Sarah Coles

by sarah coles
(England)

I always wanted to breastfeed my son and after antenatal classes believed we would both take to it naturally (after all our bodies are made to do this). I attended antenatal classes where I was left thinking I'd have so much milk I could express it and store to give myself a break from feeding but my son whilst he still benefited from my milk. This is not what happened. My son didn't feed from me for the first 3 days after he was born and it took me an hour to express an ounce of milk.

So many times I wanted to give up due to exhaustion, frustration and worry that my son was not getting what he needed from me. This was not true. My son was thriving and my exhaustion and worry was due to being a new mum who, like others, cared a great deal for my son.

When he reached 4 months I was confidently feeding and feeling silly for worrying so much. Then I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. My son became a very fussy feeder and was not gaining weight as he should. Whether the two are connected I don't know, but I suppose it is possible. It broke my heart and I struggled with the decision to change to formula milk, partly because I knew it was the best milk for my baby, but also because I was concerned what my health visitor and others would think as well as feeling that I had failed as a mother.

My advice to others like me is this ...

If you suffer from postnatal depression talk to someone, it is an illness you will get better from with the right help and is more common that you think.

If you cannot breastfeed your child or find it difficult or stressful to do so do not think you have failed yourself or your baby. Your baby needs milk and drinking formula does not mean they won't live a healthy, happy life. More importantly they need a mother who is calm, happy and able to deal with what is the most responsible, therefore stressful, job a person can do. It is ok to think about yourself sometimes and what you need.

Finally I learned that the person judging you the most is yourself. The more I spoke to people the more I realised that many had suffered like I had but those that hadn't, applauded me for trying, sympathised with my decision to switch and supported me without judgement.


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Oct 10, 2012
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great advice
by: Geri R.

Very valuable advice!

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