I’ve found myself in the horrible position of having to choose between the needs of one child over the other this week and I don’t like it one bit.
When I fell pregnant with Ollie I debated whether I would or would not breastfeed him. Under hospital policy, if Aidan is admitted to hospital, Ollie can stay with me by Aidan’s bedside only if he is breastfed. This means that if he isn’t breastfed then I need to choose between the two boys. Since Ollie’s birth, things have been going along okay with Aidan’s health but at the back of my mind I knew I would need to make a decision soon.That decision came this week when Aidan fell ill. After three days of fevers, Anthony and I decided to take him to hospital to get checked out. We expected the doctors would admit him for a course of IV antibiotics and decided to pack overnight bags to take with us. The question was who would stay with Aidan? Since I was breastfeeding Ollie, I could stay with both boys but I knew in my heart that it wasn’t really feasible. There was no way I could look after a newborn and a sick child all by myself and it broke my heart as we packed Anthony’s clothes for him to stay. Yes, Anthony is Aidan’s dad but I know when Aidan is sick it’s me that he wants. After all, nothing beats your mum when you need a hug. How could I begin to explain to Aidan that I couldn’t stay by his bedside as I always did because of Ollie? Would he resent his little brother? What if something happened and I wasn’t there?
Fortunately, Aidan wasn’t admitted but by then my decision was made. I would start to wean Ollie onto formula.
If a friend told me she was no longer breastfeeding her child I would be 100% supportive – thousands of babies get through life quite fine not being breastfed. But of course, I love beating myself up and have a tendency to let mother guilt eat away at me. I worry that not breastfeeding Ollie will lead to more allergies in the future and a weakened immune system as the experts say. I think my decision would sit better with me if I stopped breastfeeding because of mastitis or because I wasn’t producing enough milk but I’m choosing not to breastfeed when I am quite capable of doing so. To be honest, I also worry about feeding Ollie a bottle in public, even though I know I shouldn’t care what other people think.
However, as much as it pains me to put Ollie onto formula, I know it is the right decision for me and my family.