Before I had bub I didn't get too attached to the idea of breastfeeding. I didn't want to get my hopes up on yet another thing that could turn out to be beyond my control. I'd had too many disappointments on the road to having a baby in the first place, I didn't want to add another one. My mum had no trouble breastfeeding me, but my grandmother was unable to feed any of her children and I knew my pcos could have an affect on my milk production. But, I still had hope and remained open minded.
It turns out my daughter must've taken feeding lessons in the womb or something. While I had no idea what I was doing at first, she seemed to have it down pat. She didn't need any encouragement or help finding my breast. She knew what she wanted and she went straight for it. From the very first feed her attachment was perfect. The nurses kept telling me I was the luckiest mum on the maternity ward. Any doubts I had about our breastfeeding journey were instantly forgotten.
It's hard to describe the feeling of breastfeeding to those who've never experienced it. I could never really grasp what it would be like before I did it myself. For me it was the most incredible feeling. It was overpowering. We were truly connected and in sync with each other as much as two people can ever be. It was comforting, natural. The most intense emotional experience I've ever had. It very quickly became familiar and normal, like we'd both been doing it together for years.
I loved feeding her because it was our time to focus solely on each other. It was a bond that only we could share. I looked forward to the night feeds. The snuggling. The rush of happy hormones. The feeling of complete contentment that washed over both of us. I felt so empowered that I was able to keep my baby nourished, content and thriving from my own body. I felt like I had a super power. It was the first thing in my journey to motherhood that had actually gone right and that was a refreshing change.
Unfortunately she didn't continue thriving for very long. After about 4 weeks she started getting very ill. That's when we found out about her cows milk protein allergy and that her body couldn't process my milk. It explained the continuous, often projectile, vomiting that followed each feed. The crying for hours on end. The rash that had started out as hives and become eczema that spread from her face to her nappy. It explained it all. It also meant the end of our precious breastfeeding journey. The quickest, and best, way to control her allergy, minimise her symptoms and eliminate her eczema was to change her to specialised formula. A decision that I knew was right at the time and in hindsight I still believe that, in fact even more-so than I did before.
There are moments though that I desperately miss breastfeeding. I miss the special, intense connection we had before. I try to put it out of my mind, but there are times I find myself longing for it. Times where for a few seconds I let myself wonder what it would be like if we had been able to continue our breastfeeding journey. Of course then the mummy guilt creeps in and the sadness washes over me. I know I did the best for her. I know she is thriving and a much happier baby now, but I can't help but miss it.