Breast Feeding for None Lactivists

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I am lazy. Fundamentally lazy. I chose breast feeding for this very reason. I’d like to claim it’s because I know it’s better for both mum and baby, I know there are health benefits, I know it’s supposed to be better for bonding, and I know there’s a lot of arguments against using formula. But to be quite honest, I chose it because it meant I wouldn’t have to get up at 2am to sterilise bottles and warm milk. Lazy. I also had no intentions of battling through if it looked like it was not working for one or both of us, my main concern was making sure she was eating and we were both happy.

I am so glad I did it. I would also highly recommend trying, even if it freaks you out. It freaked me out before I did it, milk coming out of me, a baby licking my nipple, it just all seemed weird and wrong and I didn’t like it at all, but ultimately laziness won out and I decided I would try. When I was brought out of the theatre (it all went wrong and she was ripped from me by forceps and a very lovely (handsome) surgeon) I was a bit doped up and exhausted having not slept in three days, the nurse in recovery asked me if I was planning to breast feed, I said yes, she said fine, pulled my top down and attached this tiny new creature to my boob who proceeded to suck furiously. And so it began!

Photo credit WerbeFabrik

Photo credit WerbeFabrik

I was proud, I had managed it! It wasn’t freaking me out and it was easy! I felt like a super mum. My brand new, ridiculously gorgeous, baby was eating and she was eating what I was making and it was working! All by myself I did it! Friends and family came during visiting hours and my husband proudly proclaimed my brilliance and his new baby’s adept way of taking to breast feeding so easily, and everyone made suitable “ooh ahh” noises. Despite functioning on serious sleep deprivation I was confident and pumped up. Hurray for me!

Of course, it couldn’t last. My family and husband were dispatched and the night began. A midwife came round to access how well the feeding was going and informed me that actually she wasn’t getting anything, she was just sucking on the end of the nipple and not getting anything out of it. We had spent all day with the wrong “latch” and it was achieving nothing.

Nothing.

My baby was not being fed. I had failed. I had let down my baby, I had let down my husband. It was wrong. I was exhausted, she was getting stressed, and I couldn’t make it work. She’d grab at my nipple with her mouth and suck and the midwife would pull her off again. She cried. I cried. It was just all so very bad.

Suddenly breast feeding seemed incredibly important to me. It mattered. It mattered and I was failing. It was not working and it was due to me failing not due to a decision I had made. Failure. Failing as a mother. That night was hideous.

In the end I was getting so distressed, heightened by the fact I was in desperate need of sleep, that my gorgeous new precious baby was taken from the room by the midwives to give me a chance to sleep. She was taken, and I cried myself to sleep.

Of course, once we got through that night it was fine. The boob-ladies came round and helped me with my latch, a lovely health care assistant reassured me that if she needs to have formula instead then nothing bad will happen it’s just one of those things, and all my old feelings of “c’est la vie” came back and I relaxed and have been happily, lazily, breast feeding since!

You can check out all my contact info an links on http://www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also http://www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and The Boy (Jonathan McKinney) and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to http://www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

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One response to “Breast Feeding for None Lactivists

  1. Oh Jude that was pretty much like reliving my experience, apart from the initial feed. I wanted to breastfeed, I so seriously did, but as I didn’t come around until 4 hours after the section Caiden had to have formula, me unaware, but then when we did come to feed initially it was hard. it was continuously hard and when I thought we’d cracked it and were doing great I’d be told by midwives that he wasn’t getting anything. We were both doing it wrong. I needed to relax. Blah, blah, blah as they contradicted themselves and I hated it. Every second of them hovering over us. Every time they’d pull him off me. I cried and cried and cried, I even shouted at one of the midwives and was horrid to her, but I hated that I couldn’t do it. And I hated even more when they insisted on taking him away one night so I could sleep. I cried myself to sleep, sobbing. Eventually we started to get to grips with it, but it was always hard for us. and always constant and painful. In the end at 4 weeks I decided to bite the bullet and combination feed as I needed to do what was best for him and he needed feeding. He took to the bottle straightaway. Couldn’t get enough. I should have felt pleased that he was feeding properly, but I felt guilty that he wasn’t getting it from me like that and then he stopped wanting me even when I tried. I felt a failure. I had failed my child with a basic, natural, maternal skill and I was a bad mummy. It took a long time for me to accept that he was just better suited to formula and although I know it is best for him as since having it he has thrived and guzzles it down, at times I still feel guilty that I am not breastfeeding him. Worse still when I see other Mummys doing it with seemingly no effort. But he is happy and healthy and thriving so I have to put this first, but I feel that I will always wish it had gone ‘to plan’ but by god I could not have tried any harder. I could not have cried anymore over it. I could not have done anything extra to help. it was horrid and that night they took him away so that I could sleep- it was like a living nightmare. Finally having this precious baby, only 2 days old, after all the heartache and distress to get to that stage, and they took him away and I wasn’t able to move from that horrid bed. I convinced myself that they were taking him away for good as I couldn’t feed him myself and that I was a bad mother. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. …. Sorry, I just needed to share this. xxxx

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