As a new Mum, I felt pressured to breastfeed…

… even though I didn’t enjoy it.

I’d been adamant when I discovered I was having multiples that I wouldn’t breastfeed.

I was willing to give it a go though as I assumed there’d be an expectation to try.

“Sure, one at a time is okay, but two? How the bloody hell am I going to manage that?”

The idea of being a walking moo-moo, who never got a break from having its teets chewed and pulled on all day long wasn’t appealing.

My first time

Levi and Tate weren’t able to be physically breastfed for many weeks after birth.

About 28 hours after delivery, my nurse asked me to express colostrum.

As a first-time Mum, I had little idea what colostrum was, nor how to get it out.

I’d dreaded this moment.

I didn’t want the nurse to judge me because a) I didn’t know what I was doing and b) I didn’t plan on breastfeeding long-term.

So I remained quiet and complied.

The nurse explained how I should massage the nipple while she watched on at my poor attempts.

After giving myself multiple titty-twisters and feeling frustrated and sore, the nurse kindly asked if she could do it for me.


My first day compared to my third day

It wasn’t as painful as I had tried, but it wasn’t pleasurable either.

She left me for an hour to tend to myself.

I sat alone in my hospital room, expressing colostrum while wincing through my tears.

All I kept thinking to myself was, “This is for the twins, this is good for them, they need this…”

Donor milk

It took time for my milk to come in and I rarely produced enough for both babies.  

My negativity towards breastfeeding likely didn’t help my subconscious either.

At one point, Tate and Levi received donor milk from a stranger.

I didn’t even know that was a thing. 

The intrusive thoughts spilled out in front of the nurses one day as I sobbed; 

“How much of a shitty Mum am I that I can’t produce milk for my own babies?”  

God bless them, the nurses were so kind and reassuring. 

They reminded me that my body had been through trauma, my children were fighting for life, I was commuting two hours daily, and my hormones had me ugly-cry when I put my t-shirt on backwards… it was perfectly natural and normal.  

As Madonna would say, “express yourself”

My milk eventually came in and I had to learn how to express using a breast pump.

Ahhh the Medela Symphony hospital-grade breast pump – how I’ll never forget you. 

Expressing, for me, was also never pleasant.

If you have never used a pump before, imagine sticking this vacuum cleaner hose onto a boob and having it suck for 15 minutes, every three hours.

And let’s not forget the leakage if you didn’t have the suction cups on correctly.

Fun times.

Attempting to breastfeed

Despite my ill feelings, I did breastfeed the twins in the hospital a few times. 

Most of the time, I struggled to get them both to latch.

Lactation consultants gave great advice however I still couldn’t master it.

I spent half an hour attempting to latch Levi on one occasion.

The nurse who monitored me could see we were both visibly frustrated. 

I thought to myself, “Can I just give them a bottle already? How long do I have to do this, it’s not working…” 

The nurse gave in, realising that Levi was now not only hungry but tired too. 

A mother’s bond

I will say, the odd time that I was successful at feeding, it was both calming and beautiful to be so connected to bubs.

And the little suckling sounds were my favourite part.

I understand the love and feeling that mothers get when they do breastfeed, and why many do it for so long.

I really, really wish it had been that easy for me.

Societal process to breastfeed

While I was never forced, disrespected or treated poorly (the nurses and midwives were all amazing), I did feel quite pressured to breastfeed because of the benefits

I was expressing still, so it wasn’t like I wasn’t giving Levi and Tate breastmilk.

Perhaps if I had had a singleton, I would have been more open and patient with it.

From expressing to formula

When the twins came home from hospital, I continued to have trouble feeding.

Eventually, the crying (both theirs and mine) made me give up and reach for the bottles of expressed milk.

Breastfeeding was dropped after the third or fourth week of being home.

I exclusively expressed until the twins were about seven months old.

From there, I stopped expressing and switched to formula. 

My milk dried up in a few days and I count myself grateful – little pain and no mastisis.

It was a tough choice to stop expressing milk, given all the positives of breastmilk and avoiding judgy opinions.

But for two main reasons I decided to start formula: 

  1. My milk supply decreased and I was not producing enough for two babies.
  2. I wanted to stop – for myself.

Yep, that last one is selfish.

But you know what?

I was a happier and better Mum to my little ones for it. 

And look at my boys now: they are thriving, strong, happy, intelligent, cheeky little boys. 

A Mum’s, or better yet, a woman’s intuition is generally always right, especially when it comes to her children and her own body. 

I don’t regret giving up breastfeeding or expressing.

I did the best thing for myself and as for my children, in my opinion, fed is best.

1 thought on “As a new Mum, I felt pressured to breastfeed…

  1. Sue

    Almost 20 years ago I was in the same boat. Twin Boys also. I put no expectation on myself about Breast feeding. But the Nurses at my Pharmacy Clinic did. Breast Feeding just wasn’t for me. But I gave it a more than adequate go. Being told “breast is best” . I also gave the Breast Pump a go. I think it is sad that 20 years on it is still the same. No, in some cases breast is not the best. What is the best is what works for Mother and ( in my case ) babies .


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *