Empowered To Breastfeed
So as many of you know, last week I went and did a photoshoot for the Sun. (I'll link the published article below)
It’s not something I set out to do but when the opportunity came up to highlight and normalise breastfeeding while on the go, I thought why not. (Although please be aware, their facts and quotes from me are not quite as I’ve said them!)
I never set out to breastfeed with my first, it just happened. I was in the hospital just after my c-section and I asked the Midwives if they’d help me latch him. They were surprised and said they’d assumed I’d just bottle feed but showed me anyway.
That was the beginning of my journey.
I had a lot of bumps along the way with constant advice from others about how I should introduce formula as it will give me a break, or that it would help Rufus sleep through the night.
Friends and family were trying to help and support me, but the lack of knowledge around the benefits of breastfeeding shocked me.
I have no problem with bottle feeding. Rufus was very ill at one point and I introduced formula after the doctor told me it might help as he was showing signs of milk allergy. I’ve also introduced it recently to Eden as I’ve started to struggle to pump enough for his dad to have him overnight.
What people don’t realise though is that their advice can hinder and destroy a relationship with breastfeeding that didn’t necessarily need to end so soon.
Introducing formula to give me a break, isn’t a break. In order to keep up supply of milk for those missed feeds, you need to express which can be tiring and harder to do than actually just feeding your baby.
Introducing formula to help a baby sleep longer is advice that has no foothold in science. Babies have incredibly small tummies, they are meant to wake regularly to feed and waking is also thought to be a protection against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Formula is heavier and harder to digest which is why it can appear to help babies sleep longer as their little bodies work to digest it, but on average they do not sleep longer than breastfed babies.
Introducing specialist formula with Rufus turned out to be unnecessary as all I had to do to continue our breastfeeding journey was to eliminate dairy from my diet, which for me was a choice I preferred as it meant less getting up and down to make bottles at night.
The other side of all of this is that for me it felt natural. I wanted to be supported in my choices.
With Eden he didn’t feed for two days after he was born and even with all my knowledge I started to panic, but the reality for me is that the benefits of feeding are so strong that I asked for help from a friend and colleague at CalmFamily and had him latched in no time with a little love and support.
As I said I did this article to help change the views surrounding feeding.
I’m lucky in the fact that I have a job whereby it’s much more socially acceptable for me to be feeding, and yes I’ve fed while speaking at events, while running a stall and even during an online consultation with a client in the Seychelles.
I’ve always fed in public and I’ve never really batted an eyelid as I know that the World Health Organization (WHO) and NHS recommend breastfeeding for two years and beyond, and I know that legally I’m allowed to feed my babies pretty much anywhere in public.
I have clients have told me they felt shame at feeding out, were worried what others might say and that have even cried or stopped feeding in public because of it.
My job is not to dictate how you parent, in this case how you feed. My job is to empower parents and help them feel confident and informed in the choices that they make whatever they may be.
Hopefully this article goes some way to helping to empower or give confidence to that mum that might be feeling scared.
Read the article here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/7519894/mums-inspired-to-breastfeed-public/