Not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea of breastfeeding. Pressure from friends and family can make the thought of breastfeeding quite daunting. But once their baby is born and breastfeeding begins, many mums find that breastfeeding is not at all what they expected. This is Courtney Pollock’s story and a photo of her baby, originally shared in Breastfeeders in Australia and shared with her permission.
“No one is more surprised than me at our journey.
Falling pregnant was a surprise, but hey, I’m 27 and was more than ready to be a mum even if that meant going solo. The most common question I was asked whilst pregnant shocked me, “do you plan to breastfeed?” I was asked on a daily basis multiple times (I’m a hairdresser and my clients would ask constantly). I thought many things, like why do they want to know? How is it any of their business? So what if I don’t? Why are we discussing this? It’s not a particularly offensive question but as a first time mum I was slightly taken back by the fact people wanted to discuss my boobs and what I was planning to do with them.
My answer to this repeatedly asked question was always the same “I plan to give it a go, but I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t work out that way”. Before my son was born I didn’t know my feelings on breastfeeding and whether or not I would feel comfortable doing it myself. I watched my sisters breastfeed all eight of their children and it was never not completely natural – always welcomed and accepted but all of a sudden I was in the spotlight. I’d have to have my boobs out in front of my dad! My brothers! My friends’ husbands who didn’t have kids yet….could I really sit there comfortably and do that? Before he was born the answer was hell no!
My mother is an avid supporter of breastfeeding and breastfed me until I was just over a year old but still I felt something was off about it. Just within myself I didn’t think I could ever fully be comfortable doing that. I kept telling myself ‘Mum’s never going to let you formula feed in peace, your going to HAVE to do this, even if you are uncomfortable, for at least six months to keep her happy and off your back.” When my mum has an opinion….she makes sure you know it! I look back on this time now and the thoughts that used to whiz around my head and think Jesus Courtney, how selfish were you! But that’s the way it was when it was just me!
When my little munchkin was born I pretty much demanded I feed completely alone for about the first week. There was an incident with a midwife at the hospital on our second day that left me inconsolable, in tears, feeling vulnerable and emotional. After that I demanded no one watch me feed. But with my mum’s encouragement (we lived with her for our first 12 weeks) and the exposure to groups like Breastfeeders in Australia on Facebook, I’m happy and extremely proud to say that breastfeeding has created my healthy, strong and thriving little boy. I’m still not completely comfortable feeding in public but my first thought these days isn’t how do I feel, it’s that my bubba needs to be fed and I’m the only one that can do that!”