During the painful, emotional blur of the first few days and weeks I had the statistics whirling around in my head - my baby was going to get cancer if I didn't keep breastfeeding, she would have constant infections...
I just didn't want anyone thinking less of me because I wasn't breastfeeding my baby. I didn't want to be judged because I didn't suck up the pain of my nip being chewed on, when other mom's can nurse when their babes have full sets of teeth, and I couldn't even handle two. Then I kept seeing these Insta + blog posts shaming other mom's for formula feeding their babies. And all my fears were becoming a reality. Clearly they were in the right because they have 15K followers, and their words have more meaning than my feelings.. right?
But what if our issues stemmed from emotional barriers? Thoughts and feelings that consume a mother to their very core and are far more ingrained than simply 'snapping out of it' or 'try to push past it'. What if a mother's commitment to provide breastmilk prevented her from getting the help she desperately needs?
We recommend that mothers talk to their midwife or a good lactation consultant if they wish to start combination feeding. When we say a good lactation consultant, we are referring to the vast majority who are open, understanding and respectful of bottle and formula feeding. If you have any lactivist pressure from anyone, report them to their superiors (or governing body) for bullying... because that is what aggressive promotion of breastfeeding is.
We mommies are sometimes faced with tough decisions for the well being of our children. I know what it's like to make a choice that parts of society could rip you apart for.
I often read these public opinions and move on without comment due to the fact that I don’t want to draw more attention to a misinformed, biased piece of writing. I also feel that anyone who is unable to understand or comprehend the reasons, experiences or educated choices women make before using formula, to the point where they are openly writing messages of breastfeeding superiority, are people who are too arrogant to listen to the counter argument.
I still don’t understand why the week can’t be renamed ‘World Infant Feeding Week’. Some of the extreme campaigners for breastfeeding have already tried to explain why this shouldn’t happen, but I’m not having it. World Infant Feeding Week would obviously still contain the extremely valuable and informative message regarding breastfeeding, but it would also include information and education surrounding bottle and formula feeding too.
Let’s go back to this week of breastfeeding focus. I completely agree with a drive to support mothers, but this includes support for formula feeding mums too. We could debate for hours over different studies but ultimately every single mother should be celebrated and encouraged to keep their baby fed, whether that’s breastmilk or formula milk.
Breastfeeding grief is very real. It appears that there are lots of women out there who have developed post-natal depression as a direct result from their struggle/inability to breastfeed.
You'll be surprised by my response to a recent article published by Dr. Amy Brown on The Conversation: 'Breastfeeding: five ways it can be encouraged responsibly'. Whenever I see headlines like this, I approach with caution. This is because I strongly believe that the current way breastfeeding is being promoted is at the detriment of… Continue reading Why Formula Control Isn’t As Scary As It Sounds