Monday, 25 July 2011


After a very difficult few days, my mother took me in hand and dragged me to the supermarket.

I read the labels of every available type of formula, then spent almost an hour trying to decide which to try Daughter with. All the while, my little baby was peering out from over the edge of the sling I use to carry her, smiling and gurgling to herself. The whole affair felt rather like a bitter betrayal.

It took nearly everything I had not to cry when I added two pre-mixed cartons of formula milk to the trolley. That money will remain, I am sure, the hardest £1.26 I will ever spend.

As mothers, we're programmed to do the best for our children, often to the detriment of ourselves. Yesterday, I went going against that programming for the sake of my relationship with Husband. The worse the D-MER and feeding gets, the more I take it out on him and the worse the pair of us feel. And really, though I know that breast milk is nutritionally better for my little girl, I also know that parents' who love one another are better than a mummy and daddy who are constantly fighting. And it isn't as though I'm going to simply stop feeding her breast milk over night. I will wait until I know I just can't go on with the feeding and stay sane (as has happened on occasion, when I've just had to leave Daughter in Husband's arms and go for a drive). At that point I will start swapping her pre-bed feed for a bottle. Because milk supply is at its lowest, it's the longest and therefore most miserable feed of the day.

I hate the fact I feel like that - I am so blissfully happy the rest of the time. Before Daughter was born, I'd even planned to donate milk to the local hospital to help pre-term babies but I can't even bring myself to pump for my own child any more.

Anyway, as I said, just the purchase of the formula felt like a betrayal and it got me to thinking about how just about every choice is difficult when there is a helpless little life involved. You have to weigh up all the issues and statistics surrounding what the medical profession perceive as risks and then make your decisions accordingly.

Over the weekend, I purchased a gorgeous second hand cot. It's a Stokke Sleepi and I would never have been able to afford one new. As it was, my parents had to buy this one for us because even used, these ingenious little beds fetch a pretty penny. I wanted Daughter to have a bed that could grow up with her - which would be familiar and safe regardless of the other changes which will happen in her life. And the bed came with a used mattress. To buy a new one - which is the ultimate aim - is more than I can afford, but I know that used mattresses increase the risk of SIDS. Happily, Daughter is older than the high risk age group, but putting her to sleep in her new bed still made me paranoid. And don't even get me started on what the warnings on the second hand car seats make me feel like.

As a result, I have decided that I can not go on feeling like a big nervous wreck who is overcome by guilt at every last little choice they make. I have thrown out all of my advice books and am setting myself a ban on parenting websites. Let's see how well instinct does...

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