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  • amyvreeke

Off my tits

I am no longer a pregnancy blogger, I’m a mum blogger! My son was born on 06/12/2020 and we could not be prouder. It’s been 6 weeks and I just have so much to say about motherhood and labour, it’s all so overwhelming! But I thought I’d start at one of the things I’ve found the most challenging: feeding.


Even as I type that (in the notes on my phone with one hand as baby sleeps on me) I can’t help but feel a bit like a failure. It’s such a basic thing, a basic need, surely, I should be able to feed my child. I told myself when I was pregnant that I wouldn’t put pressure on myself to breastfeed, I knew it could be hard and not everyone could do it. I told myself that but in the back of my mind I guess I thought it wouldn’t be a problem. On the lead up to the birth I read all about breastfeeding and watched YouTube videos on how to do it properly. There were all these videos of baby’s being born and then latching straight on and feeding away. There’s so much out there telling you how natural it is.


Right from the off it felt anything but natural for me. After birth he wouldn’t latch so I had to self-express and then give him bottles. For the first few days I kept trying but he wasn’t having it. I tried not to stress but I couldn’t help feeling like I was doing something wrong. And I was overwhelmed and SO TIRED. More tired than any other time I’ve thought I was tired.


Eventually, with the help of nipple shields, he latched on and I started to be able to feed him. You know those women you see on the front of baby adverts sat feeding while they enjoy a laugh and a coffee with their mates? I think they find them in the same place as the women who play tennis on the tampon adverts. Because my experience was not that. Each time I fed it would go on for at least an hour every few hours. I’d be sat with a sore back trying to stay in the same position, so he didn’t lose grip, which happened a lot and then there’d be crying (from both of us). It’s so draining, your energy is literally being sucked out of you and you can’t rest properly because you’re the only one who can give them what they need. The thing that made me feel worse is that I had no idea how much food he was getting, every time he cried, I thought it was my fault for not giving him enough.


After a month it got to the point where he was screaming, even whilst I tried to feed him. I was crying constantly, and Steve didn’t know how to help. I called my health visitor who was AMAZING! She let me go in and get him checked. He’d lost weight and I just felt dreadful. She suspected I’d stopped producing enough milk. Had I been depriving him of food? What kind of mum am I if I can’t even feed my child?


There and then, with the support of my health visitor, I decided to start bottle feeding. It instantly made all of us feel better and has ever since. All three of us are less stressed and more rested. I now know that it wasn’t my fault, I’m not a bad mum, breastfeeding just wasn’t for us. This isn’t everyone’s experience but the reason I wanted to write this is because neither is the laughing coffee drinking breast feeder. It’s hard. I kept thinking if I just kept trying, I’d get there and that if I stopped, I’d be ‘giving up’. That’s just not the case. This is yet another aspect of women’s health we feel shame about and aren’t shown the nuanced experiences that women have. Making us feel inadequate.


If you do breastfeed, huge respect to you. If you don’t, huge respect to you. We are all keeping another human alive and healthy and however we do that it’s a pretty huge achievement.

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