Sunday 5 March 2017

Health | Fed is Best


We all know that breast is best when it comes to feeding our babies, after all it's something that's hammered into us when we're preggers. You will see signs in every hallway at all your antenatal appointments, you'll hear it from your midwife and health visitor who will give you loads of leaflets and explain the benefits. When you go into labour, you will be asked how you'll be feeding and once again when your baby is born. Yes, breast is best and whilst I wholeheartedly agree that everybody should try breastfeeding, sometimes it is not always the case for new mums to do this. I truly believe that fed is best.

When I fell pregnant with George, my mum (the midwife) told me strictly that I'd be breastfeeding my baby and while I protested I eventually came round to the idea after hearing of all the benefits, much to my mum's delight. I told the midwife who was looking after me during my antenatal care and the health visitor that I'd be breastfeeding and even bought a breast pump to express my milk. I mean, don't get me wrong, we still bought bottles and a steriliser "just in case" but always be prepared, right?

Finally, George came into the world and again, I was asked how I'd be feeding him. With my answer, George was placed onto my chest so we could establish feeding but unfortunately he had a slight tongue tie and was unable to latch on properly. After a few hours my mum asked if I'd like to give him a bottle as he hadn't eaten so I agreed without ever second guessing myself.

During my time in hospital I did try a few more times to breastfeed but George wasn't having any of it. I was kept in for three days and when my mum asked why, they said it was for breastfeeding support despite me telling them I was no longer breastfeeding. I never once felt pressured by the midwives though which could have something to do with them all knowing my mum but who knows?

When I went into labour with Henry, the midwife who delivered him, asked how I'd been feeding so I told her upfront "I'm going to give breastfeeding a go but at 10lb 10oz there's no way I'll keep up with that so it's likely to be bottle." She nodded and left me to it. I tried to feed Henry and again he had trouble latching on. After 5 minutes, I asked my mum to get me a bottle for him and nobody questioned me. Some people might think I gave up to easy as breastfeeding is hard but I know my body best and knew this wasn't something I could do.

Recently on a public Facebook thread regarding feeding, I received the below comment and I instantly thought "not today, Satan":

This is the first time I've ever been judged for choosing to give my babies formula and god did it annoy me! How dare this person who I have never met question how I feed my children. She doesn't know me or my story so who is she to judge?

There is so much pressure on mums to breastfeed these days and I know so many who feel guilty that they're unable to so let me tell you this, from one mum to another, FED is best. If I didn't give my babies formula, there is a good chance they wouldn't be here! My first reaction to her comment was "should I starve my babies then?" I don't react to trolls very well it seems.

If you are unable to breastfeed, hell if you don't want to breastfeed then so what? Do not let anybody make you feel bad for how you feed your baby! At the end of the day, a fed baby is a happy baby and that is the most important thing regardless of whether that milk came from you or a cow!

Rachael xo

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