When I fell pregnant, I knew almost immediately that I was going to try and breastfeed. I’d done my research and I knew that breastfeeding was the best option for me and my family. I was aware that it doesn’t always work out but I was confident in my body’s ability to feed my daughter. I was very lucky that almost 15 months later, I’m still breastfeeding.
Recently, a friend of mine who is around 37 weeks pregnant came round for a catch up. We had spoken early in her pregnancy about the options for feeding and she had said she wasn’t going to breastfeed because she doesn’t like her breasts being touched and that she wanted her partner to help with feeds. Now of course, every mother should make their own decisions about how they feed their child. Formula feeding was the option for them and that’s great.
When the subject arose again during our catch up, she mentioned that she was going to try breastfeeding. I was surprised and asked her why she’d changed her mind. She then said that she wasn’t set on it and that she was just going to try – and at least breastfeed for the first few weeks, just for the colostrum (liquid gold!). As we spoke about it more, I started to sense a bit of doubt.
I could tell she wasn’t completely set on breastfeeding. I can tell she thinks breastfeeding is the best option in terms of the scientific evidence and that it’s something she should try, but when she told me she had a perfect prep machine and that they have formula in stock, ready, I just knew that her heart wasn’t in it.
When she told me she had a perfect prep machine and that they have formula in stock, ready, I just knew that her heart wasn’t in it.
The heartbreaking truth behind her insecurity and lack of confidence around breastfeeding is down to society and some family members opinions.
Later in the week…
We spoke again and she told me that she was probably going to bottle feed now. She told me she wouldn’t ever have the confidence to feed in public. She told me she had heard of loads of public shaming of breastfeeding and that she doesn’t want the hassle of being embarrassed while out and feeding. She told me that as they have quite a busy lifestyle (which she is hoping won’t change after baby), she wants to be able to feed anywhere and so bottle feeding is easier. She also told me that her mother in law to be had said that she should “just bottle feed because it’s easier” and she also said she would never feel comfortable breastfeeding in front of her partners family.
Women shouldn’t need to justify their feeding choices…
The more we spoke, the more the “excuses” came. I felt like she was trying to list all these reasons to justify her decision to bottle feed. As a breastfeeding mother, I really hope it’s not a case of her feeling like she needs to justify her decisions to me because I have been so successful with breastfeeding.
Now this is awful on many levels.
Number one, I am gutted for her that she feels she can’t breastfeed in public and that the comments would be too much for her to handle. I did inform her that during my 14+ months of breastfeeding I’ve had only smiles from other people when I’ve been seen breastfeeding in public. I’ve not once had a nasty comment.
Number two, I am devastated for her that she feels so much pressure that she has to make excuses like this around the choices she is making for her child and her life.
Yes, I am pro breastfeeding, but I am not anti formula. I am a true believer in “each to their own”.
Yes, I am pro breastfeeding, but I am not anti formula. I am a true believer in “each to their own”. I have no problem with how anyone chooses to live their lives in any area – and whether someone chooses to breastfeed or bottle feeding is simply none of my business. I am happy to offer advice to a new mother who’s about to start breastfeeding but there is no judgement either way.
I just found it so sad. It’s just so sad that something as natural as breastfeeding is becoming the “harder option” and that “bottle feeding is easier”. I find it really sad that a new mother feels they can’t feed in public without the fear of someone saying something. I find it really sad that my friend isn’t aware that making it through the first few weeks of breastfeeding is the hardest, and if she can do that then she will more than likely want to carry on.
Why is there hardly any support for the number one, natural feeding choice?
I’m just so upset that her midwives and antenatal classes aren’t helping her with advice and support for breastfeeding. She told me that she was told to express her colostrum at 36 weeks pregnant and that she was going to at least try and get a supply stocked up so that if she couldn’t breastfeed, she would at least be able to offer her child the liquid gold.
Now, this may be a little controversial but I feel like we are all so busy trying not to offend bottle feeding mums or make them feel inferior, that breastfeeding is becoming something that we are afraid to be proud of. We’re afraid to shout from the rooftops about how amazing our boobies are for doing their job. It’s really quite sad.
Why do people think bottle feeding is easier?
I find it so sad that breastfeeding is becoming the second choice. I also find it sad that somewhere along the way, society deemed bottle feeding to be the “easier option”. I can’t imagine the stress of having to make up a bottle (prep machine or not) in the middle of the night when my baby won’t settle…. it’s far easier to whip out a boob and be done…. I really don’t think that bottle feeding is “easier”. My hats go off to women who do bottle feeding – I really couldn’t be bothered with all that sterilising, cleaning and bottle washing – my boobs are always sterile, and readily available while out and about. Bottle feeding on the go isn’t easy. Sure there are products which help, such as prep machines etc, but they’re never going to be as simple and popping a boob out.
Society has truly devalued breastfeeding and it makes me sad
I guess there’s no real point to this post except to express my sadness as to what our society has done to breastfeeding. A completely natural thing that should be the number one choice is becoming something that people are ashamed to do and are afraid to do.
Let me be clear, I’m not bashing formula feeding mums and I’m not suggesting that it always works, I’m just stating that scientifically it is the best sustenance for our children and there is no denying that it should be the number one choice.
I feel like due to the completely unnecessary shaming that breastfeeding women have experienced, new mothers are now afraid to feed their children the way they were intended to be fed. How utterly ridiculous is that?
Why are we the only species who drinks other animals milk? Why do we think it’s more acceptable to feed our children milk from a cow, than from our own teats? What on earth happened to society to make breastfeeding become such a taboo and controversial topic?
What on earth made feeding our babies such a ridiculously stressful choice? Shouldn’t it just be “each to their own”?