I've been wanting to write this post for a while now as I know it's a hot topic amongst my mum friends. I suffered (and still do!) from it with Finn and now having a newborn again it's really bought it home - mum guilt.
I've been suffering incredible guilt over the breastfeeding issues I was having with feeding Violet after 1 week. I was contemplating stopping after 5 days. I could not stop crying (mixed in with those fierce emotional hormones of the first 2 weeks) over the fact that I was going through, once again, the same breastfeeding issues I had with Finn. The dreaded engorgement (5 days worth of an extreme case), cracked and bleeding nipples and toe curling biting down on a towel pain that I had to endure every 2 hours to feed and nurture my baby. Will my nipple fall off it's in such a state?! I've just been through child birth - how could I not endure this pain and the knowledge that in a few weeks it will calm down? Also trying to avoid the dreaded mastitis which I suffered with the first time round. You would have thought mother nature could have made the whole process a bit easier wouldn't you? I know it's common for these issues to happen but every hour feels like an eternity.
I had told myself that I wouldn't beat myself up if the breastfeeding didn't work this time (having battled through dark times with it to go on breastfeeding Finn until he was 9 months old previously) and would rationally just move onto bottles which I absolutely refused to do with Finn. Something in you as a new mum makes you feel guilty and completely irrational about this type of decision, we really beat ourselves up and feel the pressure to have to do it. It's so frustrating - surely bottle or breast - fed is best!! With breastfeeding you get those lovely endorphins and a beautiful bonding connection with your baby, it's addictive. If you have problems, which so many of us do (apparently 80% of new mums struggle), the dreaded moment that comes every 2 hours with a newborn can make it the most horrendous distressing time if you have pain with it. The other guilt was the fact I have so much milk, the leaking and fullness was so extreme with me. Some mothers would love to be in this position, all that milk wasted...yes I could pump but personally I find it the most soul destroying, time consuming activity which takes away any nice time you can have with your little one.
Everyone has been really supportive and I've been surprised at the midwives and health visitors this time - they haven't been really pushy over the breastfeeding route. It's been like a breath of fresh air and the more second time mums I speak to the more they say it works better for them to do bottles and formula this time round.
So there it is Violet is now a formula bottle fed baby, she had a week of colostrum and some milk and an upset mummy but she is now a happy healthy baby with a happier mum. Yes I do feel guilty still and constantly question if I should go back to it but the benefits of being able to get other people to help, longer baby sleeping times and being able to spend more time with Finn just seem to work now I have two children. I think we put so much pressure on ourselves as new mums and don't spend enough times patting ourselves on the back as to what we have just gone through - pregnancy and childbirth and now raising happy and healthy children. So take a minute to think about how brilliant you are, please treat yourself and go hug your child! Bottle or breast whatever you choose needs to be right for you - so go with your instinct.
Here are a couple of brilliant articles I really related to that I recommend a read of:
So this is just one minor mum guilt I feel...what about about you - what's your current mum guilt about?