Is breastfeeding really a choice? #KBBF2014

Choice. It’s something we experience every day of our lives.

What to wear in the morning. What to have for breakfast. Whether to actually have breakfast at all.

But breastfeeding – that’s a bit like that third example. Because I might choose to have breakfast – but then circumstances (children, tantrums over what THEY want to wear in the morning and have for breakfast etc…) get in the way and perhaps that choice is taken from me because if I don’t leave the house RIGHT NOW I will get the glare of doom from the schoolteacher as we slink into the reception gate, late again…

So, did I choose to breastfeed? Not really.

What I DID do is find out about breastfeeding before I had my baby, and how it works in theory. I recalled memories of my own mother feeding my brother, and I heard from my midwife the benefits of breastfeeding. And so I chose not to formula feed, if that was possible.

Then the Wee Man arrived. And the choice was taken away from me.

Circumstances (a very rapid labour, a very unhelpful midwife on the night-time postnatal ward, and a hospital that cared more about statistics than struggling first time mums) meant that we left hospital clutching a bottle of formula, and a baby that was perfectly happy, but not breastfeeding.

Lack of support meant my choice was taken from me, and instead I was left with a decision – to feed my ‘starving baby’ using formula, or to continue to defy the people I was reassured knew best. So which one do you think I decided on, in my emotional new mum state?

But then I chose to fight. I fought the people who told me that formula isn’t the end of the world (it’s not, but it’s would have been an expensive part of mine). I fought the people who told me that I wouldn’t be able to exclusively breastfeed and wean the Wee Man from a bottle. And then I fought to get some local support for other new mothers like me, so that they could have a choice instead of a decision.

In reality, most women should be able to choose to breastfeed – it’s only a very small minority who actually physically aren’t able to for one reason or another.

But in our current reality, a lot of women can’t choose to breastfeed. And that’s something that needs to change.


Lots of other bloggers have been writing about their decisions to breastfeed today – take a look at these:

Mixed Bag of Allsorts writes about the decision to use supplemental nursing

Mummy Memories talks about breastfeeding second time round.

My Thoughts On Things discusses why breastfeeding is good for Dads

Preschool Mum debates the reasons to breastfeed

and the financial benefits of breastfeeding are discussed by Visit from the Stork

And a big shout out too to Ardo Breastpumps, who have not only sponsored me to attend Britmums Live today but are also giving away one of their fantastic pumps as part of the grand prize, which you can enter using the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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