After my last article, and having written about breastfeeding previously, I was accused of being too in favour of breastfeeding and wasn’t being balanced enough. My friend, in a good natured way, pointed out I don’t talk about alternatives or the downsides of breastfeeding.
I wasn’t sure how t respond. I mean, firstly this is a private bog and not some professional or official source of information like a newspaper or a government agency. There is no requirement for me to be anything at all – as a private citizen I can be as biased as I like. If I want to root for Donald Trump and advocate for a 100 foot high, electrified, border crossing proof fence along the Rio Grande I can (but I won’t because that would be silly).
Secondly I did try and point out I’m not all out in favour of breastfeeding as much as I advocate it. I don’t want to be one of those people who will implicitly or explicitly criticise the choice of other mothers who don’t breastfeed or do whatever it is they believe in.
So What Do I Think?
So here’s a balanced perspective, in a nutshell.
Firstly, I like breastfeeding and I like writing and talking about it. Now I don’t do it anymore I miss it.
Breastfeeding has well researched and documented advantages over other forms of feeding a baby. Breastmilk is perfectly suited for your baby and their digestive system and needs. Nothing else is as good for your baby.
That said, there are plenty of reasons why breastfeeding is impossible or hard and it shouldn’t be looked down upon as a failure when a mother does not breastfeed. It can hurt, your baby might never get the hang of it, a mother might not be able to make enough milk and it can drain your energy and make you really tired – on that I can speak from some experience.
In the end it is a choice for each and every mother to make specific to their circumstances. Sometimes that “choice” is dictated by those circumstances so the choice isn’t a choice at all.
The Bottom Line
So while I enjoy and encourage breastfeeding I think that as long as a mom makes the decision that ensures the best outcome for her and her child then scaremongers and everyone else should butt out. The important elements in any “formula” (pardon the pun) is making sure the baby gets what they need from mom without affecting mom’s health and wellbeing.
So there, I hope that adds a bit of balance and perspective to this blog and – if anyone ever reads this – the wider perennial debate.
Oh, and it seems like post-weaning depression is a thing after all. For anyone who was interested.