There has been a lot of debate in the press lately about breast feeding or not. Extremists will always get their views into the media, and it is important, in my opinion, that they do. They give us an opportunity to ask ourselves what we think about the issue.
Breast feeding has been something I can do. Very little drama and a lot of success. I am grateful that my children have been able to benefit from the intimacy of breast feeding and the health benefits. Still, there are many other beautiful mother-child relationships for those who bottle fed, what's more their children are also healthy.
I have always advocated to other mummy friends that you do what ever is best for a happy mum and happy baby. At the point when the decision is being made, or is made that bottle feeding must begin I hear my self consoling friends with "It's ok" and "We can do our best, then we are allowed to bottle feed if we need too".
While I can breast feed I am not quite able to breast feed for as long as some Mums. At our Steiner playgroup I am always amazed by mothers breast feeding two, three and four year old children. All mothers have their reasons for breast feeding - for what ever duration, or bottle feeding and hopefully the reason encompasses happiness.
So I can say this and share this - but now I am living it with my second daughter I am struggling!! E is six months old. From four months she has shown strong signs of wanting food. She has been breast fed on demand - unlike my eldest daughter. She is now on three meals a day and loves her milk and food. She is happy.
I am less happy, I am tired too. Consequently, we are almost one week into one bottle of formula a day. She takes the bottle enthusiastically, unlike her sister! She devours her milk. She has three teeth, so its nice that the teat gets a hard time instead of me! Yet I feel a sense of guilt.
When I pulled out the bottle at our beloved play group I felt like a failure. I have not seen one bottle fed baby there before. E did not mind one bit. Actually, I bet nobody minded. Just me!! Our play group community are so accepting, and yet I felt guilt. So silly!
So why have I started to drop breast feeding? Let me remind my self.
E is ready for more. I am exhausted. Hormone fluctuations are making me a little crazy. Patience is disappearing. Oh, and here is a wee sketch of what my vivacious eldest daughter got up to today at play group...
That is her a top an eight foot fence. No one else at play group had the vision to see how to climb the fence. Kaea does! And did so twice today!! The fence neatly separates play group from kindergarten. Kaea has watched little people playing through the cracks in the fence. She has wondered through their green kindergarten pastures, past the fountain, rocky edged sandpit, meandering paths to the lush vege garden to feed the chickens. She has experienced a small sense of loss realising that her friends who once played with her at play group, are now on the other side of the fence.
At almost two and a half she told me she can go to kindy now. She has been told that when she is three, and can successfully use the toilet she may go to kindy. Well she can use the toilet and she is three next birthday so I can see why she must be there NOW. The kindergarten co-ordinator who rescued her from eight feet up (whilst I tried with baby in arm) a little shocked to learn that she was not three for another five months asked me if I thought she would be ready to attend without Mum. My response, rather sadly was yes.
I am not digressing from the point of this post. Promise. Kaea is an exuberant, independent learner, who cannot get enough of the world. I tire from keeping up with or just behind her from a little distance. She needs my energy as does E. So to keep up with them both and keep my self going forward I feel that a combination of breast and bottle from now on is the key.
Hopefully we can regain a happy mum, and maintain happy baby and toddler.