No doubt some of you read the article in U on Sunday, 26 February 2012 by Mia Freedman titled “Staying abreast of the situation”. Breast feeding has become, to summarise in her words “in some cases, the pendulum has swung too far, from positive encouragement to negative pressure and borderline bullying”.
I was only just speaking with a friend about it today when she raised an excellent point. As women, we are our own worst enemies.
As a soon to be mother, the information that is available from conception through to post natal care is daunting, confounding and simply down right confusing. I know that I had to ban myself from googling anything to do with pregnancy and rearing a child.
The Judgements run rife.
As far as I am concerned, each to their own. If you think you will be better off booking a caesarean rather than going through a natural delivery – do it. If you are unable to breast feed – don’t. If you think dummies are the best thing since sliced bread and use disposable nappies because it makes your life easier as a mother – go for it. Who are we to judge an individual situation, where each woman and child is different and each family situation is unique. Rather, we should be focusing our energy on supporting the decisions that woman make, defending the rights we fought for through the 20th century to make our own educated choices.
And when it comes down to it – if we lined up a random selection of adults would you be able to pick those who had been breastfeed or formulae fed, delivered drug free or emergency c-section? Let’s get real and just ignore the impossibly beautiful people like Gisele Bundchen who have made such extreme statements as there should be a ‘worldwide law’ forcing all mothers to breast feed for 6 months.
Yes, I completely agree that breast feeding is the optimum source of food for your newborn, however, mothers should not be made to feel like failures at one of the most vulnerable, yet exciting times in their lives. Judgements should be reserved for the parents who actually mistreat, harm and/or neglect their children. Not being able to breast feed is hardly a reason to ostracise a mother – rather it is a time for reassurance and support.
I do think that the Australian Breastfeeding Association has done an outstanding job of promoting ‘Breast is Best’, but let’s not get too carried away. Maybe they should add ‘but don’t panic if you can’t’.
Ladies, arm yourselves with a Plan A, Plan B and C (D-Z if necessary), trust your instincts and most importantly – surround yourself with people who acknowledge and respect your choices.
P.S. if any of the midwives at my hospital think they are going to manhandle my boobs they will be firmly told to back away from the breast until assistance is otherwise requested.