Breastfeeding Norfolk Blog

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The challenge of the bottle

Nikki Adlam

Mothers who breastfeed give themselves wholly to their babies; physically, mentally, hormonally as they give complete nurture in food and security day after day, and night after night. I will never stop being in awe of mums who do all this, plus have difficulties that have lasted for many weeks, maybe even since their babies’ births. These mums are simply amazing, and some would even think they defy all logic, wondering why on earth they continue to breastfeed when there is an alternative.  A lady I supported a few years back had been in such a position; painful feeds, worries about milk supply and baby’s weight, crying baby, sad mum, anxious dad, bouncy toddler. Everything chaotic. Everyone being so kind to her and the formula solution was uppermost in that extended kindness. I asked how she felt about offering formula and she responded that something strong inside her said she was the breastfeeding mum, not the bottle feeding mum.  I’ve only related that to illustrate that the decision to bottle feed as a top-up, or to replace one feed, or to switch entirely to bottle feeding is one that can be so painful emotionally for some mums, even when things are very tough with breastfeeding. Getting support as early as possible is so important. Identifying why the difficulty has arisen, and then overcoming that difficulty is so much simpler the earlier support arrives. We know that breastfeeding is normal, and the thing that classifies us as mammals is that we feed our young. Breastfeeding can be so hard in our culture for some. If you know anyone who would like some support, West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre drop-in sessions are held on Thursdays 10.00-12.00. Private consultations are also available.