Breastfeeding is such an emotive topic and I have witnessed heated discussions in a range of settings. It never ceases to shock me how mums can be so unsupportive and critical of each other.
There seem to be two camps – the breastfeeding group and the bottle-feeding group. But a mum may not be an exclusive member of either. Mums may start in the breastfeeding group and then move over to the bottle-feeding group after a few days, weeks or months. Or some may decide that mixed feeding is for them and not feel as though they can be a member of either group.
I have been a member of both groups for different lengths of time:
Michael – breastfed for 6 weeks and then exclusively bottle-fed
Natasha – breastfed for 12 hours and then exclusively bottle-fed
Kaiya – breastfed for 4 months and then exclusively bottle-fed
Hannah – mixed breastfeeding and bottlefeeding for 9 months and then bottle-fed
Nathaniel – mixed breastfeeding and bottlefeeding for 14 months
Alex – mixed breastfeeding and bottlefeeding for 16 months and still going
On another post, I will tell my feeding stories but you can see that I have made different choices for different children at different points in my life. And I have made the decisions for different reasons. As I sit here, I am thinking of those different reasons and whether they were good ones or bad ones. Are some of the reasons ones that others would consider not a good enough? Am I going to be judged when I tell my story?
What is best? In my view the one that makes both mum and baby happy. We all know the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding but if mum is not happy and baby not thriving, then bottle-feeding is surely best. What is best for one mum and baby is not necessarily best for another.
Yet, instead of supporting each other, mums are far too quick to judge and criticise. Whether it is to criticise for not breastfeeding or for breastfeeding for more than a year or two.
Surely there is enough guilt with being a mum without our friends, family and peers making us doubt our decisions.
Being a mum is hard enough without the feeding groups dividing us up.