Feeding feelings…


After Scarlett was born when I ventured out of the house, my huge worry was that when I fed her, people would judge me for breastfeeding in public. 
Now Holly’s been born and I’ve started to slowly venture out of the house, my huge worry is that when I feed her, people will judge me for bottle feeding.
One of the reasons I’m not planning on having a third child is because, I’ve run out of feeding worry options that I’ll assume people are judging me for! I honestly think I’d feel no less worried about it all if I bottle fed without my top on, at least then all bases of judgement can be covered!
Scarlett was early, so my milk supply took a little time to come through but not too long but then only lasted for three months. Holly was premature, so added to the extra amount of medication messing with my bodies natural rhythm, my milk supply took even longer and there isn’t sufficient to exclusively breastfeed. I’m therefore supplementing what I can provide with top ups of formula to ensure she’s gaining weight. Currently as a team we haven’t quite got her back up to her birth weight but we’re certainly getting there now we’ve started combination feeding.
Anyway, getting back to my initial point. It made me realise that it really isn’t breastfeeding mums vs bottle feeding mums as some of these forums and magazines often portray. As soon as you have a child, your choices are questioned, sometimes by the strangest of demographics. As Mums, we all want to do the best for our children. Feeding choices are made for a variety of reasons, all valid. Some desperately want to breastfeed, but for whatever reason can’t. Some really want to bottle feed and then end up breastfeeding. I read an interview recently with a mother who desperately wanted to bottle feed as she felt uncomfortable breastfeeding, but couldn’t afford the powder and necessary equipment and ended up breastfeeding, and not leaving the house unless she was sure she’d be back home before baby needed a feed. 
My personal take on the matter is that breastfeeding is evolutionarily what breasts are for, I am comfortable enough with my body to not fear feeding in front of people or outside of the home, and it’s significantly cheaper than formula (a reason I always put last because it feels less noble but is equally as valid!). At first, I was upset at the idea at not being able to feed. It felt like failure; not because I think choosing to bottle feed is wrong or a failure. But because I made my choice and couldn’t do it. I’d feel the same if I’d chosen to bottle feed and then bought the wrong equipment.
But whichever decision you make, going out past the safe sanctuary of home immediately opens you up to what the rest of the world thinks. And I’m not sure what it is about the decision on how you feed your child that convinces ‘the rest of the world’ that they have a say. Having now done both, there are several differences but that anxious feeling of being judged or feeling I need to justify my actions remains the same. So although we most likely can’t change the world, maybe us Mums could at least make it easier by being on each other’s side regardless of personal choice. After all, we’re all aiming for the same thing, a happy, healthy, well fed baby. How we do it is surely somewhat irrelevant? So whether it be by breast or by bottle, let’s all try and give each other a reassuring smile when we see our fellow comrades out and about! 
That’s right world, we may have baby sick in our hair, we may have odd shoes on, we may even have come to a cafe without our phone/keys or purse…but we’re out, we’re…well we’re worrying about 4,000 things at once, but we’re feeding our baby’s, and that is all that really matters!