Slider

FED REALLY IS BEST

3 July 2017


It's been almost a year since my blog post on why I bottle fed my boys, there isn't any big story to why I couldn't breastfeed, it was my choice, our choice as a family and one I'm really happy we made. However, I'm a lucky one, so often that choice we're so fortunate to have is ripped away from new mothers and newborns, illnesses, breast reductions, milk allergies, low milk supply, the list is endless of medical reasons that can prevent a mother and baby from starting that feeding journey that so many begin every single day. But are the 'excuses' heard through the harps of what is best for your child, since when did something that is an incredibly sensitive subject for many, become a target of weakness in which to bring another mother down?

Fed is best, in my eyes it really is now we're not talking the most literal sense, because obviously we're all going to be feeding our children regardless right? I'm surrounded by a community of Mummy bloggers so I see my fair share of newborns, I read the tweets, watch the videos and notice the captions, breastfeeding can be a struggle, a seriously hard struggle. A smutty comment in the street making parents anxious about feeding in public, latching problems, mastitis, are they being fed enough, are they feeding for too long, I've seen it all and for some women, it's too much, it's too overwhelming and that is ok. If we're creating an environment where we're against the fed is best method, you're quite honestly giving a huge middle finger to all of those women, who is going to tell a mother on the brink of despair, reaching for the bottle that what she's doing isn't best. I certainly couldn't and wouldn't do that. I think as mums we all have enough self inflicted guilt that we don't need it from those around us too, yet it happens, day in and day out. Sometimes accidental, you'll get the look whilst you're bottle feeding your baby in public, other times quite openly people will share their 'views' on your chosen feeding method. I already know this post will piss off some of my friends who have expressed to me they don't have very high opinions on bottle feeding and that is perfectly fine, but I'm sure if the shoe was on the other foot it would quite the different story wouldn't it.

I'm not a breastfeeding shamer, I think it's such a fantastic thing to do, and it isn't easy. I have such an unbelievable amount of respect for the women that choose that feeding method, they are doing something their bodies are made to do. Which brings me to a comment I recently read in an anti-bottle feeding article, 'Breastfeeding is the best method for feeding, our bodies wouldn't produce milk if it wasn't meant to be used', which got me thinking, our body produces lots of things that we don't use... I'll leave that thought with you as it's a road I most certainly don't want to go down. I'll always be on the fed is best train as I believe it's one that focuses on the family and their interests, happiness and health rather than what a health visitor or Sally on mumsnet is going to pressure you into thinking. If happiness for you and your family means a long and prosperous breastfeeding journey then hooray, but if happiness is a bottle and aptamil then hooray to you too. We shouldn't be berating people on their choices of how to feed their children, people do have problems breastfeeding but people also struggle with bottle feeding, there will always be positives and negatives from each side and neither more weighty than the others. I'm very open in my feeding method because there is such a stigma attached to bottle feeding and I know so many girls that don't like talking about it online for fear of a backlash - I mean how ridiculous have things got now for that to be the case? You're not able to share a picture of you feeding your baby, because people will judge you negatively or enforce their views on you. We're all entitled to our opinions, and some people feel incredibly strongly about each side of the fence, but sometimes if you know they could be construed hurtful, then just keep them inside not everything has to be vocalised all of the time.

17 comments:

  1. We have had a challenging year and a half with food. Every day has been a struggle. I have breastfed both of mine. The second at least partly because he can't manage a bottle. Fed is most definitely best. Fed is what is important. I have learnt that the hard way x

    ReplyDelete
  2. I 100% agree, I have heard arguments about how fed is best is against breast, it isnt, its for all, the most important thing in the world, regardless of how it gets in there, boob bottle of tube, fed is 100% best! I was just about to prep a post similar to this! xx great post x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fed is most definitely best. I also question which is best for mum. People go on and on about what is best for baby but I've breastfed both girls and caused myself a whole heap of emotional pain as a result. Had I expressed more or formula fed I think I'd be in a far better mental headspace.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really hate the phrase "fed is best", as you say we are all going to feed our babies and every single person is going to agree it is better to feed a baby than for them to starve, but it suggests that formula is just as good as breast milk and it's not. I support every parent what ever their feeding choice, but they need to make an informed choice. New parents need to be aware that there are health benefits to their baby (and to the mum) if they breastfeed and that even breastfeeding for a week makes a difference.
    If after being aware of the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of formula people choose to use formula (and I understand there are many reasons to) then great, own that decision, but I fear the "fed is best" message is telling people who are making that decision "formula is a good as breastmilk".
    We have such low breastfeeding rates in the UK that we should be putting pressure on the government to ensure there is adequate support for every mother who wants to breastfeed. So many people seem to stop breastfeeding because they have problems (which could have been resolved with the right support) that they then get defensive about their feeding methods and they get upset when people promote breastfeeding.
    Maybe I need to champion the phrase "Informed Is Best"? Feed your children how you want, as long as you are aware of the risks and benefits to your method (I eat tonnes of sugar even though I know it's bad for me and is likely to have long term health consequences. It's *MY* choice).
    Sorry for the essay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think by saying we need to make an informed decision means that those who don't breastfeed aren't informed - which simply isn't true.

      So many can't breastfeed for simple reasons, my best friend had a breast reduction and through that has such low milk supply she couldn't possibly breastfeed. No amount of support would have changed that. And yes more support would be great for those that have problems, but it isn't as simple as you make it appear, support isn't always readily available.

      Initial breastfeeding rates are actually higher than bottle feeding on the governments figures for December to April. I haven't suggested formula is as good as breastmilk, nor would I. But the fed is best stance is definitely one I shall always agree with, because I think however you choose to feed your baby you should be happy, comfortable and confident.

      Delete
    2. My last comment sent before I finished 🙈 But I totally understand your point of view, there isn't enough information around both sides of the fence and I think quite often it makes parents feel 'pressured' into breastfeeding, rather than being guided about the benefits, which I do think pushes a lot of younger parents the opposite way.

      Here's to hoping there is more support for women who struggle but want to continue in years to come x

      Delete
    3. That's part of my point though there really isn't enough support. It's around 3% who couldn't breastfeed if the right support was available and the number of times i hear people say they wanted to but had problems (which could have been resolved with the right support) drives me mad.
      Making an informed decision is knowing all the facts and making the best decision for you and your family, that doesn't always mean breastfeeding. I'm happy if someone knows the facts and chooses to use formula, I am frustrated when I hear people say things like "there isn't really any difference between breast milk and formula" and my concern is that "fed is best" encourages people to thing that way.
      The Milk Meg is more eloquent than me on it: https://themilkmeg.com/accidental-starvation-fed-isnt-best/

      Delete
    4. The phrase "fed is best" doesn't suggest that one is better than another. It says that whatever way your child is fed is fine as long as everyone is happy and they're getting what they need. You're implying that all formula feeders choose to do so, which simply isn't true. It's not the same as you eating a chocolate bar even though it's "bad" for you. We couldn't breastfeed despite weeks of trying, and it really affected my mental health and worth as a mother that I couldn't give my son what he needs. When I went to baby groups there was such a stigma against formula that I felt I was doing something wrong even though breastfeeding simply wasn't an option. Bravo on keeping up breastfeeding but comments such as this are the reason why many mums in my position feel ashamed by what we have to do.

      Delete
    5. Couldn't agree more with your Ada x

      Delete
    6. If I have another child I would absolutely try breastfeeding again, but I wouldn't be so hard on myself or let myself feel ashamed by my decision if it didn't work out. My son had a tongue tie which didn't get picked up right away so I'd ensure that things like that were checked for sooner. I'm almost glad because if it had been the other way around, he'd breastfed and a second child didn't, I might feel even worse. In any case he's on to mostly solids now and thriving as a mini vegetarian so milk is really just a supplement!

      Delete
  5. I think people certainly over think this and to be fair god knows why, I think it is a shame. Personally if your baby is happy and healthy, what does it matter if the child is breast or bottle fed, I think society and the hospital put so mixh pressure on mothers, but if they had a brain they would realise that sometimes mothers are unable to breastfeed due to stress, or as you said it's simply their choice.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We all know that breast has better nutritional value to our babies but it doesn't mean it's best for every woman and their family! Fed is best - in my opinion - isn't being d valuing to breastfeeding women nor is it encouraging people to bottle feed. It simply means we support women however they choose to feed ox

    ReplyDelete
  7. Couldn't agree more with "fed is best". I didn't produce milk which meant that I didn't have a choice and, much as I would have liked to, I couldn't breast feed.
    There shouldn't be any pressure eitherway and it should be left totally to the mum to choose how to feed her baby.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The choice was taken away from me and I still get upset about that now. I finally gave up struggling on at 4.5 months and I was so much happier and so was my daughter. Each parent just has to do what's best for them and baby - whatever that choice is.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I live in a region where most new mums don't breastfeed and a lot of the time its because they have families that don't think it's a good thing to do. Fed is best but people need information and support too x

    ReplyDelete
  10. I combination fed all 3 of my children and feel comfortable with my choice. I think parents have the right to decide for themselves and should be given the information and support they need not shame and accusations

    ReplyDelete
  11. I never breastfed my eldest. It was 15 years ago now and to be honest I never even considered it. Having my second 11 years later I couldn't believe the difference as breastfeeding was everywhere. i managed 6 weeks and although it made me sad that I couldn't continue I have a very healthy 4 year old.

    ReplyDelete

CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan