So recently I was watching TV when a Cow and Gate advert came up for their new baby formula and underneath it had a disclaimer notice saying “Breastfeeding is best” this got me thinking about the stigma that’s attached to breastfeeding and well to not.
Personally for me breastfeeding was never on the agenda, I suffered horrendously with pre-natal depression so for me it wasn’t something I ever felt I wanted to do, I had heard stories about sore nipples, being bitten and feeling like a personal milk machine and when I was already struggling wondering if I was even cut out to be a mum i had all this pressure on top of me as well. I had so many people telling me that if I did breast feed I’d have a closer bond to my child and breast feeding was natural. Its the way forward. However nothing was said that changed my mind, I spent hours trawling through google looking at reviews for all different kinds of bottles, sterilizers and everything else that comes with it and for me and Harper bottle feeding was the best decision.
I remember when Harper was born and that’s when we first felt the you don’t want to breast feed stigma. When she was born her heart valves hadn’t closed properly and she had a heart murmur It closed up when she was two days old thankfully. However I noticed all the breast feeding mummies on the ward we’re getting all the help from midwives and we we’re kind of just left to wing it. We had a poorly baby and like everyone else didn’t know what we were doing but because she was on a bottle and not the boob we were left too it, I remember waking up on the second evening of our stay to Harper being pushed into Adams arms with the attitude she’s hungry sort it. The lady opposite us her baby woke up about 20 minutes later with the midwife being very polite and helping this lady feed her baby. Why didn’t we get that? We had only packed enough milk for one night because I had a home birth planned and the milk was in case we did end up in hospital and even going up to the midwives to ask for more milk to feed my baby I felt incredibly alienated. I chose to bottle feed my baby because i felt that was best for us.
I’ve met mummies who breast feed and have taken to it like a duck to water and I think that’s incredible, I’ve met mummies who so desperately want to breast feed but for whatever reason whether its babe not latching or personal problems haven’t been able to so have had to go onto formula to make sure their baby is fed. This is why I think formula is amazing because it gives mummies that option, there’s so many brands of formula and frankly if it wasn’t any good it wouldn’t of ever been produced.
So I’ve covered my personal stigma behind bottle feeding now onto breast feeding which sadly there is also a stigma against. WHY CANT WE JUST FEED OUR BABIES HOW WE WANT TO?! However the stigma doesn’t come predominately from a medical background, You’re practically a saint to midwives etc if you breast feed but society seems to have a problem, Every week i see an article either on Facebook or in a paper about someone being made to feel bloody awful because they’re feeding their baby in public. I mean god forbid you go outside with a hungry breast feeding baby MADNESS. I’ve walked past mummies feeding their babies and looking so uncomfortable because its like they are waiting for someone to be like why are you doing that in public?! maybe because unlike you a baby cant wait till you get home to have food and mums do not have to spend their lives indoors just so they can feed their baby without some under informed nitwit telling them what they are doing is wrong!
Unfortunately no one will ever be able to do what they want without someone giving an opinion because that’s how they did it. If you want to breast feed and it works good for you, if you want to bottle feed and it works, good for you. If you want to try both, go for it find out what works for you. DO NOT LET anyone tell you what they think is right for your baby. Even at first you don’t know because lets be honest none of us bloody know it’ll come in time and you’ll work it out we all do.