With a new baby on the way I have been thinking back to how I parented Cherry when she was a newborn and what I will be doing differently this time.
I was really anxious and didn’t really have a clue what I was doing first time round. I just made it up as I went, or really just muddled along whilst reaching for my phone and asking Google, in fact I think I spent the first few weeks / months spending the early hours of the morning asking Google why my baby wouldn’t sleep.
I wanted someone to give me answers, to tell me how to do things the right way but no-one could as parenting doesn’t work like that. It is such a personal thing and everyone does it differently.
I followed my instincts though and did what felt right and after a while I did find a way to parent that worked for us. It is what I can only really call the ‘boob will fix it’ approach.
Basically whatever the problem was, my boob and what was inside it, made it better.
Cherry used to feed a lot, and I was happy to let her feed a lot. She never wanted a bottle or a dummy (despite me trying on more than one occasion!), she just wanted my boob and luckily because I didn’t have a job at the time, it was okay. If anything I found it a big relief, it was good to know that I had the secret tool to get her to sleep when I needed an afternoon rest.
I am not going to lie, I did have a few times where I really felt like I wanted to stop and thought that I had done it all wrong, especially once Cherry could talk and would demand milk a lot of the time then go berserk if I said no. Then there was the fact that once she passed her first birthday people started to make comments about me ‘Still Breastfeeding’ her. I started to feel abnormal but thankfully the blogging world gave me the confidence I needed to push through the difficult times and carry on and I’m so glad I did. I think it also helped that I managed to change Mr C’s mind about breastfeeding past the age of one, he initially found it weird and wanted me to stop but there was an occasion when Cherry was ill and it was the only thing she would drink, I had his full support again after that.
Our breastfeeding journey ended in the nicest way when Cherry was 18 months old, it just happened. Neither of us refused one another, I didn’t even know that her last feed was going to be her last.
It was perfect and because of that I no longer regret any part of my boob will fix it approach to parenting. So what if she wanted feeding to sleep, for comfort, for hunger, for thirst, for pain relief or even for boredom. It really doesn’t matter why she wanted feeding so much because since stopping she hasn’t so much as mentioned it again, it comforted her and fed her when she needed it and then she became independent and forgot all about it. Now I am quite pleased she didn’t take a dummy or a bottle because I have never had to worry about how to get her to stop using them.
On reflection I am happy with the way I did things. I still wonder whether there was anything I could have done differently to help Cherry sleep better and I am hoping that next time, my more relaxed, confident approach will help things but if not then I think I will just put it down to having a bad sleeper as oppose to me making the wrong parenting choices.
I don’t know whether my boob will fix it approach will work or even be possible next time as every baby is different but I do know that I will never question whether I am over-breastfeeding again because I personally don’t believe there is any such thing.
Obviously to anyone who hasn’t / isn’t going to breastfeed, please don’t think I am in anyway against bottle-feeding. I totally believe that a happy mum equals a happy baby and believe that everyone should be free to make whatever parenting choice they feel is right for their family.