I come from a long line of formula feeders. My grandma formula fed because “my breasts were too small”. My Mum formula fed because “breastfeeding hurt me”. My sister formula fed because “I didn’t have any milk”.
I knew from the moment I saw those two pink lines that my baby would be a booby baby. Before I knew his gender, what he looked like, or his name, I was determined that he would be breastfed. He was my miracle baby. 46 months of negative pregnancy tests and invasive procedures and IVF treatment, and we FINALLY were going to have a baby. There was no doubt in my mind that I would do anything in the world to give my baby the best possible start.
But the negativity and opposition along the way!! Through my whole pregnancy I was reminded of all the people who “couldn’t” breastfeed their babies. I was told to always have a bottle of formula made up in the fridge each night because I’d be too tired to feed so my husband should get up and do it. I was told it was dirty and gross, and asked why I wouldn’t just feed him formula; after all it is quicker, easier, more hygienic, and there is no difference between formula and breastmilk anyway. I got told that “fed is best”.
So I began to do some reading on the topic. And learned so much!! I learned that small breasts did not affect your ability to feed. I learned that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt & that there was plenty of support available if it did, I learned that it’s incredibly rare for someone to not have enough milk and, again, there is plenty of support to help boost supply. I learned the many, many benefits of breastmilk, and the risks involved with not breastfeeding. I learned about the hormones that enable a nursing mother to respond to their hungry baby any time of the day or night no matter how tired they are. I learned that breastfeeding is the biological norm. I learned how medical intervention during birth can occasionally cause temporary breastfeeding problems, but that there is support available to overcome this.
I also learned that I had a lot of support among my friends, some of whom are still nursing their toddlers.
Eli was born in March 2016 and I was lucky enough to give birth in a hospital with a wonderful breastfeeding policy. As soon as he was born I was able to hold him, skin to skin, and he began to nurse when he was less than an hour old. It took us a few days to get the hang of it, and our breastfeeding journey has had a few speed bumps, as expected. But Eli is now almost 5 months old: happy, healthy, chubby and exclusively breastfed!!!