why is breast feeding so hard?

The images and PR spin on the positives of breast feeding are so powerful. Make no mistake this is almost a cult like lobby which is fully integrated into our health system. The benefits of breast feeding are constantly stated, Breast feeding is natural,  its good for your baby, It increases the baby’s immunity. For us Mums; it helps you lose weight, it’s free, it creates a “connection” with the baby. Given all of this its very hard to find any comments matching my reality. Breastfeeding is hard.

Getting started was hard. One of my midwives MJ was an incredible support in showing me how to do it. I am the “older mum”. That’s the nice way of saying in mummy terms, 45 is ancient. My boobs are droopier than many many other breasts the midwives have seen. They are so so full. I just can’t quite get in the right position. Either the baby can’t stay attached or my milk is streaming down his face. It takes me weeks and weeks to master the right position.

I am up all times of the day and night. For 12 hours of the day (or preferably the night) it’s fabulous . The baby feeds efficiently and then he sleeps well. For the other 12 hours he is feeding two hourly.

A two hour feeding cycle. Let’s break that down. It takes 30 to 45 minutes to feed, burp and change the baby. On a good feed. That leaves 90 minutes for doing anything else. And if its the night time. That means sleeping. My beautiful husband has taken to settling the baby so I can sleep. So now neither of us have had any … sleep that is.

This is next level difficult. We’ve had the odd misunderstanding let’s say. Yesterday I found myself putting a two year old girls nappy on my new born son, back to front.  If you are out there covered in milk, sobbing from tiredness you are not alone. Breastfeeding sux a lot of the time.

Claire Harvey is one of the few voices that dares to say it’s not all roses. Breast feeding is hard. One of the midwives in the hospital remembered Clare’s column http://bit.ly/2hSKVhm and seemed personally hurt and incredibly mystified by Clare’s words. But the truth is whether you have no milk and are terrified you are starving your baby or whether you have too much milk and think you might be choking your baby, breastfeeding is fraught with worry.

Maybe I’ll give up, maybe I won’t. I’m not sure yet. Just at what point my sanity becomes more important than the baby’s good health I don’t know. I don’t even know whether that’s the right way to be thinking about it. Maybe the baby will be just as healthy on formula. Maybe the baby will sleep more, maybe he won’t.  But once I try it I have the feeling I can’t go back. Initially I gave myself 6 weeks. Now 6 weeks is today and I still have no idea how to make that decision. Any ideas ?

PS the baby slept from midnight to 4. Hallelujah.

 

my magical gap year

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More than ten years later I was living in Sydney, commuting two hours a day and travelling interstate an obscene amount for work. I loved my job, I had a great husband who was looking after my 18 month old daughter full time. I was pregnant with my second child. On those long commutes the same question kept playing in my mind, “Is this what I am really supposed to be doing?”

To answer that question my husband and I have decided to give ourselves the gift of a grown up gap year.  We would both take a year together, go and live in my home town and enjoy the incredible miracle of our family, This is our story.