Monday, 17 January 2011

So, what now? I shouldn't have exclusively breastfed for six months?

Shoot me. Shoot me now.

Six whooole months I breastfed exclusively, doing what I thought was best for my child. Following NCT guidelines and let me tell you 'on demand' feeding, is what it says on the tin, pretty damn demanding indeed.

I stand by how I fed Kidder (you can read the whole story here) but I always have said that I am truly appalled at the guidance that is out there for new mothers and more generally, parents.

Oi, Dad, we're good to go!
Mums, typically, do the best that they can do for their children, often following guidance from baby/child health authorities and sometimes putting their own health and needs to one side to do the recommended 'best'.  It is absolutely no wonder at all that some Mums are confused senseless when it comes to making decisions surrounding how is best to raise their children.

The BMA, last week announced that the guidance new Mums have been given for the last ten years could just be a load of codswallop. Despite being advised both that babies cannot digest food efficiently before six months and that breast milk contains everything and all a baby needs up to the six month mark, we are now being told that we could have been doing our babies more harm than good. Are the babies we nursed exclusively for six months, under NHS guidance, really at risk of iron deficiency and food allergies. Am I honestly hearing this, reading this, right?

And how does that weigh up against all of the other positives that breast feeding is known for; aiding development of a baby's immune system, decreasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, providing your baby with the correct proportions of nutritional elements as and when their body needs it?

I, like many other mothers right now, just don't understand. 

Breast feeding was due a knock. It's been put on a pedestal for so, so long - somewhere where it simply shouldn't be. It shouldn't be seen as the 'best' or 'perfection' because sometimes it simply isn't; it's dependant on circumstance. Too much time and effort has been dedicated to making breast milk not just the natural, ideal food supply for your baby but an icon of perfect parenting; building women right up, so they can tear them down, watch them fall and leave them feeling inadequate. 

I still believe that all being well, breast should be the first feeding choice for mothers - this new 'study' is a response to the Breastfeeding Media Mafia. And you know what? They've asked for it.

My conclusion, we were right all along. You can follow guidance, guidelines and guide books, but deep down in your stomach you'll have a feeling, mother's intuition and it's not a myth. Follow it, let THAT guide you, because that is what's right for you and your baby. Let it be your way of telling the studies to swivel, you have an innate mothering manual inside of you that will almost always lead you to your own version of perfect parenting.
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