It’s supposed to be the most natural thing in the world, snuggling up with your baby to provide the best nutrients on earth – mother’s milk. While for sure, many people I know did breeze through the breast feeding initiation like it was the most natural thing in the world, just as many if not more have struggled through half blind trying to make the most natural thing in the world work…urm…naturally.
I had a foolish notion that although it was going to take a little while for me and my diminutive to “get to know each other” in this way, that nature would gradually take its course and after a few days we’d be on the right track.
However days, and then weeks passed, and we were still struggling and extremely frustrated; with myself sparing every spare minute having a love affair with a breast pump expressing like the end of the world was nigh, instead of spending precious moments bonding. I still have no idea why we didn’t “click”.
I was also desperately losing hope with every passing day, having been absolutely hell bent at the outset that I was going to give my child the benefits of breastfeeding, having not had the benefit myself. It was the most frustrating situation on earth at the time, and one that I know has been experienced by many other mothers.
I persevered and eventually got the little one to take from my breast just shy of 3 months – yes that’s 3 months of incessant, exclusive pumping like a dairy farm; and all thanks to the incredible help of one person who was determined to turn things around for me (you know who you are).
Struggling with breastfeeding can make you feel like an utter failure, and pretty much leave you on the floor. Because it is supposed to be the most natural thing on earth, you feel like a human reject. And despite all the support that is available, it’s difficult to not come down on yourself like a ton of bricks when you can’t manage to get things started successfully on your own, for whatever reasons presented by you personal circumstances. And to make matters worse, all the while you are supposed to present the picture of Mother Earth, whilst inside you feel like a sham.
After what seemed like forever, we got into our groove and I breastfeed until 15 months – well beyond what I had imagined – and all throughout working. I definitely felt like I had some major making up to do. However despite all that experience, I still wouldn’t be confident in assuming I could make it work a second time over.
Breastfeeding might have been around since the dawn of human existence, but I’d think twice before uttering those words, “the most natural thing in the word” alongside it.
If you’re reading this and have had struggles with breastfeeding, please feel free to share your experiences in a comment below so others reading this know they are certainly not alone! :-).