Breastfeeding and PND is about my feelings and experiences and is an all round tough post for me to write.
I read recently that difficulty or not being able to breastfeed is one of the main causes of post natal depression (PND) and I can completely understand this. I think it was absolutely a main factor in my PND the first time around and has definitely contributed this time around also.
Oh believe me I am well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. I know it’s the perfect ‘formula’ specifically tailored to each individual baby. I know it gives you an incredible bond. I know it’s cheaper too. I know all these things. I really do. That’s why I am beating myself up still 5 years later and why I am filled with guilt every time I see a woman breastfeeding. But I just couldn’t do it!
The first time around was pure hell! H would just not latch on and on the very rare occasion that he did I was in agony and then he fell asleep. I would then spend forever latching him on again and again and again! Leaving us both stressed and upset. I got advice from midwives and health visitors. I attened classes and groups but it just did not happen. I literally spent half of my life sat on the sofa desperately trying to feed my son or expressing my milk. After 5 weeks of this when I just couldn’t cry anymore, I gave up. I started formula feeding and felt like a complete failure. I would hate feeding my son in public as I felt people were thinking I was a crap mum for not breastfeeding.
Every time that H was poorly I was convinced that it was my fault. If I’d have breastfeed he would have been healthier and not caught these illnesses! Leaving me once again feeling like a crap mum! My PND just got worse and worse.
After beating myself up about it for years I at least thought I was much more informed and experienced to able to breastfeed my second son much more easily.
I was much more determined this time around. I read all the books and watched all the videos – I would not fail this time!
Well, so I thought. But unfortunately it did not happen for me again. My second little boy T had tongue tie so it was immediately difficult but that wasn’t going to stop me. We paid to have tongue tie sorted at 3 days old and I had a breastfeeding class straight after. This was going to work!
But no! T was such a slow eater with a very strong grip so it was incredibly painful. Despite this I tried and tried but only lasted a couple of weeks. I also found it really difficult to feed around the school run and didn’t seem to have the luxury of sitting on the sofa for hours trying and trying. So yet again I failed at breastfeeding! It really made me seem like a failure and the PND started creeping in again.
It does still upset me sometimes when I think about it. I do try to convince myself that it’s ok. Formula is so good these days and is perfectly good for your baby. The important thing is my babies were fed. They were and are looked after and loved! I was much less stressed and so were they, so why do I still look back with regret? Why do I still feel guilt every time I see a breastfeeding woman? I don’t know. I think it is probably something I will always feel to some extent.
I am always about putting my boys first and doing the very best thing for them so I guess I’ve been convinced that breastfeeding is that and because I couldn’t do it – I’m a failure!
Well I am working hard to push these feelings aside. Formula feeding has made me and boys and my whole family happier and a lot less stressed. Why wouldn’t I be happy with formula?
Breastfeeding isn’t the be all and end all and certainly doesn’t mean you love your babies any less. Every baby is different and every woman is too.
My advice, concentrate on doing whats best for you and your family.
Love Amy xx