If I Ever Had Another Baby…
…Would I breast feed it?
I don’t mean ‘would I be successful?’, I mean ‘would I even try?’
I’d know who to call, where to turn. I have so much more knowledge now than I did before. I’ve lost that rose tinted view of popping a baby out and just latching it on. I know about mastitis and tongue tie and perseverance. I know more about the miracle that is breast milk. I’ve trained as a peer supporter. I have hundreds of pounds worth of breast pump to fall back on. I wouldn’t hesitate to spend money to see the best lactation consultant I could as soon as possible.
I certainly have a million times more passion for it. But that would be my downfall. I have so much more to lose now. I drove myself crazy the first time around. Quite literally, mental. I can’t go through that again. I have Moo to look after now, and I’ve come so far from that dark, desolate place.
It might be a wonderfully healing experience, if all went to plan. I’m sure I’d feel sadness, that I didn’t have the same relationship with Moo, but I think it’d put demons to rest. I’d fulfil an overwhelming dream, reach a sense of completeness as a mother, as a grower of a human being.
But if it didn’t, then I’d be thrown back into a state if mental chaos, an absolutely horrific nightmare. I don’t think I’d manage to exclusively pump again, at least not for this long, not with a toddler in tow. I’d have to relive the guilt, the disappointment, the grief, the feelings of inadequacy. No thank you.
So, would I just formula feed from the off? When I was in hospital after having Moo the woman in the bed next to me had chosen to do just that. Her difficult experiences first time around had led her to choose to formula feed her second baby. I remember feeling angry with her, as I spent hours trying to latch my newborn and express drops of colostrum into a syringe. She had it so damn easy. I wished I didn’t care so much. Perhaps choosing formula next time would stop any potential heart ache, lesson the chance of post natal depression and grief and blackness.
I don’t think I could choose formula and live with myself. My love for breastfeeding and breast milk just wouldn’t let me do it. The guilt and regret of never trying would eat me alive, surpassing any feeling of sadness if things didn’t work out for a second time. You don’t regret the things you do, you regret the things you never did.
This dilemma is one of the reasons I’m not planning any future babies. As I see it, there are three paths I could find myself on. The first is to breast feed and it be wonderfully successful. Baby can latch and transfer the milk well, they thrive, I get to make my dream a reality. Beautiful. The second is that I try to breast feed and it does not go well. Thus follows the mental trauma associated with that. The third path is to not try at all, to feed my baby the ‘closest thing to breast milk’, that I know jolly well isn’t particularly close to it at all. I then live with the guilt of not trying to provide the best for my baby and taking the easy way out because I’m not strong enough to try, I’m weak.
I can’t guarantee that the first option will come to fruition, and I’ll be damned if I choose either of the others. So I choose to avoid the dilemma completely. I give up my dream of a big family and concentrate on pumping and being sane for Moos sake. It makes me sad, but I know that it saves me from worse.