To breastfeed or not to breastfeed, that is the question. It is a question that, without fail, causes heated discussions.
I was at a dinner party once where a husband said he wished his wife had “tried harder” with breastfeeding their child, and not “given up so easily”. He ended up with a full glass of red wine dripping down his face and a week sleeping in the spare room.
It’s a very contentious issue and one that causes women to react very strongly, whichever side they fall on.
But, whatever your opinion, breastfeeding is not for everyone and women who don’t choose to breastfeed should not be made to feel guilty, or less of a mother, because of it. For this very reason, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in the UK has just taken an initiative to encourage midwives to respect the decision of women who choose not to breastfeed.
While it still contends that babies should be breastfed for the first six months of life, the RCM has told its members not to try to force any woman to breastfeed and to give all new mothers appropriate support if they make an informed decision to bottle feed.
A lot of women who choose not to breastfeed feel judged and suffer from a sense of failure and guilt for not giving their baby breast milk. But the reality is that some women really struggle to get the baby to latch on, or suffer from mastitis, or worse. After spending a week or more sobbing in pain and frustration at every feed, these women are entitled to give up.
Happy mother equals happy baby, so if the mother is suffering, the baby will too. Deciding to bottle feed your baby is not a decision anyone takes lightly and if it’s right for you, then no one should make you feel bad about it.
In 2015, the National Perinatal Reporting System recorded that only 58pc of babies in Ireland were receiving breast milk on discharge from hospital. The Health Service Executive recorded that…