I hope this this post isn’t as controversial as you may think, I’m a proud breast feeder, I’m one of those annoying women who do like to slip it into conversation whenever I get a chance. Now not many bfeeding mums will admit this, but we are bloody chuffed with ourselves and, actually it gets on our goat when we feel we have to dumb this down for fear of offending our formula feeding friends. But do we judge you for your choices? This is a difficult one perhaps outlining the real reason I breastfeed will help you see there is no prejudice.
I’d love to say that I’m motivated purely by the health of my child, that I’m selfless, which in turn would mean I consider formula feeders to be selfish right? This simply isn’t true. We hear about the guilt women feel when they give baby a bottle, the pressure and expectations on mothers to breastfeed is very very real and this is a strong motivation for me. I’m a perfectionist, I worry a lot about the opinions of others and I couldn’t cope with that guilt even though I know it is ridiculous that any mother should feel this pressure. I’m motivated by fear of judgement…. Not the health needs of my baby
I’m a ‘slummy mummy’ we know this, That is to say I’m not a domestic goddess, I had much admiration for women who have to spend time cleaning, sterilising and making up bottles, I would never call formula feeding a lazy option. I couldn’t do it, bottles would build up and cause stress and anxiety, I know myself well enough to say that if I had to deal with this endless stream of washing I would struggle emotionally, I’m motivated by my own limitations….not the health needs of my baby
Having had a turbulent childhood I have struggled to form attachments in my life, I had never been in love until I met my husband and having children does full fill a need in me to connect with others. That is not to say that I’m unaware that my children need to form identities outside of their family unit or that they are merely extensions of myself, It’s very important that our children are encouraged to be their own person right? but, breastfeeding is vital for me personally as it enables me to form a bond with my child which I may struggle with ordinarily given my history. Childhood attachment is built by many different factors and formula feeding would not prevent a strong healthy attachment from forming, however, for a mother who struggles understanding even the basics of human attachment it provides a foundation to work from….. I’m motivated by my desire to connect….not the health needs of my baby
Having outlines these reasons I hope to show that it is these reasons which kept me going in those early hours of the morning, there seems to be a misconception that if you breastfeed you were lucky, In fact I often find myself saying that to people, well my children nursed well, I had a good supply, didn’t encounter difficulties etc. But it’s not true, I struggled through pain, thrush, lazy attachments, hours of nursing, tears and arguments with my partner, feelings of being touched out etc, Once I remember going for a drive and leaving my baby and husband at home for half an hour just because I could bare to draw my baby to my breast for the eighth time that morning, but it’s for the reasons above I pushed on through…
I’m not a saint, motivated my some earth mother like desire to selflessly provide for my offspring, I’m not judging you for doing what any sane person would do given the many difficulties faced by breastfeeding … but the health benefits which are so pushed at us as new mothers are merely a bonus to me. I breastfeed because it’s the best thing for me and my child and if you formula feed well, I can pretty much guarantee you do so because you know it’s the best thing for you and your child also.