanted to get involved, and that was that.
A few months down the line, I was starting to change my mind and had done my reading about how breast milk really was pretty amazing stuff, and while still not hugely into the idea of it, I was ready to be persuaded into the way of boob and decided not to make a decision on what way to approach feeding.
In hospital (we were there a grand total of eighteen hours, including labour and delivery), when I was asked, I decided to give breast feeding a go. The first try, with the help of a friendly midwife with all the time in the world, seemed to go well. The next morning wasn’t quite so good, and a very very busy midwife gave me a brief bit of help, then rushed off, while I struggled unsuccessfully, then came back and showed me how to hand express, which was put in a syringe and shoveled into Sid.
I had another go at home, which he was even less interested in, and we decided to gave it up as a bad job and switch to bottles. My midwife came over for the day one checks, and was more than supportive with the decision, pointing out that my milk would come in around day three, and I would probably want to scream if anyone came near my boobs at that point, but not to touch them.
On day two, things started to get more than a little bit sore and I resigned myself to a few days of breast pads and not being able to sleep on my side. By day five, I was taking paracetamol for the pain, and had this awful feeling of pins and needles every few hours. I was struggling to even be in the same room as Sid when he had a bottle as the pain was so awful!
In between all that, the baby blues had hit in full force, and I spent quite a lot of time in tears, feeling entirely guilty for my choice, and that I hadn’t given breast feeding a fair crack. In spite of repeated reassurance from Mark that I had, but if I wanted to try again, I could, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. After a fourth unsuccessful go, I really felt like I had to let go of the idea of breast feeding.
After almost a week of leaky, sore blimps though, I hit upon a win win solution- I’d express. After a brief bit of internet searching, I couldn’t find anything that said the magical qualities of boob milk were reduced by expressing, and so I hurried off to tescos to buy a manual breast pump. After a brief few minutes feeling like a dairy, I was very pleased with myself having managed to siphon off almost an ounce of milk, which Sid duly drank from a bottle without sussing that it was any different to the formula, and I went to sleep on my front for the first time in about six months- bliss!
A week on from that, and I’ve taken to expressing every evening before bed. I don’t get a huge amount out, about 15mls each time, which I collect up and give to Sid every couple of days- I’m sure if I did it more frequently, more milk would be available, but at the moment, I’m happy with the situation in that my boobs don’t hurt, and the boy wonder gets a little bit of ‘breast is best’ every few days, which has allayed my feelings of overwhelming guilt, without any of the worry of panicking about whether he’s getting enough or the stress of him crying while pecking around my nipples in an ineffective manner.
It’s working for us, and frankly, that’s all that should matter!