Sunday, 27 May 2012

Calling it a Day

It makes me sad that there are so many people out there who want to judge the way we parent, who feel the need to comment, "advise" or simply to thrust their ideal world at you as a poignant reminder of your failings.

Some days it feels like there is no more controversial parenting topic than breastfeeding. From the breastfeeding zealots to the breastfeeding specialists to the health visitors, there is a lot of pressure to feed your baby this way. I don't disagree that breastfeeding gives your little ones a great start in life. But breastfeeding is just one piece of the jigsaw and every parent needs to look at the big picture of what is right for their child, not just feeding in isolation.
I have breastfed Little Monster almost exclusively for 3 months and have now made the decision to stop. There are lots of women who manage more than that and I take my hat off to every one of them. I have done a lot of soul searching about this because I really did want to feed for longer but, in the end, the other pieces of the jigsaw didn't fit.

When Little Monster was first born, I had issues with overactive letdown. It made feeding quite difficult sometimes. Little Monster would break off choking or get bad gas. We started to get past this and then I got a stomach bug for a few days. I was so off my food that my supply was badly affected and it never recovered. After that, I would spend every day stressing about eating and drinking enough and, despite that, the early evening feeds became really difficult. Little Monster wasn't getting enough milk and he was difficult to settle. My anxiety about this was a contributor to my insomnia.

So for all the right reasons I decided to call it a day. In our big picture, I can be a better mum to Little Monster by stopping and, honestly, he seems happier for it.

I know that I have been and will be judged for my decision. Our breastfeeding specialist reacted with a 'hmm' and tried to hide a disapproving look. Actually, it would have been nice to get some support with stopping; physically and emotionally it's not that easy to do.

Do I think I made the right decision? Yes. Am I just a little bit sad? Absolutely.


  1. Big hugs Elli. You did what's best by you, and don't let anyone give you heck about it otherwise. <3

  2. I think the yellow box should have something like trust your instincts in it - you're the best person to make the decsision as you're the one who has to make the puzzle fit.

    Plus mums stress level really makes a big difference to a little one. No one seems to give out that as advice - perhaps they should!

    It's a shame that the breastfeeding councillor wasn't more supportive for you, I was very lucky that the lady I saw was supportive about stopping. The first thing that she said when she visited was "what do you want to do?" I had been focussing so much on what I felt I should be doing rather than what I wanted - it stopped me in my tracks for a moment.

    1. Thanks so much. You're right about stress levels - I think they actually affect your milk production as well so it's a vicious cycle. It's good there are some good bf specialists out there, I'm glad you found one xx