It’s natural isn’t it?

This post is for the  Writing Workshop #19 at Sleep is for the Weak. I have taken prompt 4 -‘Share a time when you felt a deep sense of rejection’

My pregnancy had gone well. I had watched my weight carefully & being 1976 the weather for a summer birth was glorious. The ‘Bump’ was getting beautifully brown! I’d had to have stitch put in before I became pregnant because I’d had a couple of miscarriges . Rather than wait for me to go off bang, the plan been to take it out a week before my due date then send me home & wait for things to happen. As it turned out, they decided to break my waters whilst I was in that really unflattering position between the stirrups (sounds like a Dick Francis novel) so ‘Bump’ was to arrive a week early.

Generally it was OK. We passed the time doing numerous crosswords & talking cricket (subject for another blog!). After about 18 hrs they gave me one of those wonderful epidurals which meant I didn’t feel a thing from that moment on! My darling son was born after 29 hrs & as all parents know, life was never the same again!

I was in a main city hospital which was very busy but I got lots of attention. I was assured that I would not need to get up in the middle of the first night. They would feed him & we could start ‘meal times’ together the next morning. After a reasonable sleep I was woken by a nurse bringing me this bundle that I now had responsibility for. She explained the procedure for breast feeding. It was easy. It was natural. To give me  some privacy (the ward was full of mothers feeding babies!) she drew the curtains around us.

Well, I’m sure I had listened carefully & had followed the instructions but nothing seemed to be happening. I kept taking him off then putting him back again but no – no interest at all. Panic began to creep up. What was I doing wrong? How could I attract anyone’s attention? If my son was not eating, would he become ill? You can imagine where my imagination went with me! There I sat for a good half hour, feeling rejected by this new person before he had even met me. Rejected by the hospital staff who had just left me and rejected by motherhood – I couldn’t do the most natural thing in the world!

Needless to say, they came & rescued me & feeding was fine. However, I got myself in a real state when at 6 weeks, the midwife told me my son was not making enough weight gain & I should transfer to bottle feeding! I was devastated. I thought I’d got it cracked but obviously no. I had been starving him!! I immediately went & bought bottles, formula & all the other contraptions that go with it. My doctor told me a week later that it had not been necessary to change as although my son was not putting on a great deal of weight, he was making good progress. By then though, it was too late.

Thankfully, no damage was done. He has grown into a wonderful man with a good appetite! However, for that little time, I was worried that I was going to be the cause of unbelieveable damage!

How was it for you? Was it natural?

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17 comments

  • Thank you for stopping by! It’s lovely that you like it here!

  • Breastfeeding is definitely not easy, and you need a lot of support from your partner and others around you. I was very, very lucky that my husband is very pro-breastfeeding and supported me completely. Any type of discouragement would certainly make it difficult or impossible for anyone to breastfeed, and I really feel for women who are not supported.

    I was also lucky that my daughter took to breastfeeding easily. But later when my son was born, it was completely different and at first I was terrified that we would not make it work! Luckily after trying a few things (and again, with TONS of support from my husband, lactation consultant etc) we got it figured out and he breastfed well after that.

    Ladies, everyone has to do what is right for them. Do not feel guilty if you are unable to breast feed, or if you choose not to for whatever reason! What is right for you and your baby is what is best.

  • My first son never took to the breast and after two weeks of trying and a horrible case of mastitis, I ended up switching him to formula. It still haunts me as my other two nursed like champions. I guess the guilt of it never goes away. Thanks for sharing.

  • Breastfeeding is a sore subject here.. I had so many problems with Dot, and in the end just could not continue. (Due to tongue-tie, problems with the latch resulting in a very unflattering holy nipple, which bled constantly, then was unable to express because I was in so much pain.. and finally mastitis in both breasts)
    and yes I felt very let down by my own body not being able to perform the task, but there was very little support offered to me either.

    I’m still struggling to come to terms with it now. 🙁

    • Oh that is so sad that you are still suffering. I’m sure in the long run it makes little difference to the little one.

      • I’m sure it won’t do her any harm.. She was exclusively bf for a week and I continued to express as much as I could for 4 weeks..

        It may be ‘the most natural thing in the world’ but it’s hard, and for some women it just isn’t ‘right’ for everyone. 🙁

  • Oh my goodness, no! It felt like the most UN-natural thing in the world!!

    I had a lot of problems in the beginning, it took a long time, and lots of tears and frustration to crack it. But crack it we did and we kept going for 20 months!

    I think the problem comes in false advertising. Actually, it’s ‘natural’ for babies not to want to feed at first, it’s ‘natural’ to take some time to get the latch right and for engorgement to make life complicated, and it’s ‘natural’ for breastfed babies to gain weight at a slower rate.

    Pity we’re not told any of this huh?! x

  • I never breastfed – I was 18 years old when I had my first and I wasn’t encouraged to bf – but baby was small anyway so formula was a necessity. Same with baby #2 and baby #3. I wish I’d had a voice big enough (back then) to shout up about it because not breast feeding (or even attempting to) is something I regret.

  • It’s not easy at first is it? And I think things were very different in the 70s…my mother never BF me, it just wasn’t an option and at 21 she did as she was told, knowing no different. Well done for trying, and for struggling on… Early motherhood is such a difficult time, I think that these days there is more support and better attempts made to teach us to trust ourselves and tune into our own instincts but there is still a lot of ‘advice’ bandied about that can easily make you feel like you’re getting it wrong.

    You have the proof that you did a good job! Lovely post.

    Px

    • I’d still BF if I was in that position again (not likely at 58!!). So much easier as you don’t need any bags! You just make them!!

  • This sounds familiar. I had problems latching on, with milk supply, with knowing what the hell to do, with no one coming to help. In the end we got there but I remember the feelings you described here very well. With my second, I thought it would be a cinch, but it was the same again!

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I think it helps to feel we’re all in the same boat.

  • Still hurts though am sure.

    I actually had been starving my daughter who was getting nothing, but I did with help manage to bf and bottle feed together.

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