Settling the Debate, Once and For All
As a new mother, one of the biggest decisions you’ll face is how to feed your precious newborn baby. Nursing staff at the hospital will likely encourage you to breastfeed, but in reality not all women are able to do so. For many, the art of breastfeeding takes hours of practise and success depends upon a partnership where both mother and baby need to be compatible. Why then, in this age of education and in a society that promotes freedom of choice, must the age-old debate of breastfeeding vs bottle feeding continue?
Placing pressure on new moms to breastfeed can cause a great amount of unnecessary stress. In a society flooded with technology and media, mums can feel challenged when presented with images of cultural perfection they may not live up to1. New mothers are often learning to adjust to life with a baby as well as struggling with very little sleep. This challenging combination creates a time when they need support, not judgment and they also shouldn’t need to worry about the breastfeeding vs bottle feeding debate. Society can play a part in assisting new mothers to feel as comfortable as possible by encouraging freedom of choice when it comes to important decisions such as how to feed their baby.
Holding a newborn in ones arms is such a precious and short lived moment, and as a community it’s important to support new mothers and empower them to feel as capable as possible. New mums welcome reassurance and encouragement and should be supported in making decisions that are right for their personal situation.
Breastfeeding vs bottle feeding?
Despite pressure placed upon mothers by health professionals and the media2, breastfeeding or bottle feeding is your own decision to make. Some mums have this choice made for them, as nature takes its course. For those in the fortunate position of being able to make a conscious decision, you know your baby best. If you need assistance in making this important decision, you may wish to engage the support of a health care professional.
Sometimes mummy or baby can face health challenges and even close friends may be reluctant to discuss such personal details with others. They may battle internal feelings of inferiority or as if judgment will be passed3, and many have reportedly struggled to share their experiences when it comes to feeding their baby.
As a community, we can learn how to be mindful and respectful of the decisions made by others when it comes to feeding babies. Just as everyone deserves this level of respect, the best thing we can do is deliver it to those we know and love…and even those we don’t!