There is a lot of pressure on a new mum to breastfeed and many feel terrible if they cannot. There could be a number of reasons mothers cannot breastfeed, and I don’t think they should be judged because of it.
I for one found it difficult and twins made it even harder. After I had the girls I was pressured to have milk. I just had them and had no idea how to breastfeed. It was hard. I managed to express my milk but as I just had them I only got half a test tube and that would not feed a hungry baby. For me this was important to try as Lillian was on nil by mouth and not taking to the formula, however Julia found formula fine. I did manage to make more each day and every time I got some more I rushed it down to the NICU. However I do understand how upsetting this is to a new mum and how miserable you feel about not being able to give your baby what they need instantly.
I wanted to give the kid’s breast milk and was able to do this for about 5 months solidly. However, when I came home from hospital, the first weekend was terrible. I was so pleased to be home and not to be pregnant that I stopped drinking fluids. My milk was depleted as every 3 hours I was feeding and then expressing to feed again. I did try the dual hold to feed the girls without expressing my milk, although this ended up badly, Lillian always ended up not on properly and falling down the side of the lounge between pillows and cushions. Then I would lose Julia as well. I could not do it by myself and I had no help. So bottles with expressed milk it was. As my milk was not there on Sunday night I decided to make formula for the evening feeds to have my milk replenish. My husband asked if I had been drinking any water, and more fluids and I said no, I did not want to constantly go to the bathroom all the time. He said that this was my problem. So after that, every time I feed the girls, I drank a pint of water, and then expressed my milk again, and so it went. I was lucky to have a good supply until about 5 months and then it was only a little bit until the week before the girls were 8 months it dried up all together.
I must say that I wish I could have had 100% breast milk; however I worked with the situation. I had two hungry babies that wanted food all the time. I was not making enough and my body needed to rest to make more milk. I think what we did was the best for our situation.
So it was with great interest that I read Paul Chai’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald, about New Zealand footballer Piri Weepu, who fed his new born son with a bottle. (Piri was attacked for bottle feeding his child rather than using breast milk) I for one think it is just lovely to see a father want to be part of their child’s life. I really think the issue is up to the parents on whether they bottle feed or breast feed. Who knows what is in the bottle is breast milk, as it was mostly with us. I think the pictures of Piri with his baby are just lovely.
Why do organisations make people feel bad for what they are doing? Everyone knows breast is best, however what you do if you cannot provide this for whatever reasons. As long as the baby is healthy, developing on target, happy and hitting their milestones. There is not a problem.
Men who want to be part of this wonderful experience of feeding their child should be. The bonding that happens between father and child is great as well and should not just be for mother and baby. Having a partner, husband, father that is willing to help and to feed a baby gives the mother a much deserved break. Why is this so bad?
I say it does not matter what you decide as long the baby is healthy. What are your thoughts?