Guest Post: Why I Chose to Breastfeed

I remember after finding out I was pregnant the first time around, wondering what it would feel like to hold my baby for the first time & breastfeed him/her. There was no doubt in my mind that I would breastfeed, in fact the idea of bottle or formula feeding had never entered my mind. Back then I was completely unaware of the number of mothers who chose not to breastfeed at all & the huge bottle/formula feeding industries.

All I knew was that breastfeeding was normal & the reason us women have breaststroke! At that time I had not heard anything negative about breastfeeding or a woman's ability to do so. As far as I was concerned you had your baby & fed it, simple as. My mother had breastfed all 4 of us until at least a year old, myself until around age 4. Looking back it may of been a bit naive of me to think it was so simple because after having completed my peer support training I realised that many women do struggle, particularly in the early days. Although I have also realised that in many cases these struggles could of been prevented with suffer & correct support (but that's a whole other story!) So until I was 38 weeks pregnant I had no reason to question my ability to breastfeed or how difficult it might be.

When I was 38 weeks pregnant my sister gave birth, 10 days before me, to her beautiful daughter Ava. She experienced extremely sore, cracked nipples but she persevered & went to a drop in and saw an expert. The problem (poor latch) was rectified in minutes & within a few days her nip less were as good as new. Although I was rather shocked at how painful her nipples looked I was not deterred because it actually taught me that any problems I may encounter could be fixed with the correct support.

Also because of the fact that bottle/formula feeding was alien to me I didn't have that little voice (which I believe many women do have, either in their head or from partner/ family etc) saying "it's fine if you can't breastfeed, formula feeding is ok". I'm very lucky to have such a supportive family, partner & partners family, none of whom ever quest I bed my decision to breastfeed when I was pregnant, or after I'd had the baby for that matter. None of my friends had children so none of them made any comments about feeding or attempted to influence me one way or the other.

Of course a woman's reason for choosing to breastfeed or formula feed is usually pretty complex with quite a few contributing factors involved. I know that my mother breastfeeding me and my siblings had a big influence on my decision but I believe the biggest factor which influenced me my lack of exposure to bottle/formula feeding industry & advocates of it. I know now, as a keen lactic interest, just how big & powerful the industries are & I feel almost lucky to have escaped their influence as well S's any advocates of it. Although I've never been one to follow the crowd, I have always followed my heart & instincts so perhaps I would of breastfed regardless. Maybe I was born to be a lactic it? I definitely know, like every other baby I was born to breastfeed & breastfeed I did. Now I'm breastfeeding my 2 children (Amelie 4 years 8 months & Elwood 21 months) and I hope in years to come Amelie will breastfeed her own children & Elwood will fully support breastfeeding & the cycle will continue.

This post is part of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt.