When I was having baby no 3 the decision to breastfeed or not was easy for me, as I did so with my last and I wanted to at least try and feed this one for as long as I could.
I am still feeding my 4 month old and will continue to do so until he and I are ready to stop.
That being said there are lots of mums who make the decision to breastfeed and for a host of reasons it doesn't work out for them and it's not for the want of trying.
I know this from the last time round where it just did not work out for me and my son, mainly I think because the maternity leave was much shorter and as the time came closer for me to return to work I simply stopped after 12 weeks.
I don't need to point out the benefits for both babies and mums because there are vast amounts of research available to prove that breastmilk is best, but is it just me or is there a lack of information available on how to deal with the problems associated with breastfeeding?
People are all too quick to say just give him the bottle, you've done enough now, or it gets easier after the first few weeks. Support is available but mostly from people who have never actually breastfed babies themselves and are text book advisers.
I will be the first to tell you how rewarding it is, I still smile and clap myself on the back when I look at my baby records and see the nurse's comments about the excellent weight gain my little fellow had in the first week, yes, weight gain not loss, of 12ozs but it is not without it's trials and tribulations - sore and cracked nipples, engorged breasts, mastitis, days and nights of constant feeding, sleep deprivation, feeling guilty because things were not going the way they said it should in the little booklet - I've been through it all and I have used the bottle when necessary but I have come out the other side and we're still going!!
The World Health Organisation and many other experts recommend that you breastfeed your child exclusively for the first 6 months, however last week to my horror, my little fellow refused point blank to feed from my right breast.
Confused and feeling slightly hurt there was no way this baby was going to feed from this side, so I gave in and let him feed only from the chosen side and started to use my pump on the other, which I don't really like.
I now look slightly hideous with one side bigger than the other, and despite my best efforts he is still refusing - 6 whole days. At this point, I'm thinking my little fellow is initiating the next stage of his development and is ready to start the weaning process, I will be getting ready to start this during the week and see how we progress.
As always I will persevere because breastfeeding really is an unexpected journey with many bumps along the way but once we face up to those bumps we will find a way around them and can move on.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and if you have any comments/advice it would be most welcome.