There are SO many bloggers on the internet these days. Whether that be Facebook bloggers, Instagram bloggers or those with their own websites. Each have their own voice – their own space to write whatever topic they want to and share it with their readers. Some offer advice, debates, or information they feel could be somewhat useful to others.
World Breastfeeding Week was the 1st of August to the 7th of August this year. As a breastfeeding mum, I love celebrating this week. Sharing useful information to those who need it, posting my favourite pictures of Holly nursing and better yet, NORMALISING it.
I am not ashamed at all to post breastfeeding pictures. I am not in any way wanting to ‘shove it in people’s faces’ nor would I ever want to cause other mothers to feel guilty for not choosing to do so. Due to me candidly sharing my breastfeeding journey with Holly, many mums-to-be have messaged me asking for tips, advice and what to expect in the first few weeks. I have never felt so proud to be able to help others, and that has always been my intention, to help other mums breastfeed. Not to purposely shame bottle feeders.
With World Breastfeeding Week, comes articles, comments and posts from parents who feel it is being shoved down their throats, “being made to feel like sh*t” and post paragraphs justifying themselves to others on why they didn’t/don’t breastfeed.
It gives bloggers a chance to voice their opinions on it, share their stories or spark debates just to give themselves a couple hundred more page views. Most bloggers have social influence; the power to make change and encourage others. THIS is why bloggers need to stop writing poorly informed and in some cases, dangerous posts about breastfeeding.
A few blogs I have read in the past couple of weeks have caused me to seethe. Here are a few examples:
“I was bottle fed and I turned out OK”
“Fed is best!”
“Some mums just can’t produce enough milk”
“Why isn’t there a world formula feeding week?”
Oh, the rage.
Firstly, the saying ‘fed is best’ is true to the respect that all babies should be fed, in fact, it is a requirement. In medical emergencies, if donor milk is unavailable for whatever reason, formula is there for supplimenting. The saying ‘breast is best’ was in fact created by formula companies to create a divide which they could then exploit.
Secondly, an article I read on Kelly Mom (a trusted website with factual evidence of breastfeeding); “Perceived low milk production, also called Perceived Insufficient Milk (Neifert & Bunik, 2013), is present when a mother is producing enough milk for her baby, but she believes she is not, often because she incorrectly assigns certain normal behaviors of her baby as hunger or dissatisfaction at the breast.”
So, for bloggers to write about how they didn’t produce enough milk for their babies, make it seem as though it’s normal. No, it’s not normal, it’s very rare. And unfortunately for those women, they did not recieve the correct support to help them understand a normal breastfed baby’s behaviour. When a newly breastfeeding mum comes across a blog post written by a mum who explains normal behaviours of a breastfed baby but makes out it’s not normal and that’s why they “weren’t producing enough’ will only make that newly breastfeeding mum doubt herself.
Newborn babies normal behaviour, Link: http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/newborn-nursing/
Last but not least, why isn’t there a formula feeding week? I’ll tell you why. There is not enough breastfeeding support. It is one week in the year when breastfeeding mothers can come together to celebrate their success, educate others in the hope that one day, breastfeeding will be normalised. We already have formula feeding week. It’s every week of every year. Formula being advertised through our TV screens, magazines, social media, in stores. The week where the symbol of a bottle appears on new baby cards, baby clothes, changing room doors. So to describe the World Breastfeeding Week as shaming bottle feeding is nothing other than absolute bulls**t.
“Why does it need to be normalised? It’s normal enough” I hear you say.. Heres the thing, it really isn’t. News articles are posted around social media of a mum breastfeeding her 4 year old, natural term weaning if you must know. She is told “you’re just doing it for yourself!” ..”she needs to have a bottle!” And “that’s disgusting!”. Mostly from people who feed their children breast milk from another mammal on a daily basis. Now, tell me if it’s normalised?
The breastfeeding rates in the UK are one of the lowest in the world, with only 63% of mums giving it a go. It then drops rapidly to only 23% who carry on breastfeeding past 6 months or older, despite the WHO (world health organisation) recommending to feed until 2 years of age. But why? Because people are made to believe there are only nutritional benefits of breast milk for the first 6 months. I was once told by a doctor “there is no need to breastfeed now, she’s had all the benefits” ..A DOCTOR.
Unfortunately, you cannot educate those who do not want to be educated. Best way to be informed is by educating yourself.
I will never shame mothers who choose to give their baby formula. I support not only breastfeeding, but mums as a whole. What I will shame, are those who preech to people about how breastfeeding doesn’t work out for everyone, how ‘mummy knows best’ and how some mums just get lucky.
Fed is required.
Breast is the biological norm.
Informed is best.