Saturday, February 25

Breastfeeding, by a Bottle-Feeder

Oh, the vicious debate of motherhood. Breast or bottle.
It's a choice that in some circles can define you and your style and integrity of motherhood and parenting. I am always very surprised at the relatively small numbers of breastfeeding mothers given the promotion of it's well being for your baby and advice of organisations like the World Health Organisation.
Then again, I am one of the non-breastfeeders, although this decision was not deliberate but a result of some complicated circumstances that ended up with my milk drying up before I came to a firm decision. I am comfortable with the fact that I bottlefeed and it has suited me and my child as it means that as a single parent I could return to part-time work confident my child would still feed correctly and as she has grown older, her health requirements are a little outside the box and bottle feeding has allowed us some breakthrough with oral motor skills and a way of giving her a more suitable formula and medication.

The debate seems to have reared again following a stance by Facebook on banning pictures of breastfeeding along with all nudity and nipples, and the transmission of an edition of Loose Women following this. I simply cannot fully get my head around the fuss; breastfeeding like bottlefeeding is a way of ultimately enabling your child to receive nutrition to grow and survive. It is not different just because it comes from the body rather than a piece of plastic. If you don't like it, don't do it or don't watch. Out of all of my mum friends and acquaintances, the majority breastfeed and I have seen if many times, and never seen anything more intimate than the flash of a bra-strap. Partly this is because I am not goggling hard, in the way that I would not like to be stared at whether feeding or otherwise, and partly because with practise and the right clothing, it is very discreet. Babies are small but not so small that they are dwarfed by a bosom; often all you could see would be the back of head in my experience.

Personally I yearn for the day when women, especially mothers, are far more supportive and compassionate towards each other, whether in feeding methods or anything else. If you breastfeed, you can be shot down for opportune "flashing" and if you don't you receive the same wrath for not giving your child the best start in life. Specifically on breastfeeding though, from everything I have read and heard, it is hard. It is a struggle. So surely these mothers need support to boost their confidence to persevere? The idea that mothers give up not by choice but because they feel they don't fit in with society is appalling. There is a firm difference between showing your breasts in a sexual situation and that of a functional one.

However you choose to feed your child, it would be nice to feel fully supported and comfortable in a more child-friendly environment. There are some fantastic places that go above and beyond to attract and make welcome families and babies, whether breastfeeding or otherwise. There are many brilliant women who respect each other and each other's choices. Whilst everyone has the right to an opinion and free speech, an important human right, this sometimes seems to shadow a more compassionate approach to each other.


  1. I agree, each to their own, I breast fed both of mine because I hate washing up so it seemed the sensible choice. Breast feeding in public didn't bother me but then I'm the sort that pees in the garden when the bathrooms occupied....

    1. Ah weeing in the great outdoors! My father does that regularly too. My mum is forever on at him for doing so. Their neighbors recently put up a 6 foot fence. Coincidence...?!