Today I made a decision.
I’d like to say I had no choice. That I was forced into it because Little One was losing weight. Or he was terribly jaundiced. Or I had mastitis or thrush like with Big One. I could blame his tongue tie.
But that would all be a lie. I totally had a choice. And I made it.
Based on what?
I could tenuously blame my physical health. I could blame the fact I feel like I have flu for three hours after the mammoth two hour feed at 10am. Or I could blame the five hour cluster feeds in the evening for being so exhausted and making me feel like a cow.
But really? They are crap excuses. There are women a million times the world over doing this day-in day-out without moaning about the exhaustion or the weakness. They are not moaning about feeling like a cow. They are enjoying this precious bonding time with their baby.
And I am not. I have started to resent feeding. I have started to cry whenever I need to feed. I am fed up of giving Big One excuses for two hours because he wants to play car races and I can’t play with him because Little One is eating. I have stopped enjoying the peaceful night time feeds and this morning I burst into tears when I woke up with a pyjama top soaked in milk.
I am just not cut out for this. I always wanted to be because I wanted to do the very best for both my babies. I feel guilty that I lasted over twice as long with Big One but I know I cannot sustain this beyond today.
Today I decided to stop breastfeeding.
I felt relieved.
I felt guilty.
So I did what I always do when I need someone to make me feel better. I phoned my Mum. My Mum is amazing. She breast fed me until I was a year old but has always advocated choice when it comes to feeding your own baby.
And as I sobbed down the phone to her, she reminded me that I have done a wonderful thing and that if this is how it makes me feel then I am right to stop. It is not worth sacrificing my mental wellbeing.
In short, she talked a bit of sense into me.
I still feel guilty that I have chosen not to persevere. That I am too selfish to put my baby’s needs before my own.
But after that phone call, I made Little One a bottle. It was expressed milk and the organiser in me has worked out that by feeding already expressed milk, Little One can continue to have breastmilk for another two weeks.
But the most wonderful thing happened. I fed him a bottle of milk. And instead of sobbing and Googling forums on my phone to find out whether I’m the only person who feels like this, I held my baby’s hand. I stroked his face and stared into his big blue eyes. I kissed his forehead and sang him ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’. And in that one feed, I bonded more emotionally with him than I had done in any others I have provided so far. I was mindful of that feed. I was mindful of my emotions. And I was mindful of my gorgeous little boy.
I still feel guilty and part of me always will.
But mostly? I just feel relieved.