The Bottle Vs Breast debate is not one I had any had any desire to partake publicly in – mainly because I feel so strongly about it – as I didn’t want a post to degenerate into a rant. Quick clarification – I feel strongly about the debate and how publicly it is disputed, NOT about my stance in the debate. I recently came across an article though, and felt I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer.
Never once has it even been inferred that I shouldn’t breast feed in order to ‘get my life back’, in fact, quite the opposite, even bringing up the idea of bottle feeding from birth seemed to be met with disapproval from all angles and all persons. As I read the article, I just seemed to get more angry….
I am not breastfeeding.
There are multiple reasons for this, and I will not turn this post into a justification of those, so I won’t get into them. All I will say, is that my choice is exactly that, MY choice, not yours, not my midwives, and certainly not the expert writing for the Telegraph…
I really don’t think I like this Amy Brown. How it is that anyone can put a countries reduced breast feeding rate primarily down to girls wanting a night out on the lash completely escapes me. I’d like to think her words have been twisted and that’s not when an ‘esteemed public health expert’ was trying to insinuate. Never once during pregnancy have I felt like I’ll be missing out on a night out when my child is born.. I’m sorry, but come on, if your main concern after giving birth is getting back out on the town – then you should not be in the position of giving birth in the first instance. I’m only 21: I’ll be the first to admit I had my fair share of nights out in the run up to my pregnancy, I’m young and I still like going out. I can tell you right now though, when this baby is born the last thing on my mind will be getting back out on a night out, I have absolutely no desire for that whatsoever. Even if I did, I’d like to think I cared enough about my unborn child not to let it prevent me from breastfeeding if that was what was best for him. I’m pretty sure not all UK mothers-to-be are as selfish as Professor Brown would like to make out.
81% of British women start out breastfeeding though, what about that statistic conveniently left out of the article? Breastfeeding is hard. Breastfeeding up to 12 months is extremely hard. Give these ladies some credit. Maybe lack of breastfeeding at 12 months has less to do with this desire to look good, and fit into our old jeans or go out on nights out, and more to do with the fact that it is difficult. For some, latching just doesn’t happen, it’s not a one size fits all kind of activity, and mothers shouldn’t be made to feel bad because they cannot breastfeed up until 12 months. For others, its just exhausting, it can be painful, or maybe the situation just does not allow for it. I get virtually no help from the UK government during my maternity leave, but I have not been in my job long enough to qualify for statutory maternity pay: I will have to go back to work, long before 12 months has passed. It’s just not tangible for me to feed that way and get back to shift work – I’m not any less of a mother for that though, and I can’t handle folks like Professor Amy Brown putting down this choice to my desire to fit in with society, as opposed to actual situational needs.
Every country she seems to have advocated as having these fabulous breastfeeding rates are countries that are also malnourished and war torn – comparing developing African countries to the United Kingdom is absolutely ridiculous. It’s not societal influence, its societal requirement in those other countries – I doubt very much formula is flying off the shelfs in these countries – not because of the benefits of the boob, but because it’s probably not on the shelf in the first place. These women cannot afford to feed their child that away, it’s simply not an option.
Argh. I’ve ranted. Well and truly ranted.
Just what I didn’t want to do! Ah well – in an effort to hopefully turn this post into more of a discussion post and less of an ‘I really don’t like Amy Brown and what she has to say post’ – I’ve turned to the mummies of the blogging world armed with my article – here’s what they had to say on it:
‘I actually felt social pressure TO breastfeed. I was one of the 2% who didn’t make enough milk. I had all the support and paid for lactation consultants and nothing at all increased my supply enough to exclusively feed my baby. I combination fed (both my sons) and was still breastfeeding them to the ages of 12 months and 15 months, alongside giving formula. However, I felt such stigma around bottle feeding that I would avoid giving a bottle in public as much as I could and would never let anyone photograph them being bottle fed! I never had any negative responses to breastfeeding in public and felt comfortable doing it anywhere, most often without a shawl or cover because it got in the way! ‘
Amy | @2boys1mum
What’s your views on the subject, have I taken the article completely the wrong way? Let me know in the comments, until next time,