The Shit Breastfeeders Are Faced With Everyday.

Every single mum faces challenges, unfortunately that’s just how it goes. However breastfeeding mums seem to take first place in being judged and attacked.

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Take Louise Burns for example, who was told to cover up her breastfeeding baby at Claridge’s hotel in 2014. This made the headlines and national news however this happens every single day for many breastfeeding women. Some women prefer to cover up at first, whilst they establish breastfeeding and get more confident with latching their baby on. This is absolutely fine as they have chosen to cover up for their own comfort. But asking someone to cover up is not only illegal but it’s rude, disrespectful, ignorant and unhelpful.  Asking someone to cover up is instantly shaming their body and sexualising their breasts, which *shock horror* are made to feed babies. How else has the human race survived this long? Formula only became widely available less than 100 years ago and that was for the tiny percentage of mums who couldn’t breastfeed and didn’t want a wet nurse and to be used as a life saving medicine for babies who had been abandoned.

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The people who ask these mums to cover up don’t stop to think about the baby, how would you feel if you had to sit with a tablecloth over your head whilst eating your tea? I know it sounds utterly ridiculous but this is how it sounds when the same words fall out of your mouth.

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Another thing most breastfeeding mums are faced with at one point or another are well-meaning friends and family members who come out with phrases such as ‘when are you putting him on a bottle?’ or ‘he’s hungry again?! You’re obviously not making enough milk for him.’ I say well-meaning as most of the time they are, but they do not realise the detrimental affects of their comments. These are the comments that perpetrate myths and make mums second guess themselves. These are the comments that fail breastfeeding mums and make them turn to formula instead. So I say enough is enough. Instead of coming out with unhelpful comments, why not offer some help? Why not sit and listen to the breastfeeding mum who is trying her best? Why not do some research and understand that cluster feeding is perfectly normal and healthy?

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Moreover, most breastfeeding women go through plenty of hardships throughout their journey and only a fair few come out the other side, as understandably so many women quit due to unhelpful friends and family members, people perpetrating myths and it even comes down to the fact that formula feeding is advertised every where we go. It’s on the TV (see pictures below), its in our favourite magazine, its in the films, its even on Facebook ads. Cow & Gate, SMA and Aptimil have appeared on my newsfeed so many times I have lost count. Where are the breastfeeding adverts? Oh wait, there isn’t any as apparently that would be pushing breastfeeding down mother’s throats and making the formula feeder feel bad. Facebook is clever and only advertises things that are relevant or things that you have searched on Google. For example, if you have searched for baby clothes then Facebook will usually start advertising brands such as Mothercare on your newsfeed. However apparently this rule of related searches seems to go out the window when formula adverts start appearing on your newsfeed. It’s a very common topic in Breastfeeding groups online, so many mums are bombarded with these unhelpful and annoying ads that serve no purpose in their lives. Now to some people this isn’t a big deal, ‘what’s the issue?’ I hear you say… Well there are many. As I said above, many women go through so many hardships throughout their breastfeeding journey and these adverts are incredibly tempting to some mums going through these challenges when they really just need a push in the right direction and positive support. Another issue is that these adverts undermine breastfeeding and make formula feeding the norm instead of breastfeeding. They automatically appear on mums and mums-to-be’s newsfeeds as if they are assuming that every single mum is going to formula feed. Breastfeeding is the norm and should be treated as such, the least they could do is back off and only appear on the right newsfeeds.

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Here are a few pictures captured of bottle feeding on TV. For every 10 bottle feeding scenes/adverts/ what-have-you there were maybe 1 or 2 references to breastfeeding. It’s utterly ridiculous and quite frankly we are all fed up of having to keep quiet about it. We can’t even utter our disappointment and anger without being told to ‘hush’ in case we offend a formula feeder. We are faced with this every single day and it’s tiring. Credit of the slideshow above goes to members of Breastfeeding Activism and Positive Support.

 

**Thank you to those from these Facebook groups who shared their opinions with me in order to help me with this article. **

Lactivists

Breastfeeding Activism and Positive Support

Can I Breastfeed In It? Off Topic Discussion

 

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18 thoughts on “The Shit Breastfeeders Are Faced With Everyday.

  1. I totally agree with breastfeeding and that breast is best but sometimes the pressure to breastfeed can be detrimental. My baby had tongue tie and was unable to feed properly. She lost so much weight it risked her life but the MW’s and nurses were still telling me breast is best. I guess really there is pressure on both sides.

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    • The tongue tie could have been cut and then effective feeding could have started and increase in weight. Unfortunatley you were given really naff support if that wasnt even offered and for that I am sorry.

      I actually had the opposite problem and was made to feel like shit from my hcp’s for not giving my baby formula, when they finally ground me down and got me to give a bottle of an evening (no advice was given to pump that bottle to maintain supply). 2weeks later once they were happy with her weight I was told the formula didnt do anything and it was all me.

      I was lucky not to fall into the top-up trap and just stopped that 1 bottle, others arent so lucky.

      It is actually rare for hcp’s to ‘pressure’ to bf as formula is their answer to everything and is one of the reasons bf journeys end much quicker.

      Most MW, HV, DRs arent even trained in bf support so actually have no clue

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s not breastfeeding that is detrimental, but lack for support to breastfeed when you want to. In your case it would have been simple to have TT cut. Breastmilk is the biological norm, and therefore the biological imperative, breast milk is not detrimental, but a lack of education and support in breastfeeding can lead to so many misconceptions. In sorry you were let down.

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  3. We must be quite lucky round here. There’s fairly good support, and I don’t know anyone in our area who’s been frowned on or had negative comments about breastfeeding.

    Breastfeeding didn’t work for us. CSection, N would root and latch but not suck, I had to hand express and then try pumping but after 3 days he’d still not got the hang of it, despite an ‘expert’ at the hospital trying to help. I was expecting to be marched off to the pumping room but it wasn’t even mentioned. And noone checked for tongue tie – we didn’t know about it until months later when other breastfeeding mums mentioned it – and it was diagnosed at 2.5 years old. I’m quite bitter now that they didn’t check for this at birth. I think all babies should be checked. Most of my breastfeeding friends had to go to baby cafe for some help breastfeeding, but stuck at home unable to drive for 6 weeks didn’t let me get there. But after 3 days in hospital trying to breastfeed, we needed to get some milk into N, so ended up formula feeding. He had no issues sucking on bottles, and thrived on FF. I think it’s a mixed bag and totally depends on where you live as to what support is offered and what is available if you track it down.

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  4. I think there is a tendency, even amongst health professionals, to opt for formula. I do think more support is needed and we were lucky, in a way, to have a longer hospital stay to have access to that. I wouldn’t have had as much support at home.

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  5. I was a young mum when I had my first and determined to breastfeed not just for the health benefits but because I am lazy and didn;t want to be faffing around with bottles. I do think there are some mothers that spoil it for others, deliberatley flashing everything for all to see – there is no need for it with all the well designed tops out there now. I have fed 6 and seen some sights where even I have been shocked!

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    • Struggling to think of a sight that would shock me….. breasts are just breasts. Unless she’s wearing nipple tassels or suggestively pole dancing at the same time i can’t imagine why on earth you’d be shocked by someone nurturing a child. Get your head out of the gutter.

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  6. The one thing we never read and see is people talking about how natural it is to feed your child, it is okay for cows, cats, dogs etc to feed their babies from their own udders etc… but why can’t mothers be just as accepted x

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  7. I am lucky that I fed all 3 of mine and was fortunate not to need any support, nor did I experience any public negativity. However I extended breastfed my youngest, until he weaned of his own accord at about 3 and a half – because I perceived there to be negativity about feeding older children I didn’t tend to publicise the fact, which was easy as he only fed at bedtime the last year or so, but it is a shame that I felt that I would receive a negative response if I ‘owned up’.

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  8. You sit and say the shit breast feeders go through. But have you thought about the shit bottle feeders go through when they are judge exactly the same way. I tried to breast feed my child however it didn’t work out as it made me very Ill and i had to make the decision weather Breast was best or me being at my best was best for my child. You sit and slate bottle feeders non stop, but you are just as bad if not worse than these people that judge breast feeders. The only thing that should matter is how a child is fed. The advert you put up isn’t even about formula it’s about cereal as aptamil also do a wide range of cereals and baby rice, the adverts on telly are about follow on milk and they quite clearly state that breast feeding should be maintained for the first 6 months. You’re just looking for a reason to moan at people and make your self feel good. 😴😴😴

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    • Wow, someone is feeling very unsettled with their choices. Where have I ever slated bottle feeders? Facts are not attacks, I thought it was a well known fact that not breastfeeding came with risks. I suggest you try and overcome whatever problems you have and begin to feel happy with your choices.

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    • All formula companies use younger looking babies in their adverts to subvert the explicit message about maintaining bf for 6months. It’s subtle, but powerful – and it works. The only reason follow on milk was invented and marketed was to get around the law regarding the advertising of infant formula. The branding is very strong and the ads are manipulative and clever – constantly and consistently undermining breastfeeding while paying lip service to the idea that “breast is best”. Formula is a sub-standard, over priced product abd we should ALL be pressuring those companies to improve it and bring the cost down, INSTEAD of ploughing their money and energy into sabotaging the efforts of breastfeeding mothers.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The only thing i don’t agree with in this piece is that most women have to deal with being told to cover up. When it does happen, it makes headlines purely BECAUSE it’s unusual. Most of the time, people are encouraging and lovely! You do get the odd person who will look at you funny, but THEY are socially inept weirdoes. Even more rare for someone to actually approach and say something.bMy advice is to ignore other people and concentrate on your baby 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the article, very well written! I whole heartedly agree with you. 🙂

    And can readers please refrain from using “breast is best” because that is a marketing slogan.
    Breastmilk is the biological norm, not “best” because it can’t compete with anything as it is the biological norm – it is superior to all.

    And breastfeeding can be many things, you have pumping mothers, SNS mothers, you have top up mothers and so forth, but at the end of the day what is *important* is that the children are receiving breast milk.

    And if you are in a rut and struggling, please contact your local breast feeding group, find a Facebook group that is filled with BF mothers and experts etc.

    Even if you had to substitute, because lets face it, some women are, any feed of breast milk is better than none at all. Even if your child *only* had one drink a day that would still be better than none at all. Every teaspoon of breastmilk has 3,000,000 germ killing cells in it!! So if a baby gets even one tsp. a day, it is very valuable!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I ended up switching to formula with my first after the first three weeks after being threatened with her being admitted into hospital. I was still in agony after a very traumatic birth and spent a lot of those three weeks in tears, I thought I had to go along with what the midwives said as they knew better than me. However second time round breast feeding has been way better, I have a support network and never felt pressured to top up with formula etc (I would have refused if I had done), its been amazing 🙂 However I have to say I’ve only ever felt judged as a formula feeder, never as a breast feeder, all I’ve had breast feeding are smiles and supportive comments. I’ve never ever been asked to cover up or had people stare etc but I guess everyones journeys are different!

    Liked by 1 person

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