Kelly Wood, 27, a mother from North Yorkshire cannot bear to hear of people breastfeeding and she tells us why
I like to think of myself as a positive kind of girl. The kind who doesn’t judge and respects the way other people decide to live their lives. But there is one thing in life that I really cannot bear. I hate - ok maybe not hate, but despair of people who tell stories of how they gave their babies the best possible start in life by breastfeeding.
I have experienced breastfeeding. I lasted eight weeks doing it with my first child and six weeks breastfeeding my second. And the reason I cannot bear to hear of people who lasted longer than this is because I feel guilty beyond belief that I didn’t.
Seeing friends, or even strangers doing it, just makes me feel like a big, bad failure. Celebrities talk about breastfeeding all the time. As though it’s as easy and natural as, well I don’t know, because nothing is easy and natural after having a baby. Why are people led to believe that a massive suction on nipples till they crack and bleed is easy when everyday functions seem like a huge mountain to climb?
‘Breast is best’. Yeah, whatever. Tell me something I haven’t heard a million times. You are even provided with a timeline informing you of what nasty diseases you prevent your infant from contracting for every week you breastfeed.
"Celebrities talk about breastfeeding all the time. Seeing friends, or even strangers doing it, just makes me feel like a big, bad failure. "
Truth be told, I would have loved to have been one of those mothers who carried on breastfeeding for six months plus. But I couldn’t cope with having my first baby latched on to me ALL THE TIME! She couldn’t go an hour without wanting feeding, day or night. I was exhausted. I felt so out of my depth. And even, I hate to admit, a little resentful. Not towards my baby, but to my new life that was totally upside down to the life I was used to.
I didn’t really want my old life back, I wouldn’t be without my baby for the world. I just felt having a little bit of the old me back would have been nice. I had given up alcohol, excessive amounts of tuna, peanuts and most of my social life for nine months to grow my babies to the best of my ability, and I wanted to feel a little bit like me again.
The second time round wasn’t as bad - by now I could cope with the sleepless nights. My reason for ‘quitting’ this time was guilt. Whilst my two year old was running round, needing juice and wanting me to play with her, I had to explain that I couldn’t just yet as I was feeding her younger sister. You can’t share breastfeeding – and don’t even get me started on expressing! Expressing milk could take around 45 minutes to get no more than 15 drops of milk pumped and squeezed out of me between hourly feeds. Time that could have been spent with my children.
So, when I hear of people successfully breastfeeding now, I just have to keep reminding myself of what my community midwife and health visitors said to me. Something that remembered, within reason, can help keep Mother's guilt at bay. Quite simply, "A happy mum equals a happy baby".
Do you agree with Kelly's attitude to breastfeeding? Or do you think breast is best? Share your views in the comments section below.
Main picture credit: Rex Features