Research may show Breastfeeding is best but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy!
A recent study showed that women who wished to breastfeed their baby but couldn’t were more likely to suffer with postnatal depression!
I would like to share my experience with breastfeeding. When my first son was born I felt I had zero hours of sleep, engorged nipples and a fretful baby who couldn’t latch on!! Plus I couldn’t hand him over to anyone else to help me with the feeding process to give me a break! I found there was little support from any of the health professionals; they would just keep saying persevere. But my baby developed severe colic and the screaming increased, as he just wasn’t getting enough milk!
So eventually after much heartache I introduced formula feeding. He was a changed baby within days, his colic settled down and he was at last getting enough milk, and I could see exactly how much milk he had taken at each feed. We started to get into a routine with feeding and sleeping. Deep down I felt a failure! I hadn’t been able to breastfeed my baby! I then developed a short period of postnatal depression, which lasted for a few months.
Breastfeeding and Postnatal Depression
Breastfeeding has recently been back in the news again stating that it can halve the risk of postnatal depression. Except what they didn’t share was that they also found the group of women most at risk from postnatal depression were those who wanted to breastfeed but were unable to! They in fact were twice as likely to suffer from postnatal depression….
So although breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby it doesn’t mean it’s easy, as its bloody hard work and can cause a very emotional time for both Mum, Dad and even baby!!
What help and support is there?
There is help and support out there for Mums who desperately want to breastfeed their baby but you have to search for it. However, what support is there for Mums, who just can’t feed their baby? Very little, as I found, you are made to feel like a failure and many women are deeply affected by this. I feel the support and advice mums receive on breastfeeding can be a bit of a lottery depending on where you live.
Of course we want to present a positive and encouraging image of breastfeeding but there needs to be greater support and advice for those women who struggle with breastfeeding, so they don’t feel there is something wrong with them or that they have failed, like many mums are made to feel.
Support available can come in a variety of forms. Antinatal breastfeeding sessions led by professionals are available in some areas, as is access to ‘breastfeeding support’ midwives. Other internet forums (Breastfeeding Online) and telephone support (National Breastfeeding Support Helpline Tel: 03001 000210) are available through basic internet searches.
However access to breastfeeding services are not universal and at Parents and Co we strive to help and support parents and offer Courses focussed on all aspects of raising babies and young children. We also offer tailor made solutions and advice through our Consulting Service either in person or via phone, Skype or email. Please use the links above or get in touch with us if you would like to hear more about the support we can offer using this address:
So if you’re a Mum struggling with breastfeeding don’t feel you have failed if you have to feed formula to your baby, its about choice and learning we are all individuals and respond in different and unique ways.
Breastfeeding and Postnatal Depression don’t have to go together! Remember you are not alone and yes it really does get easier!!