Finding the Support for Breastfeeding

Today we have another honest guest post, this time from Pink Oddy who blogs at http://pinkoddy.co.uk

I think Breastfeeding, for me, was a life changing decision – but it didn’t happen quiet like that the first time. You see with my first baby I was treated like an idiot, I was expected to bottle feed, so when I tried breast feeding I wasn’t supported – why waste resources. I was just turned 18, and trying to do my A-levels. I liked to go clubbing before I got pregnant and I loved to sleep. I remember my mom telling me that I wouldn’t be able to sleep like that when I had a baby. I didn’t appreciate what she meant. My baby was 8lb 13ozs born, and I was a slip of a thing 5ft 3 ½ and around 7 stone and a size 6. So naturally everyone just said I had a hungry baby – I wasn’t expected to “keep up” and encouraged to wean early and top-up with formula. I have to admit, still living at home, it was easier to let my mom feed him at night and me sleep. It wasn’t long before I was encouraged to make the switch.

So the second time around I was a lot older and wiser. This time I even had a degree, a husband, and a house (rented). But when my son wouldn’t poo the Health visitor told me to give him orange juice. Then he started not putting on enough weight – I didn’t know that it was because he didn’t need to poo as often that he wasn’t pooing (breast milk produces less waste). I didn’t know that whilst I was giving him orange juice my milk supply was dwindling (it works on supply and demand). The rules on weaning change all the time too – and so it was 6 months at this time – he was only 4. He was losing too much weight. I was sent to the doctor. He told me my milk was not good enough, that I was starving my baby. My husband convinced me that the best thing to do for our baby was to switch to formula (despite the fact we couldn’t afford it). I was left with really bad depression:  Feeling like a failure, that I couldn’t use what was meant to make me a woman.

So with the third baby I went straight to a breastfeeding support group. Most of the time I didn’t even feel that I needed the support. I thought I knew what I was doing: That I was right about stuff. I don’t think I did. Going each week for social reasons I began to see that my son didn’t have “reflux” that actually lots of baby’s just sick back up their milk and need more. I made a lot of decisions due to that group – and the peer support training I received – and one of those was to self-wean.

And it taught me to be strong when it came to the problems I had with my fourth child and the attitudes towards tandem feeding (seehttp://pinkoddy.co.uk/blog/2013/04/01/deciding-when-to-stop-having-children-motivational-monday/) . I fed both my youngest  (there is 18 months between them) until they were 4 years each and it was the most empowering thing I have ever done.

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