It is unbelievable how many women have issues breastfeeding, yet the message is very loud ‘breast is best’.
Don’t get me wrong, this article is not to argue the benefits of breastfeeding, we all know this has many positives. However, if not done properly it can have negative consequences, therefore my message here is fed is best.
My daughter was born with some minor breathing difficulties, thus she was placed in the new born intensive care unit for a few days. I could not attempt breastfeeding until approximately 12 hours after she was born. This meant I got behind my milk production. As a first time mother with no family support I relied solely on the hospital staff for information. The problem is that they are not allowed to talk about bottle feeding.
I thought that by just putting the baby on the breast nature would do the rest, little did I know that I was starving her and that her jaundice was only getting worse as a consequence.
Jaundice is common in new born babies. It happens as bilirubin, produced by the breakdown of old red blood cells, built up in the blood system. Bilirubin is removed by the liver which in turn is removed from the body through bowl movements. During pregnancy, the mothers’ body removes bilirubin from the baby, but once the little bundle is born, his/her liver must carry one with the job. For this process to occur feeding is essential. Insufficient liquid causes the concentration of bilirubin in the blood to rise.
High levels of bilirubin will cause severe jaundice. If jaundice goes untreated for too long, it can cause Kernicterus.
Kernicterus, a type of brain damage, may cause cerebral palsy, hearing loss, problems with vision and teeth, and sometimes can even cause intellectual disabilities. This is rare and it mostly happens in extreme cases. Doctors will usually do a blood transfusion before levels get so high to cause kernicterus.
But why put our selfs through the heart ache of seeing our little people under the uv lights? or going through the experience of blood transfusion? No, there is an easier way, bottle feeding.
So many people out there judging mothers for bottle feeding their babies. So many mothers out there being made to feel like the worst parents for using the bottle. Is that really the correct message? Breastfeed is the best and only way? Sacrifice your mental health? Deprived yourself from any rest? Do we really want to put that much pressure on mothers?
The question is why breast is best? This is the 21st century. Aren’t we all about democracy? Education? Acceptance?. So why is it that our Health professionals are not allow to give us the whole picture? Why can’t they give information about the breast and the bottle? Why is it that we, as mothers, are not allowed to choose freely wether we want to use the bottle or the breast? Why is there a taboo on bottle feeding?
The answer is simple, the message that the ‘breast is best’ campaign sends is wrong. Instead it should be fed is best.
Mum’s, here are some tips for you: if your baby is restless, lethargic, or doesn’t have enough wet nappies, there is a high possibility that he/she is not getting enough milk.
If you feel like breast feeding is damaging your mental health, is putting too much pressure on you, or you are in physical pain use the bottle. If you are determine to breastfeed, but can’t produce enough milk why don’t you try mix feeding. What ever you choose, remember fed is best, and whichever method you choose to feed your baby is absolutely fine. You are doing what is best for the baby and that is what makes you a great mother.
Give yourselfs a rest. You are all amazing xx