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Another Step Forward

When we saw the health visitor today, she asked if I was still breastfeeding (to which the answer was yes), and later asked if we’d started on solids. I said no, that I am waiting until S is 6 months old before starting any solids. Her response was, “well that’s fine, she doesn’t look like she’s needing the extra food yet any way!”  

Another Step Forward beautiful 5 month old



This made me happy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s nice to have her go along with what I’m doing without telling me what she thinks I should be doing. But most importantly for me, it’s another nail in the coffin of Things The Ex Told Me Would Happen. 

We had several conversations about breastfeeding and weaning, and the general consensus (his idea) was that S would be breastfed “to start with,” but that I wouldn’t be able to hack it for more than a few months, and that she would be on solids by 2 months because my milk on its own just wouldn’t be enough for her. 

It almost makes me want to call him up, just to say, Ha, you were wrong, see how healthy and happy and podgyshe is, and all of that came from me! One of his favourite things to say to me while I was pregnant was that I would never be able to breastfeed, I’d never cope with the pain, and Oh, your nipples crack and bleed, and it’s so horrible, you’ll give up, the baby will end up on formula. When I asked my mother whether I was breastfed and she replied that yes, she’d breastfed me and my siblings “until at least a year old,” his response was “ew, a year? That’s disgusting.” I remember being disappointed, thinking, Oh, I was looking forward to having that special bond with my child for as long as possible, and now you’re telling me it’ll be two months max, and then it’ll be jars of baby food and bottles of formula all the way.

When S was born, and “they” thought I was at high risk for PND, people kept mentioning to me that I could always go back onto my medication, if I wanted to. When I was pregnant they told me that after that first 12 weeks, it’s fine to be on the meds, the baby will only have a little withdrawal when it is born, and if you’re breastfeeding it won’t even get that because it’ll still be getting the drug in your milk. This is a drug that alters the way the brain works in the most basic of ways, and it’s fine to give to a brain that’s not even developed yet? I was having none of it, and stuck to my guns throughout what was, in hindsight, a very stressful and somewhat traumatic pregnancy. When the suggestion of taking the pills came up again after S was born, I still said no. I would manage perfectly well without medication, thank you very much.

So any way, my point is this: S’s father left us when she was 3 weeks old. I was, and still am, very angry about that. But when I look at the situation, if he’d stayed, things would look very different right now. For one, I think the health visitor would be keeping a much closer eye on us. 

But more importantly, I can easily imagine a situation where S would have been started on solids long before she was ready, I would have stopped breastfeeding her and moved her onto formula because I felt that was what was expected, and I would then have capitulated and gone back onto the medication because of the stress levels I was facing. 

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with any of those things, if that’s what you choose to do. But none of it was ever going to be what I would choose, if left to my own devices. And so, I suppose I should really be thanking S’s father for buggering off when he did.

Vicky is a mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. She writes about life as a single mother, parenting and lifestyle type things.

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