WARNING: If you had to give up breastfeeding for medical reasons, or simply could not do it due to lack of support – please know that this blog is not aimed at making you feel guilty!
“So I know breastfeeding is best. I know infant formula is unnatural and that it contains aluminium. I know formula fed babies are more prone to eczema, asthma, obesity and many other illnesses. I know breastfeeding helps my uterus contract and go to its normal size. I know breastfeeding protects me and baby from cancer. I’m off work for at least three months. Of course I want the best for my precious bundle, but I still CHOOSE not to breastfeed”
I have seen this scenario numerous times and each time it really frustrates me! Does this make me judgemental? I feel that it is selfish, and if we’re always stepping around these issues for fear of offending someone, we’ll never get the message out there. I’m all for choice, as long as it benefits baby and mother, and I can’t see how deciding to give formula before even trying to breastfeed, or for no medical reason, is beneficial to anyone (except the formula companies and supermarkets, of course). I can only think that these women are either uninformed, or they simply don’t care that much about their babies…hopefully the former.
The top 10 excuses I’ve heard:
- “I want dad to bond with baby too” There are MANY other ways dad can bond. Let dad bath baby, change nappies, cuddle and comfort or express milk for him to give in a bottle.And guess what, when he’s 6 months old he can feed him/her solids too. My hubby loved bathing with baby, getting that skin on skin was very bonding for them.
- “I want my life back” Sorry, WHAT?? Your babies aren’t your life? Why did you give birth???
- “I’m embarrassed to breastfeed in public”. Ummm, use a blanket, a muslin or a breasteeding cover if you’re worried someone may see the source of your babies nourishment. It’s really not that hard or that big a deal, and it’s completely NORMAL! See my post Breastfeeding in public is offensive – see for yourself!
- “I had formula and I’m just fine” Well so did I, athough I was breastfed for my first few weeks (thanks mom), and besides dodgy teeth I seem to be just fine. However, I have watched too many people sick and dying to just say that we’re all just fine. I’m talking young people too. Funny how the majority of people with this excuse classify obesity, eczema, asthma and similar chronic illnesses as being ‘fine’.
- “It’s too hard, all my friends had problems. ” You don’t know it’s too hard if you haven’t tried it. I know many people who have had no problems at all (me included – I do count my blessings). There is plenty of support available for problems if you want it and it is a shame that some people give up due to bad support or not knowing where to find support. Remember that most breastfeeding problems settle down in the first 6 weeks.
- “We just don’t do it here” Well change the trend…breastfeeding is normal, formula is for people who simply cannot breastfeed, express or get their hands on breastmilk. (formula being the fourth and last option according to the World Health Organisation)
- “It wrecks your boobs” Bollocks. Age, gravity and weight loss or gain “wreck” your boobs. And if your boobs matter more than what’s best for your baby, than why are you a mother?
- “Breastfeeding is for hippies” Can you believe some people still believe this? False, breastfeeding is for people who care about their babies and themselves…all of us hopefully??!!
- “It’s your choice if you want to wrap your baby in cotton wool” It’s not wrapping them in cotton wool…it’s giving them the start that they deserve as opposed to one that could potentially make them ill.
- “I want my baby to sleep through” It is completely unnatural for a newborn baby to sleep through. Put them in or next to your bed and you can breastfeed on your side with hardly waking up rather than having to get out of bed and make a bottle! Bottle fed babies generally have their stomachs stretched by guzzling too much too fast(they do not have the slowness and pauses of breastfeeding), and as their brain doesn’t have time to register when they are full, they are more prone to overeating and obesity. You do adapt to less sleep and one day they’ll be sleeping until way past 11am and you’ll be trying to wake them, or you’ll be lying awake worrying about where they are, so enjoy the cuddles and closeness while you can!!
National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0210
La Leche League Helpline 0845 120 2918
National Childbirth Trust Helpline 0300 330 0771