Today is the first day of World Breast-Feeding Week – where they brainwash women into thinking that the ‘breast is best’.
Do not mistake me, I am all for breast-feeding. It is the most natural and cost-effective way to feed your baby, passing on all your goodness and building up their immune system. Throughout pregnancy, in every book you read, every midwife appointment and antenatal class, midwives rave about how great it is to breast-feed. They plant the idea in your head and you aspire to be that mum; who spends her days shopping with friends, taking breaks where she would relax with tea and biscuits, feed her baby, then continue going about her day. Wake up call: this mum does not exist.
I think it is disgraceful how midwives pressurise women into breast-feeding; sweet talking us into something we are not given the full picture to. Did you forget to mention the sleepless nights, irregular feeding and no caffeine to pick you up? When it boils down to it and our baby rejects us, we fall into a state of depression. We are not given a contingency plan, but merely told to try harder. Pssh.
Upon giving birth, DS did not latch onto my breast. He was dozy and just could not work it out. Over a period of two days, I had 6 different midwives, hands on, trying to aid DS to the breast; he was not interested. His sugar levels dropped, he was getting sleepier and became weak. After the first 24 hours, I decided that my son needs to eat, regardless of where it is from.
When I returned home I expressed into a bottle alongside giving him formula. He still did not take to the breast, despite numerous midwives and health visitors giving me support. After two weeks, I could no longer express. My milk production was running low and there was no way my body could keep up with his demands. I resigned to giving him formula milk and that was that. I did not get upset over it because it turns out, this worked out well with my studies. I did not experience any less of a bond with DS, as some would say, and using the bottle meant DH could bond too.
Some women do not receive the support for an uncooperative baby and are neglected, feeling inadequate as the key provider for their baby. No one tells them it is not a big deal, that it is okay as long as their baby is feeding, it does not have to be from the breast. They are told they did not try hard enough and are looked down upon by midwives and fellow mothers. This attitude creates an elitist view of what makes a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ mother. One is not better because one breast-feeds; I am sure that just because DS takes the bottle, does not mean he will no longer have the chance to be a healthy, clever boy.
Sure breast-feeding gives a baby a great start in life, but one must also remember that a baby grows into a child, and healthy eating should be continued through the ages.