Friday, 9 July 2010

Too Old To Breastfeed

Ok, I've been debating whether or not to post this but it's something that has been on my mind since I first got pregnant. I've had loads of time to think about it and I've made up my mind what to do but I thought maybe it was time to share my feelings, because you always feel better when you share.

I've breastfed all my kids, no1 not for long because I had loads of problems and when I got mastitis on top of already having a cyst I just gave up, the pain was too much. My three girls have all been breastfed until 6 months old. The last two exclusively because that's how it's done now, you don't start giving anything else until then you know!

My last little girl wouldn't take to the bottle so I carried on breastfeeding her. Soon it became just a way of life and the feeding continued past her first birthday. After about 18 months the nursing (As it was no longer feeding really) continued but just for sleep times and first thing in the morning. I was sure we'd be finished by two years but no we carried on, she depended on it like other babies depend on their dummies or bottles, and to be honest I didn't mind. I felt a real bond with her, one I didn't especially want to hurry to break. Then I got pregnant and I thought she'd be put off my milk as I believe it tastes different, but she wasn't. By this time we were nursing at bedtime only but it carried on and it didn't look like I was ever going to be able to stop. Finally I decided I'd had enough and I was prepared to stop I just had to convince her. It was April and we had a little holiday planned. During the week we were away she didn't ask to be nursed once and went to sleep unaided. When we got home she wanted to get back into her routine but I told her no. We had a few tears the first night and again the second but that was it. She's been fine ever since.

Now, I believe this baby deserves the best start in life just like all the others so I am going to breast feed, but for a few weeks maximum. Then I'm switching to formula. It feels like a dirty confession. Not because I have anything against formula feeding mum's, I know that breastfeeding isn't for everyone, and everyone has a right to feed their baby in whatever way they wish. But, because I'm a breastfeeder, I'm experienced, I can do it with ease and apart from first son have never had any problems. So why should I just give up on this one?

Honestly, I think I'm too old. There I've said it. I'm 44, going on 45 this year, I'm too old to be having babies really. To have to breastfeed in public, no matter how discreet I can be, is an idea that is mortifying me, and I know from experience that unless I decided not to leave the house for 6 months it would be something that I would have to face. So, you may say, why not express? Well, that's a good one, I've tried with all my babies to express but it's something I've never gotten the hang of. Plus, I think it's darned hard work just trying to fit in expressing time when you already have a big family and a newborn to look after. No thanks, not for me.

Also, I still have my two eldest living with me and they don't like me breastfeeding. Up until now I've just told them to deal with it, but it's always been a bit of a nightmare. I just don't think I can deal with it this time. I don't want to hide away, I don't want to do it in public, I do want what's best for my baby. So the best I can come up with is a few weeks of nursing then on to the formula.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's a great shame that your eldest children are putting their own small-minded comfort before the best interests of the new sibling to be honest.

    With regards to you feeling too old to breastfeed, I can relate although I'm a bit younger than you. I was 19 when I had my youngest and would happily whap my baps out as and when required. I was 27 when I had my 4th and became much more reclusive and keen to hide away when feeding but you know what? Even in that short period, I found so many solutions to hide my knockers. M&S do brilliant vests that I could layer under my tops, so I'd pull the vest down under my boob and my top up high enough for baby to find my nipple - it meant that nothing at all was visible (although admittedly I was more worried about flashing my belly than my boob!)

    I guess what I'm trying to say is this: having a baby is hard enough work without feeling like you need to live up to the expectations of other people. You have done this before - you've done it really well! - and you know that breast is best for you, for your baby and for general easyness. Do what suits *you* and your baby, not what suits other people. If the eldest two don't like it then I'm sure they can find somewhere else to live.