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How do you feed your baby?

Sunday, 8 July 2018  | 

Informed Feeding

The Royal Collage of Midwives recently released a statement which has seen them taking a new stand on infant feeding. They have said if a mother choices not to breastfeed that is her choice and is should be respected, rather than pressuring them to breastfed.

I have always had a bit of a problem with the sheer overwhelming judgement of infant feeding. I have had two very different starts to feeding my children which both resulted in the same ending; bottle feeding.

This doesn’t mean I am pro bottle feeding and anti-breastfeeding. You do what works for you and your baby, and the rest is no one business.

I know breastfeeding mums, tandem feeding mums, mixed feeding mums, expressing mums, bottle feeding mums and guess what? They all feed their baby and they are all the same in my opinion.

I do think there is a distinct lack of information out there for bottle feeding especially in an NHS setting and it can feel as though pro breastfeeding is almost forced upon you when you enter the ante natal clinic.

I understand the reasons why, but new mums, especially first time mums need to be aware of all the facts on infant feeding to make an informed choice, hence the name informed feeding.

With Elijah, my milk never came in and he wasn’t allowed to feed for 3 days and we automatically went to formula feeding. I was unaware until after our NICU stay about the milk donation service if I was presented that option I would have chosen that. Greg could get involved with feeding, and it was a shared bonding experience we all had.

With Harlow I breastfed for 8 days but it just didn’t work out with our family dynamic and again we formula fed. Greg found it very difficult not to be as involved as he was with Elijah, and it was hard to manage a toddler and feed Harlow every hour and a half. I gave it a go, and always said if it became too much I would stop.

Yes, I did feel like a failure, why? Because society dictates that that’s how I should be feeding my baby. That I was taking the easy option out. That this was a direct reflection on my parenting ability.

This shouldn’t be the case, we should not judge one another because how we choose to feed our children. If you saw me eating a MCD would you come up and judge me? Would you view me in a better light if I was eating a wholesome salad? It is my informed choice what I eat, and how I choose to feed my children.

We talk a lot about equality, but we still have such a long way to go when we are still judging one another for something like feeding our children. I understand that both sides of the coin feel passionately and perhaps want to share their experiences but we should never look down on each other or tear each other apart for our choices which make us feel like failures as mothers.

Perhaps, we should all pool our experiences in a constructive way, to then educate and help one another. The more knowledge that is available on infant feeding, the more we normalize breast and bottle and see it in a equal light then new mums will be able to make their choice without pressure or judgement.

I think the new stance on infant feeding is a step in the right direction and hopefully we can end this ridiculous stigma surrounding it, as however you choose to feed your baby your all doing a fantastic job!

Vicki Cockerill is a NICU/ CHD Mum of two boys, a freelance blogger and social media adviser, Co-Founder of #knackeredandNorwich social club and maternal mental health advocate.

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