Well I know there are those out there who lecture others on breastfeeding being something that everyone should do, and can make mums feel inadequate if they for whatever reason chose not to.
But how about the ‘Bottle-feeding Police’?
The what? I hear you all shouting!
Recently I have watched several friends struggle with breastfeeding for various reasons, their reasons are nothing to do with this post, so I will not be going in to that.
As a breastfeeding peer supporter myself I have offered support, if and when they have wanted it, at no time have I said, ‘you must continue’ what I have been saying is along the lines of
let me know if there is anything I can do (either breastfeeding related or just to give a new mum a break)
do you know where to get support locally (if they are not near me)
you have my number, give me a ring if you just want to chat about anything
and when a couple of them have been considering whether to continue breastfeeding or move onto bottles, I have simple told them that they
need to do what they feel is best for them and their new family,
making sure that they know that I am still here to offer support whether they keep breastfeeding or not.
So this is where the ‘Bottle-feeding Police’ come in.
Unfortunately due to the power of social media I have been able to watch a lot of friends over the last month or so be bombarded by people telling them to
‘just put him/her onto a bottle’
‘it didn’t do my baby any harm’
etc, etc, etc
At no point with any of these people have I seen those much talked about ‘breastfeeding mafia’ in action, there have been plenty of people offering support, explaining how hard breastfeeding can be and responding to any queries the mother may have.
What I have seen is too many ‘Bottle-feeding Police’ usually not listening to what the mother has to say and just saying change to bottle.
They are taking no notice of what the mums reasons for wanting to breastfeed are, or what the issues might be.
They are simply saying over and over again move to bottles it will be easier and listing a load of reasons to do it, which may or may not work for each child, like whether they sleep through or not, and how long they go between feeds,
They need to remember each child is different so just because it worked for them and their child, it does not mean it will work for everyone.
I am so sad to say that some of the friends I have been watching have ended up feeling pressurised, not by the much talked about ‘breastfeeding mafia’, but by the ‘Bottle-feeding police’
I wish that we as mothers could all just offer support to each other, without always assuming that whatever decisions we have made for our child will be the best or right decision for another mother and her child.