When Breast isn’t Best

Before anyone starts jumping on a bandwagon, please hear me out on this. Of course breast milk is the best for nutrients and vitamins and gives your baby the best start in life, however occasionally, the pressure to breast feed can have negative effects on the mother.

For first time mother’s breastfeeding is rarely shown in a realistic light, as only the positives are promoted. This leaves a lot of new mums believing they’re doing something wrong when they do encounter obstacles. These feelings of failure contribute greatly to postnatal depression so for once,

I’m revealing the less desirable side of choosing breast.
I’ve many friends who suffer from extreme guilt as breastfeeding simply wasn’t for them but they have to explain why to every new person they meet. It’s almost as if they are bullied as we wouldn’t dare to interfere in another’s life in any other way.

These are the common reasons people don’t try or give up:

Breast feeding is tying.
Looking after a baby is hard. Leaving the house is not as easy as it was as you plan your trips around naps and feeds. Breastfeeding makes this even more difficult. For instance, I remember driving on a motorway with my baby screaming for a feed (she’d had one just 30 minutes before but not enough), there was no one else in the car and nowhere to pull over. It was a very stressful few miles.

Breastfeeding is lonely.
It takes a good 8 weeks until you express by which time your baby will not take kindly to taking milk from a bottle. These eight weeks can seem a long time as it’s you and only you that sorts out the feeds and gets up in the night. This can be hard and can also make eager dads feel out of the loop.

Breastfeeding is emotional.
I used to become a little weepy after my LO had a big feed. I didn’t make the connection until my midwife told me that this was quite common. Breastfeeding releases hormones that can be akin to PMT.

Breastfeeding extends a pregnancy.
One aspect I found extremely difficult was medication after childbirth. I was in a lot of pain and suffered a little postnatal depression (due to bereavement at the same time) yet couldn’t take anything due to breastfeeding. Many foods were also off the menu and after nine months of being ultra-careful this did get me down a bit!
Breastfeeding is trial and error.

I also found that baby would react differently depending on what foods I ate. Even the mildest curry would keep her up at night, whereas that one cup of coffee would ensure she didn’t sleep all day. I was shattered and now had to negotiate my own diet. Sometimes I didn’t know if it was what I’d eaten or simply baby frustration.

It’s also worth noting that if you are stressed your milk will dry up anyway, and a stressed mummy is no good for baby or you.

I will leave the talk about sore nipples and breasts for another day. To counteract this, please see my post on why breast is best.

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