“A Happy Mum is a Happy Bub” Simple, kind and true.
This was the advice given by my GP and has remained in the forefront of my mind as I continue to fight the stigma that bestows a new mum caught in society’s image of an ideal mother vs. reality.
For personal reasons I chose not to breastfeed. The scrutiny that I faced from complete strangers was open slaughter. I wasn’t allowed to be discharged from hospital until I had seen the resident psychologist and lactation consultant, whom gave me a mental health assessment and reasons as to why “breast is best”. Yeah sure, I get it, breast probably is best. But what about the mums with eating disorders? or the mums with some type of PTSD? What about the mums that just don’t have enough milk supply?
By the end of week two, mum found me in my room with tears rolling down my face, nursing bub as I powered through the pain of breastfeeding.
I felt like utter shit and a complete let down to my now two week old baby. I tried giving breastfeeding a crack but was utterly hopeless at it. It felt uncomfortable and forced. I couldn’t master the art of latching and became miserable dreading the minutes leading up to the next feed. By the end of week two, mum found me in my room with tears rolling down my face, nursing bub as I powered through the pain of breastfeeding. “Let’s go down the road and buy some formula” she gently suggested.
Introducing formula was the best move. My baby was satisfied and nourished and I no longer needed to dread feeding time. Finally, the two of us were able to use this time for precious bonding.
At our six-week postnatal check-up my GP raised the question of feeding. Nervously I stated my baby was formula-fed. Without an ounce of scrutiny my GP cheerfully replied with “A happy mum is a happy bub”
I walked out of my GP appointment a changed woman from the one who walked in. Together, let’s break the stigma of a formula-fed baby.
- By Natalie de Byl