It seems a lot of mums want to be able to breastfeed but aren’t always able to. A study confirms that 96 per cent of new mums start out breastfeeding. But sometimes, like everything in parenting, our best laid intentions don’t always go to plan.
If your breastfeeding journey hasn’t worked out the way you had hoped (or you have made the decision to stop breastfeeding), then here’s what you need to remember.
9 things mums need to remember…
1. Breastfeeding isn’t always best for mum and bub
If breastfeeding is causing stress, pain, anxiety and depression in the mother, then it is not good for mum OR best for bub! What’s best for baby is a mother who is happy, healthy, calm and rested.
2. You have not ‘failed’ as a mother
Not even close. Bottle feeding provides bub with the essential nutrients he or she needs AND is able to deliver the same bonding experience (between mum and bub) as breastfeeding.
The stigma surrounding bottle feeding exists (for whatever reason), but it is totally unnecessary. FED is best, bottle or breast.
3. Support is still available to bottle feeding mums
Breastfeeding counsellors, lactation consultants and your midwife are trained to help those with all breastfeeding struggles, including how to handle the feelings that come with the decision to stop.
4. Breastfeeding down the track is still possible
Every baby is different. While you may not have been able to breastfeed your first baby, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to breastfeed your second one.
5. It’s okay to feel a little sad
Succumbing to the fact that your breastfeeding journey is over can leave you feeling a little emotional. And this is okay. Try not to be hard on yourself and remember, you have absolutely NOTHING to feel guilty or ashamed about.
6. Bottle feeding comes with PLENTY of perks
Like the fact that you have your breasts back. And you can actually leave the house without your baby attached to you. Someone else can feed the baby, giving you a chance to get on with other things (including a nap if possible).
7. Breastfeeding is often not in your control
Sometimes you simply cannot continue to breastfeed, if it’s too painful or not providing enough nutrients for your baby. You may find that bub has a tongue tie and won’t latch OR that the strain of breastfeeding is causing your own health to suffer. There are always instances where breastfeeding doesn’t work out.
8. He’s your baby, so ultimately it’s your choice!
No matter what your friends, cousins, sisters, brothers (whoever) think, if you decide to stop breastfeeding, then that’s it! You stop breastfeeding. If you no longer feel that breastfeeding is right (or working) for you and bub – then stop. You don’t owe anyone an explanation!
However, if you would like to continue to breastfeed but feel there may be a health-related issue preventing you from doing so – we recommend speaking with your doctor.
9. Breastfeeding is only one teeny-tiny part of the parenting journey
You will have COUNTLESS obstacles to overcome along the way. So try not to get stuck on this one thing and focus on the big picture – raising a happy, healthy, confident child.
Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether a baby is breastfed or bottle fed. What matters is that he feels loved, supported, cared for and of course fed.