I was really pleased to hear this week is National Breastfeeding Celebration Week, cause in my opinion it really is something to celebrate. If you’ve not done so already I’d love for you to read my Breastfeeding Story but the reason for this post is my thoughts on the celebration of this subject.
Recently I was watching Loose Women (look, don’t judge me, it’s a guilty pleasure) and the subject of breastfeeding was discussed. Now I must say yes, they were fairly positive about breastfeeding (although I think only one of the presenters said she had managed to breastfeed, with the rest choosing to bottle feed), they were so overly positive about bottle feeding that, as a viewer, it made me think they were almost anti breastfeeding. It made me think can’t we celebrate and support breastfeeding mums as much as we do bottle feeding mums.
I don’t want anyone to think that I am looking down on those who bottle feed. I am absolutely not. Anyone who is a regular reader will know my take on such subjects as a Mum; we are all doing our best, and you must always do what is right for you and your baby. As I’ve said many, many times, Happy Mummy equals Happy Baby! But I am a strong supporter of breastfeeding. I’ve breastfed exclusively for 6 months now and am continuing to breastfeed Josh whilst weaning him. And I am really really proud of myself for that. It is actually very rare to still be breastfeeding at this stage – only 1% of Mums are exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. If you’ve read my breastfeeding story you’ll know, this has not been some easy peasy walk in the park for Josh and I; we’ve had our challenges along the way. But I am so glad we have overcome them and I can honestly say I love breastfeeding now. I never thought I’d say that. I’ll be honest, I’m actually rather vain and before I was pregnant I always thought I would hate breastfeeding cause it would ruin my boobs! But the second I was pregnant it was all I wanted to do; I knew I wanted to breastfeed, it felt natural and I remember I thought all the way through pregnancy I thought “please let me be able to breastfeed”. And now, even with my stupidly lopsided boobs, I love it.
I do feel like there is often a lot of negativity associated with breastfeeding which is frustrating; there is the unnecessary pressure put on women to do it but there are many women who simply can’t or, quite rightly, make their own made up and decide it is not for them and are then met with judgemental attitudes from others. This sort of attitude toward breastfeeding will certainly not encourage women to try and do it or stick at it if they’ve faced difficulties. Then of course there is the feeding in public argument; I’ve had people openly say to me they don’t agree with it. Yet another challenge that will discourage women from feeding.
And that’s why I was so glad to see the word”celebration” in the title for National Breastfeeding Week. Because in my opinion it should be celebrated. It is an amazing achievement to breastfeed your baby, for any length of time. As a whole, we offer so much support to Mums who chose to bottle feed, and rightly so. But surely we should be supporting and celebrating Mums who breastfeed too rather than going along with this stigma of it being a hugely pressurised thing that you’re pushed into and if you do it , then you should do in a corner hidden away when you have to feed out in public. Why can’t there be some equality in the argument, and why can’t we also celebrate breastfeeding. I am so proud to be a breastfeeding Mum, and I think I should be as celebrated and supported as the Mums who are bottle feeding. We are all doing an amazing job.
Given my thoughts and feelings on breastfeeding, I’ve applied to become a breastfeeding support worker. Whilst pregnant the lady I had who spoke to me about breastfeeding, although lovely, was a lot older and certainly of that pressurising mentality. She didn’t need to put that pressure on me as my decision was already made to breastfeed, but it made me think, other young women would be instantly put off breastfeeding if they were met with such pressure and strong opinions. I like to think if women have someone of the same generation, who has a positive mentality and who has been through the experience it might help them with difficulties they may encounter and encourage them. I certainly wouldn’t tell any woman what to do, but I’d love to offer support and encouragement for something as special as breastfeeding.
So that’s my take on National Breastfeeding Celebration Week. And as always this is just my point of view and I am a very proud breastfeeding mum. I don’t think there is any right or wrong, just that we are all doing our best and we should support one another as Mums in all our choices.