Can I cope with failure again?
With only 8 weeks to go until our due date I have started to worry about breastfeeding again.
Last time I was adamant that I would breastfeed and, at the time, was anti formula feeding. I understood the benefits of breastfeeding, health benefits and financial benefits, so I was absolutely gutted to find that M had no interest in breastfeeding (or bottle feeding for that matter but at least you can stick a bottle in her mouth to get her going). She would not latch on at all, even with a bottle she would not open her mouth for it but for the first month and a half I tried my best to get M to have as much breastmilk as possible.
When we were in the hospital we did get some help from breastfeeding support workers but they seemed as stumped as we did about how to get M to latch. The midwifes didn’t have the time to help and forced us to bottle feed, telling us we would not get home if M wasn’t bottle fed. During this time one midwife did give us a breast-pump to use and we did but we were greeted with laughter when only 1ml was expressed after 30 minutes.
We went home having fed with a bottle and even then M was just taking 5-10mls a time. She just wasn’t a hungry baby.
When home we spoke to the midwife about breastfeeding and she said my milk would be delayed because I had had a c-section and because I was so unwell. Why had no-one at the hospital told me this? She did not help with breastfeeding but did book me an appointment with the breastfeeding support worker who was on holiday at the time.
In the week we were at home I tried where I could to breastfeed but I felt useless. How do you hold a baby on your boob? How do you get them to open their mouth? How do you get them to stop crying when you try? How do you stop crying when your baby refuses to latch on? It was just awful.
Then the support worker came and just said to me that I had two options: 1, I could keep trying but she did not think M would ever take to the breast and I could fall into depression and resent feeding or, 2, I could give a bottle and enjoy the time I have with my baby when she is small. This was the turning point for me. When an expert tells you that you should bottle feed and enjoy life. I am so glad she came even if she couldn’t help me.
I did express milk from a borrowed hospital grade breast pump for a month or so but even this became to much for me to cope with.
Fast forward another pregnancy and this time I just don’t know what to do. Of course I want the best start for my baby but can I hand the rejection of another baby who maybe won’t want to latch on? Can I cope with the feeling of devastation if I fail at breastfeeding once again?
I want to try again with breastfeeding again but I think I am more anxious and worried about what will happen this time. I feel more awkward about how to position a baby on my breast. I am worried because I know just how upset I would get about breastfeeding when I tried, and failed, with M. I am also confused because this time around I know that formula feeding is not the evil that I had thought it was last time.