Breast is Best…Except When it’s Not!

A beautiful post from one of our amazing readers Kallyn Da Costa

I am a first time mum to an amazingly beautiful 8 week old boy!

I have been wanting to write something for a while, maybe to help myself and also because I feel I cannot be the only mumma to have felt like this!

Everywhere a new mum turns there are articles, posters, midwifes, something screaming the words BREAST IS BEST! And ain’t that the truth!

Except when it’s not.

Before I gave birth to my son I did all the things a mum-to-be does! I read the articles, I went to the classes, I asked every mother I new about being a mum and the one thing I knew for sure was that I was going to breastfeed my little boy.

And when my beautiful little boy came along I was so proud he latched, he sucked and my milk came in quickly.

It hurt and I was tired but my oh my, I was breastfeeding and quite successfully I thought. It wasn’t until my visit from the community nurse that I even considered something might not be going so well.

She pointed out to me that he had become quite jaundice and had lost enough weight to be a concern. She suggested I should start trying him on formula as it could be my milk! My milk??? No!! Breast is best!

I thought she must be crazy telling my to give him formula, he is eating and sleeping and I will just feed him more, the problem cannot be my milk!

I was upset by this visit and decided to make an appointment with my doctor who is very supportive of breastfeeding.

It was then I was given the information that breastmilk can cause jaundice, rare but it does happen and sometimes it can be flushed out just by continuing to feed. However, my son and I have different blood types and my doctor advised there maybe be other complications causing him not to be nourished.

My doctor suggested we monitor him over the next two weeks. I was going to do this and nothing was going to stop me!

My husband supported me, my family supported me, my doctor supported me everything was going to be ok. Until it wasn’t.

At the end of the two weeks my doctor sat me down and explained that sometimes breast is not best and I needed to make the switch to formula. I could not believe it! I had failed!

My milk was making my baby sick and I could not comprehend this, it was unheard of!

Everywhere I turned there was something screaming in my face the beauty of breastfeeding, suddenly every mother I saw had a baby attached to her boob and my milk was making my baby sick!

I think our society has become so accustomed to defending breastfeeding – which I also completely support – although while I was breast feeding I felt so proud it didn’t matter to me what anyone else thought.

I think there needs to be more support in place for the amazing mothers who either cannot breastfeed or choose not to breastfeed.

The first time I made a bottle while we were out I was embarrassed by the looks of pity when people said to me “oh you’re not breastfeeding?” or “oh you’ve already stopped giving him the breast?”

And reading phrases such as; “don’t give up breastfeeding or you’ll miss out!”

Being surrounded by these messages and feeling like a failure is a good mix for a downward spiral. I was so determined to breastfeed that I couldn’t see what was happening, I wasn’t doing what was best for my son.

And don’t get me wrong I 100% support breastfeeding and if we are lucky enough to add more blessings to our family I will try again.

But I will also remember breast is best – except when its not!

To end my story just in case there is a beautiful mumma out there who needs to hear something as simple as this – because I know I really, really, wish someone would have said to me –  it is OK to bottle feed your baby!!

You are an AMAZING mother Xx

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