Monday, 17 March 2014
Feeding Our Babies ... And Toddlers
Breastfeeding is, for a very strange reason, an extremely controversial topic. In the past month I can't tell you how many articles I've come across on the topic. As a breastfeeding mother [yes, still at 2 and a half!] I always read them with interest.
This morning I read an article on breastfeeding which gave me a little food for thought. It was regarding caring whether other people's babies were breastfed or not. Do you know what? I do care whether other mothers breastfeed their babies. Do you know why? Because I believe that all mothers should be given the same information on birthing and breastfeeding so, in the future, no mother can say 'I wish I had known differently'. Of course you are still a good mother if you don't breastfeed. But I hope that mothers to be read wonderful books [I love Mayim Bialik's Beyond The Sling and anything by Dr Sears] and get advice and make your own decision.
Another article I read was by Dr Cynthia Colen, declaring that the benefits of breastfeeding were hugely overrated. Bottle feeding and breast feeding are totally different. They can't even be compared, just as c-sections cannot be compared to vaginal births. We all want what is best for our babies.
I suppose what saddens me is the women who are told they can't breastfeed or shouldn't breastfeed or not given the support they desire. As the World Health Organisation agrees, breast milk is best for a baby. Women need to be given support to breastfeed. If they have questions, the right people need to be there to answer them. Education education education.
No, I have never bottle fed my son. I struggled with breastfeeding in the beginning [oh the pain! I remember wincing everytime he latched on!] but I researched, I got advice and I persevered. He never took a bottle and, because I didn't return to work and spent little time away from him, I didn't feel the need to keep pushing it. I love breastfeeding my son but I know the time will come sooner rather than later that he will wean himself off the breast. We need to support breastfeeding, protect it and promote it's wonder. With any future babies, I hope with all my heart that I can breastfeed them. But if I can't, I know that I did everything I could do and it doesn't lessen me as a mother.