Before I was pregnant and had my first antenatal appointment, I had never even thought about how I wanted to feed my baby. It just simply never crossed my mind, that this was a matter of choice -- to me breastfeeding was always part of it -- the next natural step after being pregnant and giving birth. I have breasts, so I will breastfeed.
On my first hospital appointment I was introduced to the whole debate about breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding. It all started with one simple question: "How are you planning on feeding baby?" I remember, my answer consisted of a few seconds of perplexed silence, before I blurted out: "With my breasts." The midwife was very happy and deemed this answer to be absolutely marvelous. She gave me the feeling I just said something extraordinary -- like I had done something right.
I was a bit bewildered but didn’t think too much of it until my pregnancy became public knowledge and people started asking me one hundred and one different questions and giving me a bucket load of good advice. One, I will always remember: "Get a big sterilizer, it’s so worth it for all the bottles.” Naturally I replied: "Oh no, I am going to breastfeed." Silence, followed by "Oh." I was also met with some curious, puzzled and even disgusted looks. Suddenly I had the feeling I had done something wrong. I had stepped into a minefield I had no idea existed. In my mind this all didn’t make sense, I wasn’t aware of the “breast is best” campaign or the low breastfeeding rates and the increase in bottle fed babies. This was simply not a thing in my world. But after those two encounters and many more like it, I too started feeling this man-made pressure creeping up inside me to have to make the ultimate right choice.
The debate is real
I have since witnessed many discussions, debates and even fights around this topic. Feeding our babies is something that comes with a lot of different emotions and an enormous amount of passion. Everybody wants to get it right, no mother wants to suck at feeding their child. However, how are we supposed to get it right, when on one hand we are labelled as extraordinary for just saying the words: “I want to breastfeed.” and in another situation are met with looks of disgust for the exact same statement? How can we not over think this and make this into one of the first big parenting decisions, when the whole world is constantly debating it?
Keep it simple - keep it natural - keep it on the down low
Maybe, we should just try a different approach for a while and see how that goes. Let’s not consider our feeding choices over and over again, let’s not try and get it right. Let’s pretend there is no right and no wrong - let’s pretend there is just one thing: the natural choice. Simple. We get pregnant, we grow a new precious life in our tummies, we give birth to our baby and we feed it. For this purpose we have breasts, which produce milk. Tailor made nutrients just for our little offspring. In some cases, this milk production doesn’t work or can’t be continued - so naturally we will turn to a bottle. Simple. Natural. Of course I understand, that in some cases there are a whole lot of different circumstances that need to be considered, but when you look at the facts and when you look at nature then this is exactly what it boils down to.
Let’s not make this in a bigger thing than it is. Let’s not over think it. Let’s not debate it and create all this pressure for everyone. Let’s just simply do, what we were meant to do - Love our babies and keep them safe and fed.