Today, I read an article. It was an article about a mother who had tried to breastfeed, but had been unable too. It didn’t explain why the mother and baby had issues just what responses she had received after posting on a “mummy page” that she was turning to formula. The responses where in line of “Is there anything you need? Can I help in anyway? Have you seen a IBCLC? Did you try a new diet? Did you do lots of skin to skin? Have you tried nipple shields or pumping?”
Is there something wrong with these questions?
The article states that asking these kind of questions is judging the mother. That these questions are somehow telling the mother that she isn’t good enough and that she hasn’t done enough.
I was unable to breastfeed my first, the lack of support combined with inverted nipples made it impossible for us. We went through hell. I was determined to breastfeed. I expressed, and I used a SNS system. By the time I heard about nipple shields my daughter had developed a bottle preference and as I’d never heard that I could feed her with a cup I did what I thought I had too and fed her with a bottle.
My heart is broken as a result of not being able to breastfeed my daughter and she is now almost 7 years old, the pain has never gone away.
I wish that someone had asked me if I’d seen an IBCLC. I wish that someone had told me about nipple shields and I wish that I had known that there are things you can do to increase milk supply.
I WISH SOMEONE HAD ASKED ME THESE QUESTIONS.
If a mother tells me she is struggling, I ask similar questions, to those mentioned above. I do not ask them as part of some plan to degrade her and make her feel useless. I ask out of concern and a wish to support. I would ask these questions knowing that maybe, just maybe, if someone had asked me these things I would have had other alternatives and things to try- maybe I would have been able to breastfeed my child. To pass concern and care over as “judgement” is upsetting to say the least and it is to me, so confusing.
If someone fell over and broke their leg, we would surely all run up and assist to help? We would ask, “are you hurt? Do you need an Icepack? Do you need to see a doctor? Will I phone an ambulance for you?”
Can you imagine someone replying- “stop judging me, it’s not my fault I’ve broken my leg“? I mean; when asking if all aspects have been considered- aspects that could enable breastfeeding, is considered judgemental, surely asking the same line of questions for a leg that’s broken would be equally judgemental? It’s just another biological process that for some reason isn’t functioning ?
If someone gets given support and suggestions and then decide to use formula then an educated choice have been made and this is something we should all strive to do. By trying to offer you support and advice, I’m not criticising you, I’m simply trying to be a supporter of you- regardless of what choice you make!
A choice should however be made with knowledge, knowledge is power.
I want to clarify that I do not hate formula, in fact I love formula. It helped my daughter stay alive. If I needed to use formula again, I would. That’s not the issue here- the issue is that somehow trying to support other mothers has been turned in to something negative and that to me, is infuriating.
When my second was due to be born I asked questions and I searched out support. I was asked if I had tried certain things and if I had considered others, and as a result of these lovely, caring sanctimonious mothers (I’m using this with love) I have been able to feed my son from my breast- a journey that has continued for 3 years and will continue until he is ready to wean. So to all you who offered me advice, knowing you could have been called “judgemental“- THANK YOU– without you I wouldn’t have been able to do this for my son and I. Without your wisdom and support I would have broken all over again.