Wednesday, October 17, 2012

what i wish I'd known before having to breastfeed

-that "natural" does not mean "perfect" or problem free. the world is a fallen, evil place where many things go wrong. why did i expect breastfeeding to be the easiest thing ever ? misinformation by breastfeeding advocates. no its NOT as easy as they make it out to be, and lots of mums experience supply issues/pain/latching problems/infections/exhaustion/etc.

-that breastfeeding "Advocates" often hinge on plain bullying, manipulating me with one-sided information and turning everything into a "war" of ideologies, rather than putting the mother and baby's interests first.
I'm saying this because i've been told to "get angry" if people don't like me breastfeeding in public, or "declare war" on the formula milk companies for giving samples of formula. This approach doesn't give enough credit to new mums. do you think we're stupid? our decision whether to breastfeed or not is not reliant on whether we get samples or not. everyone knows the benefits of breastfeeding but each mum has to make her own decisions on how to feed her baby, depending on a myriad of factors that we, as outsiders, don't know about. breastfeeding has its costs. Babies are saved from starvation and dehydration by the use of formula, in those mums who're physically unable to breastfeed. yes, they do actually exist. the breastfeeding mafia may like to gloss over this fact, or just ignore the possibility but they're not around to pick up the pieces of a baby gets ill because of starvation/dehydration. stop calling formula poison or evil. it is people who convince mothers to starve their babies who're evil! formula is needed for babies whose
mothers are unable to breastfeed. giving one sided information does nothing for mother or baby, just increase  the anxiety, stress, distress and depression in new mothers.

-just as we don't tell someone with cancer "you just didn't try hard enough/do well enough" why do we make formula feeding mums feel bad? in this day and age, hardly anyone chooses formula for fun. it's often because they were unable to breastfeed due to physical/logistical/psychological problems.

-perhaps i'm being one sided as well but may i say that breastfeeding "Advocates" often advocate more for their ideology, rather than the welfare of mothers and babies. let's give accurate information, and allow each mum to decide for herself. protect freedom of choice. I'm angry that I was made to feel like a failure when I couldn't breastfeed in the early days, though I had given my all to point of collapsing from exhaustion.

breastmilk is the best nutritionally for babies, but other things are as important or even more important - mother baby bonding, a mother's mental health, being able to support a family financially, and focussing on raising a child in the ways of God, etc. if breastfeeding has to come at a cost of any of these, i would question its worth. again, it's for every mum to decide for herself. the breastapo would do well to continue supporting mothers who want help with breastfeeding, providing solutions to problems and encouragement, but not staging "protests" at formula companies or calling formula feeding mums "lazy", [yes i did actually encounter someone on a breastfeeding advocates group on facebook making that statement...and was shocked that she wasn't shot down immediately!]

for the Christian mum, these thoughts come to mind:

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifeb? Matt 6

trust that God is bigger than all this - He created this baby!

conclusion: do it if you can, but don't feel bad if you can't - yes your baby might be missing out on breastmilk but in life, everyone misses out on things but we have to trust that God is in control and focus on doing our best - with what we have. make sure your baby doesn't miss out on a mum who focusses on loving and being the best mum she can be!

and to those who can, don't make others who can't, feel bad. and don't pick a fight for the fun of it - it's likely someone will have to pay for your "fights" and it's often helpless babies. 

1 comment:

Martha said...

I totally agree with you Sel. I only breastfed Nel for 2 months, and I felt guilty about it for years because they made me feel powder milk was poisonous. With jo I breastfed for 3 years. The beginnin was extremely difficult, as I alsso sstruggled with post natal blues. I did it grudgingly at first, but the pro mum's milk people wouldn't let me quit. I disliked them at first. But when the blues went away, I began to enjoy breastfeeding my baby, and was reluctant to stop. I now encourage mums to bf their babies, but if they feel an intense struggle because of depression, or finances, then I tell them, "it's ok to switch to formula without feeling guilty. Do what's best for you." A mum's sanity should come first. great post !