Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Breastapo

Hurrah for Kym Marsh who hit out at the Twitics who slammed her for not breastfeeding her baby Polly. I have written in the past about my choice to bottle feed my boys and it's one that I am proud of. I put my hand on my heart when I say that formula feeding made me a better mum. I don't think that it's the right choice for everyone, how would I know what works for other mums, but I do know that switching from breast to bottle was the best decision I ever made.

I think it might help if mums were a bit more honest about the reality of breastfeeding. My own mum breezily told me she had taken to it like a duck to water, but then her memory isn't what it once was, and no one admitted what an horrific experience it can be. From the moment my newborn latched his vice like gums onto my poor nipple it was sheer agony.

From the painful, swollen lumps in my breasts, to the stinky leaking milk spewing onto my top, from the bleeding nipples to my son's unrelenting appetite, nothing about breastfeeding seemed in any way natural or pleasant. I tried breastfeeding counsellors, asked my health visitor for help, in short I didn't just give up, but in the end enough was enough and all our feeding problems were standing between me and falling in love with my little boy.

From the moment I fed my firstborn a bottle our relationship was transformed and I could become the calm and caring mother I'd always imagined I would be, cradling him in my arms as he drank in his milk, rather than stiffening at his hungry cry and wincing as he tried to suckle.

Perhaps breast is biologically best, but for me it was so emotionally damaging that any physical benefits were outweighed by the trauma it caused psychologically. I don't advocate that no one should breastfeed, or that swapping to the bottle would make anyone else a better mother, I just think that every mum should be left to make her decision about what is best for her in peace. After all it's hard enough mothering a newborn without every Twit, Dick and Harry second guessing all your decisions.

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