As I was giving my 4 month old daughter her bottle, I started to think back on when I found out I had to bottle feed my eldest boy. At 3 weeks old he had lost so much weight that he look alien-ish, to ensure he thrived I had to change from exclusive breast-feeding to topping up with formula. To say I was disappointed was an understatement.
The mantra that “Breast is Best” is great in an ideal situation, but when it is pushed so hard that those that can’t – for one reason or another – are made to feel guilty for giving their baby formula when it may be the only way to ensure their baby thrives; that’s when it becomes detrimental.
The situation around whether Breast-feeding or formula-feeding is best, isn’t as important as ensuring the survival of the baby and the sanity of the mother. To push a strong opinion onto a mother – especially a first-time mother – has the possibility of increasing the chance of PND (Post-natal depression), or if the mother has PND increasing its seriousness.
For me when I figured out that I had to top my baby boy up with formula, it felt like my own body was letting me down again – the same feeling I had when we lost our eldest girl – it was not a nice feeling, my confidence was shaken even more and I questioned every choice I made about my son.
Two children later, I now no longer pay attention to those that push “Breast is best”, I agree it is best if it works. During my pregnancy with my youngest and last, I was determined to breast-feed, however if that didn’t work I was not going to feel guilty in formula-feeding my daughter.
The love I have for all my children means that I will do what’s best for them and for my sanity; I’m by no means a perfect mother but as long as my children feel loved and secure that’s all that matters.