Now I know this is a little off topic for my blog, but there’s been a lot on this topic in the news lately and I wanted to throw down some facts and also voice some personal experiences to help those mothers who feel ‘ bad’ because they don’t or can’t breastfeed.
Let me just clear up here I’m completely for breastfeeding, I don’t have a problem with it and I do believe the benefits of breastfeeding are great I do however think it is wrong that people who cannot breastfeed or choose not to are thought upon as wrong or silly or made out to feel like they are a bad parent (from personal experience this last one is the worst).
So where to start, well let’s start with benefits.
The Infant Feeding Profiles 2010 to 2011 report shows the correlation at Primary Care Trust level between higher rates of breastfeeding prevalence and lower rates of inpatient admissions among infants under one year old for the following ten conditions:
The highlighted Conditions are relatable for us. Our daughter struggled with many bouts of gastroenteritis as a tot, she had an ear infection so bad that she made her ear bleed, and she is currently struggling with asthmatic symptoms. However she takes it all in her stride is resilient and is a happy child. Kids don’t baby with illnesses like adults do, they’re much better at them!
Benefits to mothers. The longer a mother breastfeed the greater their protection against breast and ovarian cancer, and also hip fractures in later life. Recent evidence has demonstrated correlation between prolonged breastfeeding and postmenopausal risk factors such as cardiovascular disease. The world cancer research fund indicates breastfeeding as one of ten recommendations to reduce risk of cancer.
Great, it is all good stuff it’s good for mum, it’s good for baby. So if you can and you waby to that’s fantastic. There are also financial benefits (not nearly as important as the health benefits) but they’re still there nonetheless.
So I hear you ask ‘why would you not breastfeed’ well there are loads of reasons and some of them do have health implications on baby and what they’re taking in from your body.
Medication for example. Mums on medication are usually given so that it won’t affect breastfeeding, however this is not always an option, and I don’t know about you but I’m not sure I’d take the risk off passing it on.
Bonding. No not for mummy this time, hello did we all forget it takes two people to make a baby. Poor old daddy getting a look in at feeding time can dramatically reduce the bonding time between dad and baby especially during the first few months, this can have just as much impact on dad as well as baby (more on this later). For all of you out there who have an answer for everything, this one being you can express breast milk yes you can and if you can do this, feed, wash, cook, clean, look after baby and everything else as well as sleep in between to be compus mentos to look after baby, then my bad there is superheroes out there.
Mastitis. If you’ve never heard the word, look it up. It’s an extremely nasty infection that can occur in the breast of breastfeeding mothers.
As it goes breastfeeding affects women differently, some find it sore and uncomfortable, some find it tiring and irritable and who wants to feel like that at what should be a wonderful time of your life. I feel like this should be an open accepted choice whichever way you decide to go.
I read all this, I get the spiel from my midwife it all sounds great. I talk it over with my partner, I hit my first hurdle. He discusses that he wants to bond with baby too and he would feel isolated from feeding time if I breastfed, we decide to go ahead, for now.
My story – I went into have my c section at 30 weeks and 2 days. Daughter wasn’t growing her lungs were smaller than they should be. My blood pressure was high and the platelets that clot your blood were low in my blood count. She needed to be delivered and it needed to be now. I signed the form to say if I died it wouldn’t be the hospitals fault. I didn’t know if daughter would live. I hadn’t slept in 36 hours and I was told I would have to be awake for delivery.
Daughter arrived and she let out the biggest scream, we were so relieved. I went to see baby girl shortly after, I expected sympathy even grieving time for 8 weeks of lost pregnancy and also for my bag of sugar baby that was fighting for her life. This I got from the nurses at the nicu. The breastfeeding nurse was a whole different story.
I was bombarded with information. Told that my breast milk was her best chance of survival and that I had to express what I could as soon as possible. I was traumatized to say the least. I sobbed that day because knew no milk had come. My body wasn’t ready to produce milk it was 8 weeks to early!
Still I tried long nights and days in and out of the nicu and my room expressing milk and visiting baby girl. I did mybest but it wasn’t enough. I was made to feel like it wasn’t an option to give up. Breast was best they’d say. I would worry about expressing breast milk so much that i couldn’t sleep. I wouldn’t go out because I’d be constantly on the machine trying my best.
When the time came to take daughter home we were given weeks to prepare. By this time she was being bottle fed anyway as I couldn’t produce enough milk for demand, yet the breastfeeding nurse kept saying keep on, you must carry on at home, breast is best.
Then saviour came in the shape of the HDU nurse caring for daughter. She simply said you can’t do it all you’ve done enough. She told me to bottle feed at home and enjoy the time with our daughter together as stress free as possible.
That day I sobbed with relief, and I will never forget that nurse, her name was Rose 🙂
4 years on daughters doing great.
Yes she’s been poorly (you need a Damn good kick up the bum if you think your child won’t get ill!) But she’s healthy and happy and so fun. I don’t regret not breastfeeding because I wouldn’t have been the best mother I could be if I did.
Please don’t judge those that don’t breastfeed. Please don’t pressure or shame them. It’s a choice. Remember that.