She tells: "I am 100% in support of breastfeeding- if it works for you. Moreover, I am 110% more in support of a mother’s choice not to breastfeed."
I need to get something off my chest (the pun was intended).
All I seem to read these days is about how mums are getting shamed for how they feed their babies.
First there was the shaming for breastfeeding in public and now all I seem to be reading is about bottle shaming. Maybe it’s just me because this is a sensitive subject for me, but does anyone else feel the same? Is there lots of shaming of women who cannot (or decide not to) breastfeed?
I’ve heard for decades how “breast is best” but I know from experience that it doesn’t always work for everyone. So I am saying it now for anyone who’s reading this to hear: That’s OK! Those mums who bottle feed should not feel ashamed or have to explain why they aren’t breastfeeding to ANYONE!
So I’ve just said that no mum should have to explain why they aren’t breastfeeding, and here I go giving you my story! I had an extremely difficult time nursing my first baby, despite trying everything I could for as long as I could. As a result my son wasn’t gaining weight like he needed to and I had to supplement with formula. I felt like a total failure, especially because so many breastfeeding articles had said “every woman’s body is capable of making the milk her baby needs.”
I sought help. It was not a good experience. I felt judged, chastised, and pressured to do whatever it took to breastfeed my baby. It was a very difficult time in my life having to deal with the breast feeding problems I was having, along with the pressures of being a first time mom. I had a bought of postpartum depression on top of this (but that story is for another day).
Once I decided that breastfeeding was not for me, things actually got much better. My baby was happy and getting the nourishment he needed. I was happier as I was in control and there was not the stress of the build up to every single feed. Quite the opposite – feeding him become such an enjoyable experience.
Happier in myself, I still got the odd comment or question or two! It was a topic that so many people felt comfortable bringing up!
Two years on, and thankfully expecting my second child, I now realise how irresponsible it is to shame mothers into breastfeeding, often at the expense of their own health and mental well-being (in my case).
This time around, I am was fully prepared to feed this baby formula. I am NOT going to drive myself crazy trying to nurse again. My decision is made.
Based on my experience, here is what I would say to any pregnant lady or new mum who is struggling with breastfeeding: It is completely OK to NOT breastfeed. Try it. Hopefully it works for you. But not under any circumstances, let it drive you to the point of insanity. Do not feel like a failure if it doesn’t work. There are so many women who have a difficult time and have issues. I know this now, but only after talking to so many of them. There’s nothing wrong with you. You are doing your best and you are a great mother. The most important thing is that your baby is being FED. Your child will reap the benefits on a contented, happy mum more than breast over bottle.
It may be cowardly of me not to sign this post, as I’m sure I’m going to receive tons of negative comments, or perhaps I will be surprised. But one thing I want to make crystal clear: I am 100% in support of breastfeeding- if it works for you. Moreover, I am 110% more in support of a mother’s choice.
Please let’s just support each other instead of judging and shaming xxx
Submitted by a Family Friendly HQ reader who wishes to remain anonymous.