There is a marathon called the EBF6 – you may be familiar with it.
It stands for Exclusive Breast Feeding for 6 Months and it seems a hell of a lot of mums have been roped into it. Some know they’re not runners and don’t get involved; others find circumstances beyond their control prevent them from competing. A certain number suffer an early injury, and a good few decide a half marathon is more than enough of a challenge. I’m convinced the ones who make it to the finish line arrive limping and exhausted.
Why do we do it to ourselves?
I’m not sure where I fit into the metaphor – I introduced one formula bottle before bedtime at 3 weeks and I have just decided, at 11 and a half weeks, to introduce a second. He’s hungry and I’m sore. But I agonised over the decision. I wondered if I should wait until 12 weeks. Why? Because it sounded better? Because I was worried people would judge me for pulling out a bottle at lunchtime? Because I wanted to keep running until we reached the solids stage? It’s ridiculous.
The honest truth is that, once I made the decision I felt a huge sense of relief. I knew he’d be getting more nourishment (my boobs are on the small side and I’ve always been concerned I wasn’t producing enough) and it freed me. I have my own business and I really need to start easing myself back in. A bottle at lunchtime means my mum can look after him for longer than two hours, or at the weekend Rod can take him away for some daddy time. I’ve never managed to get the wee man to go three hours between feeds with any regularity, so I’ve always had to hover nearby whenever anyone else is helping out. Expressing, before you ask, is a pain in the ass- it took me two weeks to store enough to be able to leave him with my mum overnight!
So I’m trying to make my peace with a compromise. I still give him five feeds a day, so he’s getting all the benefits of breast milk, with the crutch of two formula bottles. Do I still get a medal?