If you have seen the news over the last couple of days you will probably have seen lots of articles surrounding The Royal College of Midwives new statement. This statement is basically saying that as long as a new Mum has been given all the information and support when it comes to feeding their baby they should be completely supported with whatever decision they make. This has been a long time coming in my opinion because although I don’t wish to go into the pros and cons of either breast or bottle feeding in this post I do believe that this is all about choice.
In the BBC Online article the National Childbirth Trust said
Mothers who breastfeed their babies often feel pressurised and constrained about whether, where, how often, and how long they breastfeed. Similarly, mothers who use formula milk often feel judged or guilty too, particularly – but not only – if they planned to breastfeed.
Pressured, constrained, judged, guilty; none of these words should be words that are connected to those first precious days with your baby. There is so much else going on for you and your new baby that anything like this can really tip a new Mum over the edge.
This has been said so many times but to be a happy baby that baby needs a happy mum and whichever method of feeding is right for mum and baby will hopefully make them happy.
Breast feeding, bottle feeding, expressing, combi feeding. I have done every single one of those. I breastfed Little Man for 4 weeks and struggled. The guilt I felt when the Midwife (yes, the midwife was actually very supportive!) told me to stop breast feeding and give him a bottle was huge. I felt like the worst Mum ever but we were both struggling with breastfeeding and it just didn’t suit us. That was 5 years ago and I vividly remember the Midwife having to tell me ‘off the record’ to start bottle feeding because she wasn’t allowed to tell me not to breastfeed. With Little Lady I expressed my milk. She was in neonatal and the only thing I felt I could do for her was give her my milk. I was lucky, I had a good milk supply and she had lots of my milk through her feeding tube. She then went onto formula too because she wasn’t putting on enough weight with my milk. You would have thought that in her condition that breast milk was the best thing for her but it really wasn’t at that time. When you watch your tiny baby being fed through a feeding tube because she hasn’t developed the sucking motion yet, it really does bring home to you that fed is best.
Every Mum you talk to will have a story about their feeding journeys and every single one is different but most include struggles too. I really do think this statement by the Royal College of Midwives is a great move. A move which I’m slightly sad had to be made because surely, it is what should have been happening anyway but I’m glad it’s happened.
Unfortunately as with all of these sorts of topics I have seen some horrid comments on social media. There are Mums attacking Mums and that’s just not on. Being a parent is hard enough, surely we should be sticking together, holding each others hands and just getting through it.
I can honestly say I don’t have any opinions when I am talking to a new Mum about how they are feeding their baby, I don’t feel the need when someone tells me whether they are breast or bottle feeding to tell them whether I disagree or not. They are parents, they are more than capable of making a decision that works for their baby, their family and for themselves and frankly it’s none of my business.
At the end of the day whether the lady down the road bottle feeds or the woman at a baby group breastfeeds it’s really not anyone elses concern.
The focus of the new position statement is information, advice and of course support. What a great step forward which will hopefully see a lot of new Mums feeling much happier with their feeding choices whatever they is and enjoying the first few days with their babies.