When I was at my post natal class last week, the health visitor asked all of us how we’d react to a mum in crisis. She asked what we’d say to another mum if they were having a down day or if they were doubting themselves. As expected, in response, all of us gave supportive responses.
However, this morning we saw the arrival of #bressure (the pressure to breastfeed) thanks to the guys and gals at Channel Mum. Looking through the thread, there’s talk about those who put pressure on women about how they feed their baby. Breastfeeders (if that’s the term) are apparently acting smug about breastfeeding around bottle-feeders, bottle-feeders are apparently feeling persecuted by the breastfeeders, and don’t get me started on how the expressers apparently feel.
Here’s my breastfeeding profile; I’m currently exclusively breastfeeding. Sometimes I don’t want to, especially as 3am or when I’m just tucking into my dinner, but have you seen the price of formula these days? Breast milk is free food for us, which is what drives me every day to keep doing it. I also hope to start expressing soon. You want to know why? Because I want to share the feeds with my wife. I want some weekends off. I want my mum to look after T so maybe S and I can go out as a couple. That may sound selfish on my part as I know there are women out there who want to breastfeed but can’t and I’m sorry, but that’s not my fault so I’m sure as hell not being made to feel guilty about how my child is fed. I won’t lose any contact with my baby by not breastfeeding, if anything he’ll gain it in the form of his mumma instead.
You also want to know a little secret? I’ve also given T formula. I thought it may have a) filled him up a bit at bedtime to sleep longer and b) saved my nipples, but it only did the latter. There we go.
So far I haven’t had any negativity directed at me about how I feed my baby, so why would I put pressure on another woman about how they feed theirs? It’s not right.
As witnessed in my post natal class, we, as mums, are meant to be, and should be, supportive of each other whether we’re currently mothers of a newborn or a toddler. A new mum or mother of four! We shouldn’t be turning on each other because of how we feed our babies, but apparently we are. Stop it. The important thing is that we’re feeding our babies, right?! Who cares whether it’s straight from a boob, a bottle of boob, or a tub of formula. They’re being fed. There are women out there who are in prison because they’re not even doing that. THAT’S what we should be angry about.
If you don’t want to breastfeed, don’t. If you can’t breastfeed I’m sorry, however you’ve still made the best decision to formula feed your baby instead.
I’ve only been a mum for seven weeks and I’ve already witnessed debates on birth, nappies, feeding, weaning, sleeping, television, you name it. We also have enough to put up with these days in the media without a sweet little hashtag making us turn on each other.
So for the love of lay-ins be strong and stand by your choice whatever you choose to do with your child, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We’re already doing the best for our babies if they’re being fed – it’s the most important thing full stop – not to mention what else we choose for them.
Whether or not someone breastfed their baby isn’t my issue – it never was, it never will be. My issue is that mums are STILL defending their parenting choices! How you parent/feed/wean/sleep train your baby is your choice and no one else’s. Don’t feel the #bressure to justify yourself.