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Grub grub – part 1 : breast milkMay 2, 2015

I wish I had known before I began, perhaps I wasn’t listening, or perhaps I really didn’t encounter, for nourishing has probably been my biggest worry over all these months.

It started out perfect, this gooey newborn fed like magic, took nourishment from my body as we marveled at his new face. It was just the once though, after that the battle began. If you are one of the many to have a jaundice baby you’ll know the first thing the hospital does is push formula, ‘flushing it out’ they say. Plus, it’s those micro starter bottles, handed out freely, accompanied by micro teats that require neither an open latch nor suckling. If I had known I would have decanted those bottles from the beginning. ‘Free’, did I mention? They are the most costly way to feed once you leave the confines of the hospital.

There is a lot of guilt placed by the constant push to nurse, the ‘best for baby’ mantra’s. The idea that it’s natural, that your body CAN do it, it’s just YOU failing. I remember sobbing uncontrollably when someone shared a photo of Adam being bottle fed, to know the world knew I’d failed. We got there eventually. For me nipple shields were my saviours, with them I could feed. Perhaps it was the silicon, but we had no trouble switching from bottle to breast and back. Nipple shields did sacrifice my modesty though, under the jumper feeding never was possible.

I wish I had known more, I wish I could go back and tell myself things. That it may take an hour at first and that was normal, comfort my tear stained face when I’d sat for over an hour and a half, known then, for sure, that I’d crossed the line. I could have told myself to buy more maternity clothes as they would get dribbled and sicked upon at every feed. I wish someone had explained baby lead and scheduled feeding and how to balance the two. I really wish someone would have warned me of the boredom – for however beautiful the cuddle is, once the child starts noticing it’s environment there is no accompaniment, no reading, surfing facebook, or even, on occasion, having a conversation. And there goes the guilt again, how could I even form the thought, but I did.

By 20 weeks he was down to bottles for all but his good morning feed. The guilt hit hard then. The nagging thought that I was really giving up. In hindsight it was madness, best for both of us to stop, and we’d given it a good blast… at least that’s what I kept repeating to myself. I’d try again, if God blesses us with another, but oh the things I’d change.