Síle: My first weeks with Cathal... and why I had to stop breastfeeding
Baby Cathal is two months already. Where has the time gone?!
Today, I scrolled through the million photos of him in my phone and the change I can see these past few weeks especially, is phenomenal. I am now starting to understand when people tell me to savour every moment; these past few weeks have flown by.
He’s now smiling and it’s absolute magic.
Having already been to an All Ireland Hurling Final and the Ploughing Championships, we are certainly getting out and about with him which has been challenging but has also been a great confidence booster.
But with the extreme tiredness along the waves of overwhelming joy, it’s only in the last while that I feel like life is beginning to settle... somewhat!
From checking if he’s still breathing as he sleeps, to googling EVERYTHING, it has been intense. None of my pre pregnancy wardrobe fits, not even my shoes! I have read that your feet can permanently expand possibly due to the pressure of the extra weight and the increased looseness of the joints in pregnancy. Eek!
There have been (many) days that I have stayed in my jammies and barely even brushed my hair as our lives have been consumed with this tiny human who burst into our lives at the beginning of August.
I was very lucky to have had a wonderful birth experience so I sort of presumed that breastfeeding would come naturally to me but unfortunately it didn’t, and it hasn’t.
It’s difficult for me to admit this especially as I sought help from friends, nurses, a lactation consultant and a doctor but this week I finally had to accept that I could no longer continue with it.
Having had a drug-free birth, I now know I’m not a wimp, but for me, breastfeeding has been a major struggle. If I wasn’t breastfeeding, I was pumping and it became a nightmare: from cracked nipples, blocked ducts and a condition called vasospasm (as sore as it sounds!), I simply could no longer continue.
As much as I imagined breastfeeding for at least six months, it hasn’t worked out that way. It has been incredibly upsetting for me to make the decision to stop but I know that I gave it my very best.
Every feed counts as they say and I did all that I could to nourish him in his first weeks of life. He’s healthy and happy and that’s all that matters.
When I stopped, I realised how physically, emotionally and mentally draining it has been for me and since I made the decision to move to formula and to let go of the guilt, I have been happier in myself which is ultimately better for our family. Happy Mommy, Happy Baby!
So fellow mommas, be kind to yourselves, whatever your own journey into motherhood. Let’s drop the judgment and the guilt.
Simply do your best, trust your instinct, be present with your little one, breathe when it’s stressful and take it a day at a time.
You’ve been through a life altering experience, it’s tough and you are doing great!