I am shocked and dismayed every time I hear that new mums have been ‘made to feel a failure’ because they can’t breastfeed. How can that be? How do you make someone feel a failure? It is surely by suggesting that the baby will suffer in some way, be more prone to illness, overweight, unsettled and worst of all that the baby will not bond with you. However, think about it. If someone in your working life had suggested that if you didn’t work late you would be overlooked for promotion, you would simply have said ‘well, that’s too bad, I can’t and that’s all there is to it’. Maybe you did work overtime to get a promotion but that was your choice. Breastfeeding is also a choice. If you find it painful, unpleasant, inconvenient or unsatisfying either for you or baby, STOP. There are no medals for suffering you know.
Of course it’s great if you and your baby manage to breastfeed and it’s also great when you bottle feed in other ways because you can both be more mobile, share the bonding with your partner and family and you can monitor what baby has and top up easily if necessary. When we use words like ‘couldn’t breastfeed’ this suggests that in some way we are failures but if you couldn’t make meringues you wouldn’t feel a failure would you? Is it because it’s so personal and it is our body that seems to be letting us down. In the same way lots of women say they can’t lose weight and feel ashamed of this. Bottle feeding is simply another way of feeding baby just as we debate endlessly about whether one should lose weight though diet or exercise we can debate whether to feed baby by breast or bottle. Advocates of one method will argue their case but ultimately it really is your choice. You are an adult and this is your baby. For goodness sake make your own mind up and feel good about your choice.
You are going to have to make a good deal more important choices as baby becomes a child and then a teenager and some of these will have more far reaching consequences so weigh up this one and once you’ve made your decision, move on and get on with loving and having fun with your baby.
Judy Bartkowiak is the author of NLP for New Mums and Be a happier parent with NLP. Buy them on Amazon or your usual book supplier or from Judy at www.nlpandkidsbooks.com