Would you love breastfeeding if it was like THIS?

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Strapped in, hands-free? Check. Toast and tea? Yep. Toddler settled into three-course breakfast, complete with emergency fruits and beverages? Uh huh. Warm bottle, screaming baby, remote, tablet, ridiculously huge water bottle and (breathe out) a skerrick of sanity? Yeah…

Then let the moo begin! Moo… moo… moo…

This was me, every morning. For almost six months. With my trusty hands-free double breast pump strapped on, multitasking like a muthafu… I mean, responsible mother. It was me four times a day. At home. At my sister’s. At my mum’s. In parents’ rooms. In car parks. Whilst driving* … moo … moo … moo …

Why, you cry with horror?

It wasn’t so much a choice as a manageable option.

You see – lactation consultants brace yourselves – my babies just didn’t like my boobs. Not at all. Neither of them (neither boob, neither baby). Sure, we were all bosom buddies for a while, until – gasp – the dreaded bottle was introduced. That’s when my bodgy boobs came off second best and I adopted the Moo**.

I pumped like a muthafu… responsible mother … day in and day out to keep their little bellies full of the good stuff for the first six months of their lives – hell, I wasn’t letting those chubby little tyrants get one up on me – and then I switched to formula.

After the initial (and completely irrational) pang of guilt, I felt relief. Thank God that’s over! Because, let’s face it, pumping several hours a day with a baby in arms and a two-year-old on the loose IS A LITTLE BIT INSANE (and a bit stressful, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time).

These days I happily leave bub to feed herself her formula bottle, knowing  the house is a little bit cleaner, my two-year-old isn’t going to wee next to the toilet unsupervised, and life’s a little bit less complicated. Judge me if you will (because, you know, I probably wasn’t trying hard enough, right? I mean, who really cares about the recurrent mastitis, lop-sided boobs, babies screaming at the mere glimpse of a nipple…?) but that’s what worked for us.

Having finally retired my dehydrated peaches to my push-up bra, it’s time to chuckle about the insanity of it all. And ask the breastfeeding fairies for better luck next time (Who could pass up an opportunity to be an arse-kicking militant breast feeder like Pink?) .

Life before the Moo, when breast was the best.

Life before the Moo, when breast was the best.

*Only when my mummy knockers were millilitres from exploding and never when the kids were in the car. It WAS hands-free, after all (you know, like your mobile phone kit. Sort-of. Ok, not really.)

** The “Moo” is the Medela Freestyle Double Breast Pump and it’s absolutely brilliant for exclusive pumpers (or anyone who wants a good quality, reliable machine).

Have you ever expressed? Would you do it exclusively? Have you ever been judged by others for feeding your baby the “wrong” way? Feel free to share your thoughts/experiences below. 

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Comments

  1. Breastfeeding is the biggest mummy guilt trip I’ve encountered so far. Why is there so much judgement out there over feeding? I really don’t get it, as long as bub is healthy and loved what should it matter to anyone else. We are so tough on ourselves already, it’s really cruel for others to pile on the guilt too, all it achieves is more anxiety and self-doubt. Good on you for persisting with expressing, you definitely didn’t have an easy time of it. I bet you turned a couple of heads driving around with a double pump attached – classic!

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    • Thanks Webbie, I’m just thankful I didn’t get pulled over for a random breath test and shock some poor policeman! (I’m not entirely sure how legal it is, either. It would make for a bloody good court yarn if I got booked for it, though!)
      You’re absolutely spot on – it shouldn’t matter. What’s worse is that the “advice” and “encouragement” often comes from people who love us and want the best for the both of us; I just don’t think they realise that when you’re on the receiving end it often feels like criticism. This can be especially hard for first-time mum’s who don’t have the experience to tell people when to shove it (with subsequent children you just refer them to your perfect little exhibit A, and then you tell them to shove it!).

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  2. Breast feeding is impossible for some mums (or god forbid maybe they just don’t want to do it) It shouldn’t be okay for midwives to tell mums that formula is second rate, piling on the guilt before the baby is even home; or for women to shoot dirty looks at mums for pulling a bottle out of the nappy bag. Both have happened to me. It’s not okay to make mum’s feel guilty for not choosing the most difficult option in an already stressful period of their lives. High fives to the women who find breastfeeding easy but If it was easy for every mum, we’d all do it.

    It wouldn’t be polite if I judged what their four year old ate for dinner directly to their faces; or if I pointed out that their day care provider wasn’t the best available. The whole issue about formula vs breast feeding is hurtful. We should be supporting other mum’s not judging them. My GP (female in her thirties) chose formula for her son and didn’t even attempt to breast feed I was gobsmacked when she told me, her words were “happy mummy equals happy baby”, best parenting advice I was ever given.

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    • Sal, I totally agree.
      I was criticised for bottle feeding my babies breast milk because (apparently) the lack of mouth-to-nipple contact meant I was depriving us of a “proper” bond. Sure, it was lovely when it worked for us, but when it didn’t we were both stressed… and yet expressing and giving them the actual benefits of the milk still wasn’t good enough for some people. You can’t win!
      I’m glad your doctor was so pragmatic, a lot of women could benefit from that advice.
      Thanks for your comment.

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  3. I pumped exclusively for over 15 months. My daughter refused to latch, despite the best efforts of several board-certified lactation consultants. I also supplemented with formula. Formula isn’t poison, it’s FOOD! I’m lucky that my LCs, my OB/GYN, and my daughter’s Ped were very supportive, and concerned not just for my daughter’s health and weight gain, but for my mental and physical health as well. Good health care shouldn’t be a matter of luck, though. I have friends who breastfed for 2 weeks, and friends who are still breastfeeding their 2 year olds – they’re all wonderful moms who love their children. We all do the best we can with the situations we’re dealt!

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    • Wow, that’s incredible! I don’t know if I should high-five you or give you a hug. Fifteen months is a long time.
      You’re right though, it wouldn’t have made you any less a mother if you’d thrown in the towel at one month and switched to formula (and knowing what it’s like to pump exclusively, I wouldn’t have blamed you)!
      Thank you for sharing your story.

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  4. My hat absolutely goes off to you! Expressing takes serious commitment, which is the diplomatic way of saying it’s a total PITA. And big middle-fingers up to anyone who judges a woman for feeding her baby. Eff you and your stinky judgement.

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  5. I love this! I had a Medela double electric when I was pumping for the gremlins and yes, I most definitely felt like a cow! Thanks so much for linking up with us for #WBW2014 🙂

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  6. I’m absolutely crap at expressing! It’s a lot of work- sounds like you did an amazing job! Thanks for linking up 😀

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    • Thanks Amy! Don’t say you’re crap at expressing, if you want to blame anyone blame your boobs. Mine are useless! I had to drink 5-6L water a day to produce the scarce amount of milk I had. didn’t matter how often I expressed or how little, how many nutritious nuts, oils or lactation biscuits I ate they just didn’t work! My moo got me by but only just! Breastfeeding is a tough gig – those who succeed at it naturally are truly lucky!

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