Hardly a week passes on social media where I don’t see the age-old debate (it feels) where mums argue about breast vs. bottle feeding. It’s times like that when I hate social media - it truly brings out the worst in people. What keyboard warriors/trolls choose to say to others online is rarely something that they would actually say to someone face to face especially to new parents who are at their most vulnerable in the early days of figuring out parenthood and are in survival mode stage in those very early weeks/months.
The title to this blog will already have annoyed those fanatical breastfeeding mums that will always argue the benefits of breastfeeding to anyone that will read it. However, I want to say that personally as a breastfeeding mum myself I honestly believe the tag line of “Fed is Best”. Bottle or Breast....It really shouldn’t matter to anyone else how a mother or parent (sorry Dads) chooses to feed their child as long as that child is fed. I know all of the benefits of breastfeeding so I don’t need y’all to enlighten me either!
I didn’t expect to be able to breastfeed if I’m honest as my mum wasn’t able to breastfeed me or any of my sisters. I went into it thinking I’ll give it a go but I had the bottles, formula and prep machine all ready to go at home if I wasn’t able to. I was however very fortunate because my eldest made breastfeeding extremely easy for me - she took to it from the moment she was born. There was no struggle with the latch and she was one of those very rare breastfeeding babies that actually put on weight instead of losing it. I ended up breastfeeding her for 15 months and I enjoyed every moment of it despite missing the wine! Now my second born is only 4 weeks old as I type this and it has been much more of a challenge this time around already. He had tongue tie when he was born and every feed was hard work and painful for myself. He was on and off all the time and frustrated, I was exhausted and in pain.
Thankfully my previous experience with my daughter helped me to identify what was wrong and we were very lucky to have supportive midwives who helped us to get referred and have a procedure done to correct his tongue tie. Now his feeds are much better, no longer painful and he is much more contented but they’re still not easy as they were with my first. I can understand why a mum might give up under certain circumstances because breastfeeding is demanding. People will say that breastfed babies are more protected from infections and diseases and whilst there must be science behind that I was a formula-fed baby who was a very healthy child who grew into a healthy adult. There is not a single person who would be able to point out the adults that were breastfed and those that were bottle-fed.
What I would like the breastfeeding champions to consider before typing their sometimes harsh opinions is all the mums out there that would have liked to have breast fed that can’t for whatever reason. Those mums that come across their comments in the middle of the night that are up for the umpteenth time, that are sleep deprived and barely hanging in there that need encouragement not judgement. The mum whose nipples are inverted and baby cannot feed from them no matter how hard they try. The mum who has a lazy feeder (yes they exist). The mum whose child has tongue tie that isn’t discovered till it’s too late and is struggling to feed them. The parent who has adopted and can’t possibly breastfeed. The mum who isn’t producing enough milk to keep up with their child’s needs. The mum who had a traumatic birth that they’re recovering from and didn’t manage to successfully get breastfeeding going before their milk dried up. The mum who just didn’t want to breastfeed for whatever reason. The last thing any of these mums/parents need or want to read are comments from the breastfeeding champions as to how they are supposedly not doing the best for their child. As long as a baby is fed, clothed, loved and has a roof over their head then they are very fortunate indeed.
The point I want to make is that everyone’s situation is different, every child is different and every parent is entitled to make a choice on how to feed their baby. Most parents do what they believe is best for their child and most parents want the best for their child. It isn’t for us to criticise others and instead of criticising one another we should be trying to support one another through this journey of being a parent. Being a mother or father is in my opinion the most wonderful thing in the world but it’s also incredibly hard at times and we should be supporting one another, building each other up not tearing others down. Remember to be kind and remember fellow mummas we can do this!
The mumma lion xxx