Hooray to the bottle feeding mums
HOORAY TO THE BOTTLE FEEDING MUMS
This was the title of an article I read in a Belgian newspaper during the international breastfeeding week. The title of course caught my attention.
In short it was about a mother writing about her very hard times breastfeeding her babies and giving up after a week. With her second baby she didn’t even start breastfeeding, too afraid to go through the same very hard and depressing times.
She had a difficult time physical and emotional. But what she says was the worst for her, were the reactions she got from others about the fact that she wasn’t breastfeeding. And how harsh people and other mothers can be.
EVERY MOTHER WANTS WHATS BEST FOR HER BABY
As a Doula you come across lots of these stories. And what I found is that every mother wants the best for her baby. And that lots of women try breastfeeding, but have to give up very soon. And it makes them feel very disappointed and it lowers their self esteem as a mother.
WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN SO OFTEN
It’s not the mothers fault, it’s not the babies. It’s the system. Why are breastfeeding rates in Scandinavian countries so much better than in Belgium for example?
The system has to support women, by breastfeeding work relief, breastfeeding classes, support in the hospital and help at home by lactation specialists.
NO OR LITTLE SUPPORT
A few things in the article showed me that the mother wasn’t supported and/or informed well. To begin with, she writes that she was breastfeeding her baby for the first time 2 hours after he was born. Only this fact can make breastfeeding much harder than it should be, 2 hours after birth is already late.
The first moments after birth are super important and the only thing a baby has to do is crawl (yes newborns can crawl) his way up to the breast and start sucking. If this instinct is interrupted you can have problems breastfeeding.
She also says she gave up after a week, this seems short and it is because it can take a baby 2 weeks or longer before its back on its birthweight. But a week can feel like a year if you don’t have the right support…
SUCCEEDING AT BREASTFEEDING
There are so many other things that are important for succeeding. Having an unmedicated birth, skin to skin, mothering the mother, … and having a specialist at your side, preferably before things go wrong.
Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, it feels intense at first and new, but when it hurts you need professional help. Depending on where you live you will get little or no support.
Everybody knows ‘breast is best’, but nobody explains how it really works.
Lots of first time mothers have never seen other mothers breastfeed and lots of the time even their own mothers did not breastfeed, they have never learned anything about it.
Yes, it’s natural, but you need to learn it, and so does your baby.
As long as mothers don’t get real support, success rates will stay low.
We should inform, educate and support new mothers instead of judging them!