Why breast isn’t always best for your baby as explored by our blogger San
When my little girl Radha was born I was immediately advised to latch her on to my breast to encourage the milk to start flowing. The first few days the breasts release something called Colostrum. This is a form of milk (slightly yellow and thicker than milk) which contains very high antibodies and proteins and is low in fat. It is considered vital for the baby. I had just had an emergency C-section so was unable to rest her against my belly to feed her and the fact she wouldn’t latch on didn’t help. In the end we had to feed her ready-made formula milk.
There’s currently an on-going campaign to promote breast feeding amongst pregnant women. Infact I had to go to a breast feeding class while I was pregnant which was interesting but I noticed there was this great pressure to breastfeed your baby. I remember the tutor saying that if you had formula milk and bottles lying around in your kitchen, then you weren’t serious about breast feeding your child. I don’t agree with this. There are many benefits to breastfeeding but for some this isn’t possible (i.e. due to medical reasons or out of choice).
Over the past few months I’ve heard many stories from my friends about their experiences with this, especially when the health visitor comes to visit the day after you return home from hospital.
When I arrived home from hospital, a breast feeding advisor came to my flat and sat there telling me about the benefits of breast feeding such as its very cost effective, you can freeze it for longer, it has more antibodies than formula milk and so on. She sat there and watched as Radha tried to latch on but by that point she had been using a bottle and her suction was strong and painful.
Even though I was in pain, the advisor forced me to keep her on. In the end, I was red and sore but was told to keep feeding her this way. She also insisted I had to feed or express every two hours (even during the night) otherwise the milk would stop. I just didn’t think this was the best option for me and my baby. I could see Radha wasn’t happy either, so I kept her on the formula milk. I have found formula milk to be great. Yes it’s expensive but she’s happy and she’s healthy so I have no regrets. I do occasionally try to breast feed her when she wants it, but she uses it as a comforting tool rather than for milk.
No matter how much pressure you might face, the final choice is yours to make. After all it’s your baby, your body and only you can judge what is best for your baby.