I’ve written about the fact that I exclusively express quite a few times. I won’t write again about why I started, but it’s here if you want to read it. Little M is now seven and a half months old. She’s well into weaning, and as a result we’re spending a lot more of our day at the kitchen table around trying to go out and generally have lives!
This has meant that I’ve felt more under pressure when trying to express, particularly when hubby is at work. I’ve been finding it harder to meet Little M’s needs and fit in expressing. As a result, I’ve been starting to wonder whether the benefits of breast milk are continuing to outweigh the disadvantages of expressing. And I’m not sure they are.
I want to be able to give Little M my time, when she needs it. At the moment I’m having to squeeze in expressing when really I should be interacting with her. I know there are still benefits of breast milk at this age, but I’ve given her the best start that I possibly could, and now it’s time to move on.
So on Saturday night we fed Little M her first bottle of formula. I cried. I cried with a mixture of regret, guilt and fear. Regret that our breastfeeding journey hadn’t been what I had wanted it to be. Guilt that I was only giving her formula to make my life easier, rather than making hers better. Fear that the ‘poison’ that is formula would damage her little digestive system in some way.
Because that’s what I’d been brainwashed into thinking. That formula is some kind of poison that I shouldn’t feed my child. On Sunday morning I had a little Google of combination feeding. I really wish I hadn’t. As I read, it seemed to me that all of these web pages were written in a ‘breast is best’ tone. They made me worry all over again that I’d be damaging Little M’s gut lining.
I grew cross that all this information is written as though every woman reading it is choosing not to easily breast feed their child and instead combination feed, on a whim, just because they feel like it. I’m not sure if anyone who has written this pages has actually spoken to anyone who combination feeds, but personally I know several women, including myself, who would give their right arm to be able to breastfeed easily.
So yes, I am cross. Cross that these websites and health visitors and the like are told that they have to promote breastfeeding in such a way that it makes women like me, who for whatever reason can’t do it, feel utterly terrible about themselves.
I made a decision right then and there. I refuse. I refuse to feed bad or sad or guilty about moving to formula feeding. And I’m not going to read anything else on the subject. Except of course, for the instructions for how to make up formula safely. And then I’m going to enjoy my day with Little M.