However, as it was National Breastfeeding Week, I noticed it stirred up some emotions in some of the people I know who didn’t breastfeed their baby, for whatever reasons. The media likes to tell us about the mummy wars, that breastfeeders and formula feeders judge each other and are enemies, but I really don’t think that’s the case. Most people that know me know that I am passionate about breastfeeding, well, you’ve gotta be to feed up to 23 months and let your toddler self wean, right? But it got me thinking, what do I, as a breastfeeder, want to say to other mums who formula fed? What do other breastfeeders want to say to formula feeding mums?
This is a post I’ve been wondering about writing for a while, especially after that whole #bressure scenario – I feel like anger/judgement is aimed at the wrong people sometimes. And it’s only when these things crop up in the media/social media that anyone gives a shit. I suppose I just want to remind people. Feeding is so personal. And it annoys the crap out of me when people blame breastfeeding pressure on how bad they felt after, when it should be directed at the crap support available
Well, here’s what I want to say…
“I don’t judge you.
I don’t want you to feel guilty.
I know you made a decision that was right for you and your family at that moment in time. You don’t have to justify that.”
The thing is, breastfeeders don’t hate formula feeders – they hate that people who wanted to breastfeed didn’t get the right support because it either wasn’t available or because they didn’t have all of the information they needed to make an informed decision. They hate that formula companies pray on our insecurities as parents who just want to do what’s right for our babies. They hate the media’s infatuation with the ‘mummy wars’, they hate that the nursing in public debate makes people think that they can’t breastfeed out of their home and thus turn to formula. They hate all of the webpages that make breastfeeding seem like a military operation and the advice that says you can’t drink alcohol and must avoid certain foods, they hate doctors who prescribe a drug and just tell the mother they have to stop breastfeeding without a) checking if it’s suitable for breastfeeding mothers or b) checking for an alternative.
We don’t want to convert people to breastfeeding, we just want support for those that want to do it.
Here’s what some other people have to say:
“There is no infant feeding mummy war. Each parent decides their best feeding option for their child for a variety of reasons; and sometimes it’s understandably a decision that is not preferred but has to be made in the best interests of our child. Talking positively about one option does not imply the opposite for the other option. I love breastfeeding and I’ve had to fight to breastfeed. It’s one of my motherhood victories and it’s one of the many features of my parenting conversations. I’ve also used formula on our feeding journey. I don’t want a parent assuming that I’m putting them down because I’m singing the praises of breastfeeding”
Mcsplaity is a BabyCentre community member of the Lactivist group, here’s what she has to say.
“Generally, I couldn’t care less how someone else feeds their baby provided they’re happy with their choice. If they need help to achieve their choice whether that be breastfeeding/pumping etc I will try to help them.”
Other things mentioned by the Lactivist BabyCentre Community were that the week is there to promote support to those that want it and provide information to people who might not otherwise get it. This is all aimed at those who want to breastfeed. One member even completed a childcare GCSE but had never been taught that breasts make milk – which is pretty insane and just shows that some parts of our community do need to be made aware to make an informed choice.
Below are some links to the main organisations that help support those wishing to breastfeed, for however long they may wish.
There are a few more links on the BabyCentre website