And that’s okay.
I wanted to. That was the plan. The funny thing about kids though… they don’t care about plans. We had all the gears – pump (electric and manual), bags to store milk in the freezer in, nipple cream, maternity bras, you name it.
At the end of the day though, I decided my mental health was more important. The birth really took it out of me. I’d been managing just fine all throughout the day during my latent labour but I was progressing slowly and then, all of a sudden, it was time. Baby didn’t care that I technically wasn’t in established labour (even when I got to the hospital I was only having two contractions in ten minutes), he wanted out and he wanted out now. Just two hours prior to my contractions soaring to 100 on the intensity scale I had only been 3cm dilated. I don’t even know how dilated I was in the end, there wasn’t time for that. All I know is the contractions really stepped it up and I was fighting the urge to push the entire ride over to the hospital.
We got to the hospital at about 11pm and he arrived at 12.55am. I sustained a second degree tear, fainted in the shower and we were on our way to the birth centre at 4am.
Over the next week we tried to breastfeed him. We had issues with the latch – he wouldn’t open his mouth wide enough to get on the breast properly – and even when he was on he would suck for about 30 seconds then stop (which is apparently an issue mum also had with me and she ended up having to bottle feed me, too). I would express and give him what little colostrum I could and we supplemented with formula. He was much happier drinking the formula and I was much happier giving it to him knowing he was getting enough and it was satisfying him.
All the trouble breastfeeding, paired with the exhaustion, the pain while recovering from my tear, the hormones/baby blues and my feelings regarding the birth felt like too much. I was overwhelmed, I was crying all the time and my baby blues lasted longer than a few days. My mum was concerned about me and so was my midwife. So we decided to stop breastfeeding. My husband was happy with whatever decision I made as all he cared about was Jackson getting fed.
Sure, I could have tried for longer. I could have tried for six weeks like my mum did with me, or a few months like others I know, but I know my limits and I could feel myself heading into a direction I did not want to go emotionally. I was struggling to bond with Jackson and I was spending most of my time crying or just feeling… blah. I wanted to enjoy these early days with my baby. So I stopped.
It’s been a week and a half since making the decision and we’re both better off for it. I’m much happier and coping much better than I was. I’m bonding my son. He’s fed, healthy and doing really well. And that’s all that matter isn’t it? That he’s healthy and well fed/cared for? That’s what I think anyway.
So no, I’m not breastfeeding. And that’s okay.
P.S. If you’re breastfeeding, that’s fantastic! I mean no disrespect to anyone with this post. In all honesty it’s main purpose is that it feels good to write it all down.