Breastfeeding – Who’s the Dummy Now?
Breastfeeding: Who’s the dummy now???
Me. That’s who. Me. Lucy, Mummy, Mama. Whatever you want to call me – I am officially a dummy. 16 months into my breastfeeding journey, and I’ve shifted from breast feeding warrior to dummy in one fowl swoop.
We’ve all heard the debates – the mud slinging between breast and bottle Mums, the constant breast is best statistics or research trying to reinforce the message that breast is best or to encourage women who may otherwise stop to feed for just that little bit longer.
I don’t doubt that breast IS best for baby: I wouldn’t have fed both girls for as long as I have without a desire to want to do it. We’ve had our fair share of hurdles to overcome, and so far, this far we’ve got through everyone unscathed. When I was ill with sepsis after Neve was born, unable to walk or move from the four walls of my hospital bed, feeding was literally all felt I could do for Neve. The only bit of normality I had in my life. Since then our journey has been relatively drama free. She has grown well, latched well, and I have had a good milk supply, with our main pain points being around lack of sleep and the odd blocked duct thrown into the mix.
However, whilst breast is best for baby, what about Mum?
What happens when breast being best for baby becomes a brutal battle for the mum? What happens when it shifts from a good supply of nutrition and nurture to the role of comforter; – Who’s the dummy now??
I’m in to month 16 of feeding Neve and I am broken. My role of nursing mother has changed. No longer am a source of nutrition, supplementing her terrible non existent diet (see our Dietitian Journey), but a sleeping aid – and a bad one at that.
She wakes in the night and she needs me, or specifically the breast to return to sleep. If I try and cuddle her or comfort her another way she gets angry and arches her back, pushing away like I’m some kind of incessant germ. God forbid Mike goes in to try and give me a break – then the rage sets in and she refuses to even let him pick her up out the cot let alone try and comfort her. She knows he doesn’t have what she needs and as such, she doesn’t want to know.
I eventually give in, peering at the clock through heavy lidded eyes, desperately hoping I can squeeze in just a few more minutes sleep before my alarm goes off for work. She feeds, her small yet rapidly growing body slowly relaxing in my arms until she releases in a barely conscious slumber before giving me the sign that she’s ready to lie down again. The short sharp nudges in my arms that tells me my role is done, she’s got what she wanted, she doesn’t want me anymore and she just wants to sleep, not even rewarding my efforts with a sleepy cuddle on my chest.
I know when my breastfeeding days are over I will miss being needed; miss being the one she turns to when her molars are pushing, her gums are sore or when she feels out of sorts. I will miss the beaming smile and chants of ‘Mama!!!!!’ when I get in late from work – the clear relief on her face that Mummy is home, and that milk will follow soon after.
But for now, this stage of my breastfeeding journey is tough. I am officially a dummy. An overused dummy who has seen better days.