Breastfeeding Is such a natural thing you think it would be innate and easy…. It is so heavily promoted at the antenatal classes the word ‘bottle’ and ‘formula’ are practically taboo. The way in which it is promoted is a happy clappy video of mums feeding their children who latch on with complete ease, no one is in pain and there isn’t a chapped nipple in sight. LIES! Word of advice to the NHS, if you want to promote breastfeeding at least be honest to us before hand. Tell us the latch can be sore as both you and baby find your way with it, tell us about the cracked nipples and the leaking, tell us about the cluster feeding that means zero sleep while baby ups your supply and during this time you will turn into a complete maniac who plots their husbands death as they roll over and go back to sleep because they can! Tell us that as you breastfeed it helps your stomach contract back to its former (?!) state and that this will be as sore as early contractions and make you wonder if no2 is already on the way! Tell us the signs of mastitis and thrush so that if we are unfortunate enough to experience the pain of razor blades on your nipples that makes labour seem like a walk in the park, we know what to do rather than shoving an apple in our mouths and feeding through the pain and dreading every time our baby cries with hunger because call us crazy but we still need to feed our babies.
I was lucky to come out the other side and am now successfully breastfeeding and love it. I’m used to the broken sleep that comes along with breastfeeding and knowing that my child is thriving because of my milk makes me extremely proud. However simply put there is not enough support out there for mums wanting to establish breastfeeding. I was one of the lucky ones that did get excellent support but I’ve heard far too many stories of new vulnerable mums wanting to continue and not getting the support. Baby blues are a real thing and I’d say 99% of my baby blues were and still are caused by breastfeeding. So why not preempt this and give mums more support in those hazy crazy days so that if they have to or choose to switch to bottle feeding they don’t feel guilty and feel like they have failed. At the end of the day, if you have a well fed baby and you’ve managed to wash your face and brush your teeth who cares if their milk came from bottle or boob….??