Due to expecting again, breastfeeding is once again something being pushed on me.
Every time I break it to someone that I will not be breastfeeding my second child, I get shocked faces and a whole lotta judgement. I see mums everywhere constantly advising other mums that “it’s your baby, your decision” but as soon as breastfeeding is in the mix, that changes pretty damn fast.
“Breast is best”. Yes, sure, breastfeeding has so many benefits for both mum and baby. But surely it should be “Fed is best” right?
Breastfeeding doesn’t make you a better or worse mum. Formula feeding doesn’t make you a better or worse mum. There are so many different reasons for someone to choose one or the other, some people don’t really have a choice, nature chooses for them.
As soon as I went to my first midwife appointment at 6 weeks, I was bombarded with breastfeeding leaflets, I was even given a leaflet to go to a breastfeeding group… when they know what I went through with trying to breastfeed my first whilst extremely ill and awaiting surgery, while I had already told them I will not be breastfeeding. Constantly being forced to breastfeed by nurses in hospital as soon as I got out of being stitched up with my first. Being forced to try breastfeed in the recovery room when I was super weak and under all sorts of pain relief. To the moment my baby was crying so much on the ward because he was so hungry and breastfeeding wasn’t for us. The nurses wouldn’t give me the formula I had in my hospital bag and I couldn’t get up to get it myself, I tried but couldn’t move from the waist down still. They had someone with a knitted boob and a fake baby… A KNITTED BOOB AND A FAKE BABY… come in to show me how to breastfeed. I did everything she told me and nothing. There was only one midwife that realised what was going on and got me my formula. 24 hours later. My baby was hungry for 24 hours. Constantly shamed on the ward until the moment I left for being the only one not being able to breastfeed. As soon as my baby had a bottle, he was so happy and no longer crying to the point of vomiting.
Breastfeeding isn’t easy. And it sure as hell isn’t for everyone. Some woman have much stronger reasons than me to not want to breastfeed. And others just simply can’t, just like I couldn’t.
So I think it’s time we stop judging those that can’t or choose not to breastfeed. It’s time us mums stop judging each other for the smallest things. You’re not any more perfect than Emma at baby group who formula fed her daughter from birth and weaned her at 5 months, just because you breastfed your child and weaned them at 6 months. Let’s stop the judgment. Let’s be kind to one another.
I will be bottle feeding my baby, whether I pump or use formula. It’s my child, my choice, my reasons. No leaflet or “breast is best” comment will change my mind.