There's so much pressure to breastfeed, how should I feel about it? - Mrs D



Baby Bottle



Apologies Mrs D, your question has been languishing in the Moderate Mum vaults for some time. You see I may be outspoken but I'm no masochist and I had no intention of unleashing the mummy wrath by addressing a subject as sensitive as breastfeeding. Until another guilt inducing report began floating round the web, claiming that breastfed children could read minds or something and attachment parents everywhere could hold their stance just a teensy bit tighter. And who could blame them? Aren’t we all looking for the neon sign saying ‘YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT’ and when it comes to those that breastfeed their babies the media are happy to provide. I felt staying silent might make me part of the problem; the ‘we women totally support each other until you say something that makes me slightly uncomfortable and then I’m gonna ignore you and bitch about you to my friend Karen’ experience. And so here goes… 


My short answer is to get through most aspects of motherhood as unscathed as you can and decide what’s best based on your family, your abilities and your values and that may or may not include breastfeeding. Try not to be consumed with the anxiety that you won’t be able to do it. This may happen, this does happen despite the media suggestion that all women are producing like a dairy cow from the moment of conception. Since I did breastfeed my son I can't say what it would feel like if this were the case, be prepared for disappointment but to this I would say it will probably be disappointing in the way that bungee jumping off the Golden Gate bridge will be – undeniably a cool thing to do, but not something you’re going to go to your death bed harping on about. It is likely to be the first of a great many disappointments that parenthood will bring, so consider yourself lucky to have gotten one out of the way.


Despite its image formula is cow’s milk with extra stuff added to make it as close to breast milk as possible. I know you were waiting for tales of ground gunmetal or stats about how many coke cans it would dissolve through in 24 hours but that's just not the case. Of course we all know it's not as simple as that, there are differences but I feel the main ones to consider are that the antibodies in breast milk help to develop the baby’s immune system in the first few months and breast milk means less nooks and crannies for the germs that cause stomach bugs to get into. These two reasons are why the NHS is so obsessed with breastfeeding. Of course they want less sick babies at their door but if they spent a little more time educating about how to prevent these illnesses and a little less trying to manipulate women into using their bodies in the manner they dictate, it might not be as much of an issue.


Maybe you’re being coy, with this ‘goodness me the pressure’ business and you already know you just don’t want to do it. You can’t get past your boobs as fun bags or you’ve already booked onto three month booze cruise, for whatever reason it's not in the scope of things you want to do with your life. I had a similar experience around drugs during labour. I didn't want drugs, I was going to have a 'natural' birth. It was in my plan. I was sure, I was so sure I asked about fifteen midwives whether they thought I should take drugs and they all (quite rightly) told me to do as I wished. As labour kicked in an older, less diplomatic nurse came on shift and of course I asked her and she said, ‘darling just have the epidural if you want it,’ and I was calling for the anaesthetist faster than you can say 'take a deep breath Mrs Allcott.' I just needed permission, I needed someone to give me consent. So here it is - bottle feed the baby. Go to Mothercare and buy the biggest, fanciest bottle set and steriliser you can afford. It's fine, the baby will be fine. Here's a list of brilliant people that were bottle fed:-

David Beckham, Bear Grylls, Lady Gaga, David Duchovny, Prince Albert of Monaco. And okay then, I made that up and have no idea whether any of those people were breastfed or not but the beautiful thing is, nobody does. 

For information and support about breastfeeding check out the Yummy Mummy Breastfeeding Blog Facebook Group. And for information on formula feeding try the 'Fearless Formula Feeder' blog.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

13 comments

  1. I love the list of brilliant bottle fed people you've included at the bottom. Am now trying to picture them latched on to their bottles as babies!

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  2. Ha ha! Yes. Teeny Lady Gaga, complete with platinum wig :)

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  3. Brilliant advice. I think it is totally down to the mother to decide whether or not to breastfeed. I tried to breastfeed both my boys. Big Prince had breast milk for about a week but he was losing so much weight because he wasn't getting enough. I switched to formula because I thought it was best for him and as soon as I did he started putting weight on. Little Prince I breastfed for 2 weeks, he went the same way and began losing weight. I transitioned LP and expressed my milk, so he had formula AND breast milk for the first month I think. Funnily enough BP is the one that almost never gets ill. I don't think it's something we should feel pressured into doing, it's the parents choice. For me, I feel happy with my decisions to switch from breast to bottle - it was right for my boys. I'm with you on this one - do what you choose. :)

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  4. Thanks Morgan! As your example shows all families are wonderfully unique.

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  5. I really enjoyed reading this! There is soooo much pressure to 'do the right thing' as a parent but I'm a firm believer that the right thing is different for each individual.
    I breastfed, it wasn't something I put much thought into, I knew it was what I wanted to do and thank goodness, my body obliged! I'd hate to have had problems and resorted to bottles only to be silently judged by my peers or very vocally judged by the media! SIgh, let's all hold hands, sing a calming song and support each other!

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  6. Thank you! I'm all about a calming song, how about, 'Bottle or breeeeeeast, it's not a teeeeest. Do what is beeeest, forget the reeeeest.'

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  7. This is a great post! Everybody just takes the whole breast vs bottle arguments so seriously. Yes I breast fed, now I'm over it. Nobody cares what my kids had for dinner last night so who cares what they ate three years ago?

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  8. I LOVE this sentiment. And the comment 'now I'm over it' is perfect. If any asks me why I stopped I'm going to use that.

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  9. I breastfed my first and bottle fed my second, what's best is what is best for the baby and the mum. Great post!! x

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    1. That's brilliant! You're a fab example of doing what's best for your family x

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  10. Amen! I breastfed my first, and plan to do so with my second, but it's every woman's right to decide what she wants to do - and sometimes the decision is completely out of their hands for any one of a hundred reasons.
    As long as it's best for her and the baby, what on earth does it have to do with anybody else? People have said to me before, "well, if you didn't breastfeed one million years ago that baby would have died - it's natural selection". Do you know what? Take a long walk off a short cliff, Buddy. Each to their own - every child is unique, as is every parent. You know what's right for you, so stick with it, and stick two fingers up to the people who frown or tut at you! x

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  11. Oh my goodness yes! This one million years ago argument, right gets my goat. Let's talk about talk when your child's sick and needs antibiotics x

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