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How we feel about our choices

(21 Posts)
HunkerMunker Sat 22-Jan-05 11:41:34

After I had DS, I was chatting to an elderly neighbour, who I am extremely fond of. She was admiring him and asked me whether I was nursing him myself. I replied that yes, I was and she said he looked well on it, etc, etc. and te conversation moved on (probably to how much hair he had - that's still a favourite topic for people!).

But I wonder...how would I have felt if I had been bottlefeeding him after not getting the support I needed to breastfeed successfully? It was touch and go in the beginning - I found it very difficult and painful and am sure that had I done as I now recommend to people (ie seek the help of a breastfeeding counsellor), I wouldn't have had nearly so many problems!

It just made me think - I went away from this conversation happy , but had I been bottlefeeding, I think I would've been very upset and felt like she was 'getting at me'. How we feel about our choices very much affects the way we react when asked a perfectly innocent question. My neighbour wasn't trying to get at me or make me feel uncomfortable, she was simply asking a perfectly understandable baby-related question. It was my feelings that affected how I reacted - and like I say, it didn't even cross my mind that I could've been upset by this question if the situation was different till about 7 months later!

lockets Sat 22-Jan-05 11:45:33

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suzywong Sat 22-Jan-05 11:46:51

I can understand what you mean HM and I think you have raised this (sometimes tetchy) topic in a very interesting and welcoming way.

I saw an archaic doctor had a hissy fit when I asked him to check the medication he was prescribing me would be safe as I was still bf my 9 month old ds2. Fortunately I was able to rise above him and mentally give him the Vs up when he said it was riduculous to BF a child for that long and he should be on proper milk.

But if I had been a younger less experienced mother it may have made me question my choice

beansprout Sat 22-Jan-05 11:51:36

I agree HM. In all things, if I am happy with my decision, no-one can "make" me feel a certain way. If I feel sensitive about it, then I am more likely to be upset by someone. For me, it is as simple as that. People can be insensitive, but I find that irritating rather than hurtful if I am happy with what I am doing. And I say that as a new mum who is on the receiving end of a fair amount of advice at the moment!

Btw, Suzywong - what is "proper" milk?! Presumably you took a child into the surgery and not a calf?!!

HunkerMunker Sat 22-Jan-05 12:01:20

Just want to add that had I been bottlefeeding him because I chose to, rather than after breastfeeding not working out, I wouldn't have been upset. Not sure what I'd have said though Probably something like 'Nope! Have you seen how much hair he has?'

beansprout Sat 22-Jan-05 12:04:08

Lol HM! I have a similar safe bet with Bean - "cor, what a whopper!" (He was 10lb 5oz).

Twiglett Sat 22-Jan-05 12:20:04

I feel warm and smug and superior for BFing DD still (at 8 months)

BUT

I felt warm and smug and superior for moving DS onto bottles at 3.5 months too

so I think whatever you do, because its the best thing to do for you .. and hence for your baby .. you can feel warm and smug and superior

because the warm and smug and superior'ness comes from having a beautiful babby that is yours all yours however they're fed

Caligula Sat 22-Jan-05 12:22:03

I agree you can only be upset by someone else's comments if you allow them to upset you.

I breast fed DS and it took 9 weeks of hell to establish, and bottle fed DD because after 2 weeks of hell, I knew I couldn't face any more and with a toddler, no husband a new house, I was going to take any short-cut going. For me, it was a practical decision born of necessity - no one was going to come along and clean my house, cook for me and look after my toddler while I struggled to establish bf, no-one was going to come in and help me while I did it, and I was aware that it might take 9 weeks again because of my experience with DS. I was also getting pressure from weight-obsessed HV and I didn't really feel I had a choice.

But so what? I simply can't bring myself to waste time neurotically worrying about it or being upset. I simply don't care what anyone else thinks, I'm not particularly happy that I was in a position where I had to make that choice, but if I spent my life continuing to mull over every single thing I've ever done that might have been wrong in some way, I'd be a bore. I also don’t feel the need to justify it, say it was the only thing to do, say that breastfeeding is for a mafia only, or anything else offensive to anyone else to justify my actions. I would have preferred to breastfeed; the choice wasn’t realistically open to me. Meanwhile my DD is having tantrums all over the place and I’ve moved on to worrying about nits and homework. It’s enough to worry about today’s problems, without going over and over yesterday’s.

HunkerMunker Sat 22-Jan-05 12:24:24

I love your last line, Caligula - that ought to be a parenting mantra!

Caligula Sat 22-Jan-05 12:55:10

It's definitely mine!

Having said that, I think the fact that so many women still feel so bad about the issues around this so long after it has ceased to be the all-consuming problem it is while you're going through it, speaks volumes about how badly we handle it - I don't believe all these women still feeling terrible about it years later is evidence of mass neurosis, I think it's evidence that women are just not supported properly when it comes to breast/ bottle feeding.

ScummyMummy Sat 22-Jan-05 12:59:08

Wise words, caligula.

beansprout Sat 22-Jan-05 13:25:24

Entirely agree - I couldn't get support and wasn't for want of trying.
- could not attend b/f ante-natal class as they were "full". Surely one more person could have squashed in given how important I was told b/f was?
- given no guidance at hospital other than "that looks fine" if my nipple was in ds's mouth.
- got mastitis after 8 days and rang NCT in desperation the next day, only to be told that they wouldn't refer me as they were full.

DS and I were self taught. Everything I know has come from books and MN. Luckily, we sussed it out, but no thanks to anyone else , although hospital MWs were damn keen to get some formula in him

Gwenick Sat 22-Jan-05 13:51:57

13 months ago I'd have got upset, as BF didnt work out with DS2. But now it honestly doesn't bother me. Looking back over the last year I know I made the best decision for both of us. I suffered from PND with DS1 (although just like other bouts of depression I've suffered since my teens I didn't actually 'admit' to it so was never actually 'diagnosed'). And to be honest when I switched to bottles when DS2 was 5 days old I had visions of going the same way. But I didn't. He grew, and I was (and still am happy).

I still wonder why I managed to bf DS1 for 14 months without any problems (well apart from the 'usual' cracked nipples, mastitis, 1 1/2hr feeds, ever 2hrs etc etc etc LOL) and he was born by CS - and I hadn't even been in labour.

DS2 was a vaginal delivery and it didn't work out - not through lack of trying, I spoke to NCT BF councellors (despite my 'aversion' to the NCT for varying reasons), my MW was really helpful but it didn't work.......but that's life.

oops Sat 22-Jan-05 13:58:06

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myermay Sat 22-Jan-05 14:13:03

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Gobbledigook Sat 22-Jan-05 14:32:20

It wouldn't upset me what someone thought - I'm happy with my choices and my children are healthy and happy so I don't much care what anyone else thinks.

I know when I say 'bottle' there'll be some who are thinking 'oooh, bad mother, how terrible' but quite honestly, there are always things that other people don't think you are doing right when it comes to parenting whether it's around bottle/breast feeding, giving dummies or not, watching too much tv, giving them a smack, letting them eat chocolate while you go round Tesco.....and on it goes to infinity. I've got friends who breast fed, so great so people will think, but there are other things about the way they parent their children that I don't think are so great but that's just the way it is - we all do things differently.

I can see what you are getting at but I'm past caring about other people's opinions - unless I've specifically asked for them!

amynnixmum Sat 22-Jan-05 15:20:37

When I was in hospital after my first child was born I had a real problem getting her to latch on properly etc. The midwife during the day was really short and impatient with me whenever I asked for help. I found this very distressing as I wanted to bf and just seemed to be getting it wrong. She actually told me it was my fault that it wasn't working because i was so tense and anxious and that I should just calm down and relax as it was not good for the baby. As if I would have stayed feeling so tense if I had a choice about it. Luckily for me the midwife that came on at night was lovely and on my 3rd night in when my milk came in she sat with me for an hour helping me with the positioning and the latching on etc. Thanks to her I went home far more confident and bf both mine with no more problems. It makes me really angry that there is so much pressure put on new mums to bf and so little real help available to them if they have difficulties.

tiktok Sun 23-Jan-05 15:15:10

beansprout, what do you mean when you say the NCT wouldn't refer you because 'they were full'???

NCT breastfeeding counsellors are volunteers, and may not always be able to see people. They can't promise for someone else to see you either - that would depend on the someone else.

But it's not a question of 'being full'....so ?????? Please explain! : )

vicdubya Sun 23-Jan-05 21:22:57

I totally agree amynnixmum.

After 2 nights in hospital with everyone and her uncle trying to latch ds on & me in a complete state, one of the ward assistants said to me
"I think you could do with some proper help, I'll get something organised for you".

The next morning, this amazing lady appeared who was apparently the hospital's (one ) official BF counsellor.

She spent half an hour with me and when she left I was the most confident & relaxed I'd been since giving birth. Her parting words to me were
"you're going to make a great breastfeeder!", and to me, that was all I wanted to hear.

I honestly know I would not have persevered if not for her, she was an angel. Never looked back after that.

However, when I spoke to all the other mums I met in postnatal groups etc, who had all given birth in the same hospital, and most hadn't been very successful with BF, none of them had been offered a session with this woman, or even knew of her existence.

Still none the wiser to this day why I was the lucky one.

JulieF Sun 23-Jan-05 22:53:44

Vic, becasue you were lucky enough (as I was with my m/w and HV) to get someone who knew her limitations and when to refer to someone with more knowledge.

At my local hospital the 2 b/f co-ordinators work flat out against the tide to do what they can, but they are just 2 people workign against a hole load of other staff and I have heard some very sad stories of people not getting the help and support they need.

Bozza Tue 25-Jan-05 15:41:10

Think you make a very valid point hunkermunker. I think that our circumstances do affect how sensitive we are to a particular comment. And people can be very insensitive sometimes. I've had comments about breast feeding which I have found insensitive but have been able to rise above it. Nothing actually directly negative but the usual things about how tying it is etc. Now if I had a babysitter that might become an issue.

However I do think mums in general (and me, in particular) tend to be rather over-sensitive. People make comments about kids in nursery to me (my two go 3 days a week). Eg have a friend who has just started childminding saying "I want to be there for my kids" from which I take the implication that I am not there for my kids. My DH (who works full time to my part time) would not have that reaction at all. In fact when I was mentioning feeling guilty about sending DS to nursery at a younger age than DD (due to impreovements in maternity leave) his reply was "but he loves it".

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