I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Breastfeeding: This is what I think

Knowledge and support for women in breastfeeding starts from birth, it should be prevalent and permeate into our culture again until it is just normal, it is what babies need and should be having.  There are always going to be those who just don’t want to breastfeed. This I believe is through generations of women living with lack of a 'tribe', lack of support, poor self body image, low self esteem  and uninformed health professionals rather than the woman coming from a truly biologically safe and nurtured space themselves, as Emma Kwasnica says

“The thing is, *most* women DO understand how important breastfeeding is! They WANT to breastfeed! Every fibre of their being, their gut, their entire intuition is telling them to breastfeed the baby!! There are hoards of women out there who are NOT making a fully informed choice to formula feed. They fell into formula feeding. They don't WANT to be formula feeding. How many women are out there, fully confident, fully happy to be bottle-feeding, smiling away, feeling honestly GOOD about pouring PIF into their infant's body? Very, very few.

And WHY is this? Because WOMEN INHERENTLY WANT TO BREASTFEED!!! THEY ARE SIMPLY NOT SUPPORTED TO DO SO IN THIS EFF'D-UP SOCIETY OF OURS. The very reason they feel so much guilt is because they KNOW it is the physiological way, the normal way, the biologically-expected way to feed the baby. WOMEN KNOW THIS. They are feeling the dreaded guilt BECAUSE of this fact. Not because society is "pressuring them" to be the 'perfect mom', but because society is FAILING THEM. Failing to support them to follow their gut instincts. 

Show me the hoards of women who choose formula feeding from the outset, making a fully informed choice to feed it. We know this is not true because initiation rate for breastfeeding in North America are high! They are most often up over 80% nowadays, sometime 90! Then, it drops drastically. WHY IS THIS?  Simply put, because women and babies are not being given the support or the information required to successfully breastfeed. THAT is the crux of the matter.” 

I don’t think parents are being given the full information regarding the dangers of formula and the positives of breastfeeding BUT ALSO the difficulties that can occur, which can be normal.  There are many obstacles that some woman face when breastfeeding, coupled with the intensity of caring for a new life and without the proper information and support it becomes much easier to give a bottle.  The advertising of formula is pervasive and insidious and to a sleep deprived hormonally charged mother seems like the only solution.  This is when most mothers give up, when the difficulties faced are faced alone and faced with lack of support and information.  I do believe that woman should be informed of the negatives of formula too, so they can make a FULLY informed choice.

i think the 'breast is best' worked as a reintroduction of breastfeeding to our society but now it is old and has negative connotations.  It is time for a change and it should be more about normalising breastfeeding and how it helps with connection and comfort not just nutrition.  I think we should be leaning towards breastfeeding is normal and optimal and formula is way down the list of available sources of sustenance and for those that really truly cannot breastfeed. 

That's what I think.

Meltdowns - reduced with breastfeeding
Losing the Plot - reduced with breastfeeding
Breastfeeding - normal


  1. I like this point of view, and I really like that quote...where did you get it from?

    Our culture is SO screwed up when it comes to breastfeeding. I wish it were illegal to advertise formula. I remember watching a formula commercial one time before I was a mom, and thinking about which formula I would get. And then I was like, what??? Why am I even thinking that? I want to breastfeed! And then I almost registered for baby bottles when I was pregnant, and again I had to do a double take. THAT is how pervasive formula/bottle feeding is in our culture.

  2. The support needs to start way earlier than at birth. With honest information.

    There are women who make the decision to formula feed before birth, through peer group pressure etc (some parts of Glasgow eg have breastfeeding rates as low as 8% at 6-8 week appointment, I don't think that's all women who started out breastfeeding). Also I know many mums who wish to continue to go out and drink and think they can't also breastfeed; or they have to return to work very early for financial reasons and that's what drives the choice to formula feed.

    Then the support at birth should be much much better. I so struggled and I'm informed and took a lot of initiative to get support. I don't think I got the right support in spite of this. I know lots of people who stopped because of lack of support after birth and it starts as early as hospital (I was left to express with the support of a leaflet when baby didn't want to latch).

    And as you know we have to be more honest about the risks of formula.