Due to my age at having my first child -not uncommon these days though I do believe that my own battle was harder than it necessarily would have been had I been in my twenties or early 30s. I was a “burn your bra” kind of adamant pregnant lady who fought very hard for a natural birth on 2 occasions and fought myself on the breastfeeding issue.
Yes we are women, yes this should indeed come naturally and I believe for some it does. However in my case both pregnancy and breastfeeding did not come naturally. I battled “illness” daily for 2 long pregnancies (both went over by about 2 weeks – 84 weeks in total).
My first child came into this world after a long distance labour and latched beautifully. I then proceeded to have some complications 3 days later and even continued breastfeeding through all of that, the casualty staff were a combination of impressed and concerned. But despite the will it was really quite tricky. I think the main problem was that she was a hungry baby and at times I don’t think I had enough. After one month I was needing to top up with formula. In retrospect I think I could have managed this differently by alternating feeds, one breast, one bottle and it would have made life a little easier. I used all manner of remedies to increase production. At the end of the day I really think my own anxiety around the issue was hampering production. I managed for 4 months.
Round 2 was a little easier but by no means easy. I certainly had less anxiety. My second born is also more laid back. She weighed less and has always been a “smallie” – so required less. She also “fussed” less and I was generally better at reading the difference between hungry, tired and just plain crabby.
Do I think breast is the only way. No not at all, for some women it is just one thing too many to deal with and for all parties concerned better off not battling it. Do I think it comes naturally and is easy? In my case certainly not. It was hard, I am not even going to go into the pain involved and nipple harrassement.
I was, as my husband put it, a poor cow. Despite that I managed to 8 months with my second born.
It certainly is not the beginning or the end of nutrition, bonding or feeding. Most of all I want to allow women to feel ok about whatever they decide as a mom there is a lot on your shoulders and you need to be at peace more than anything else. There are many issues that you are going to face and really this is not one to feel good or bad about. It is an option and if it works for you and baby then great, if not don’t beat yourself up. By the same token if you are willing to push through and have the WILL to do this and accept the battle get help and figure out where you can improve things.
Of far more importance is your own countenance and peace. Make sure that is priority no 1.