Words can really hurt

I'm not sure how to start this post.

I've been playing it over and over in my head for the last couple of days after reading some really hurtful comments targeted at a fellow blogger.

Without naming names, someone from a pro breastfeeding group decided to attack him in a misinformed and kinda bizarre post. He was accused of promoting bottle feeding to make a sponsor happy ... except that he wasn't promoting anything and the company in question wasn't even associated with him via sponsorship or anything else.

What followed was a huge backlash between his fans and the pro-breast crowed. Reading through the comments i was feeling hurt on behalf of both sides and felt like a serious amount of compassion was lacking from some.

I didn't breastfeed.

It wasn't for lack of trying. In fact Agent M went the first two days of his little life without actually having a feed as i couldn't for love nor money get him to latch on and i wasn't allowed a bottle for him because "breast is best for baby" and that i would "confuse him when he did latch on". So tired and alone i struggled to get an unhappy, hungry baby to latch onto my very VERY painful boobs to no avail. I got no help and in the end after signing myself out AMA, i went home with my mum who introduced me to the wonders that were baby formula.

Now, i hear a lot of people all the time talk about how bottle feeding is the "easy" option. Personally for me, it wasn't easy. 

The guilt that went through me lasted for months. I felt i failed my child cause i couldn't give him "the best start", i felt like i was going to be setting him back and having the midwife make me feel like an abuser for "giving up" definitely didn't help. But here is the thing ... Surely me not feeding him at all would be worse? Would i not have been a really shitty mum for starving him? I would have thought so.

I haven't seen any difference between him and his breastfed counterparts. I guarantee if you lined 10 kids up of the same ages you couldn't tell who was breast fed and who was given formula ... to think that it makes a noticeable difference is inane as every kid is different and unique in their own right, regardless of how they were fed.

Its been a well documented campaign that "breast is best" but surly that is a personal choice, and more so, surely fed is best?

I know mums that have started with breast and moved to bottle, i know some who have used both. I know mums that decided to stick with breast exclusively and some that decided bottle worked for them ... and whichever decision they choose, it has been their own business.

I think that as a mum you have to work out whats best for you as well as baby. If you can breastfeed then brilliant, go for it and you should be allowed to do so in any cafe or public area that is necessary. Its a natural thing that should be embraced. If bottle feeding is the way you go then brilliant, go for it and you should be allowed to do so without being made to feel like your doing your baby an injustice or are somehow not as good a parent.

Sometimes people with the best intentions can really hurt people. 

A bit of a personal moment here but 12 years ago tomorrow i experienced my first miscarriage.
It was a horrible time that i would happily forget but if forever embedded in my memories. I remember walking out of the Dr's room after being told i had miscarried my first ever pregnancy to be greeted with a sign in the waiting room declaring "You have what it takes to make a healthy baby" - an advert for breastfeeding.

I completely lost my mind. 

Like i had been holding onto it till i could go home and break down but this poster just destroyed me ... and my reaction clearly left an impression as when i went back a couple of days later it was removed.

The point is words hurt ... and people calling parents lazy for choosing to bottle feed is incredibly hurtful. especially like in this situation where the bloggers partner had to give up breastfeeding due to medical reasons. That wasn't her fault and DEFINITELY wasn't "lazy" of her, yet people felt it was OK to attack her and other mothers in similar situations.

Please no matter what method you use to feed your babies, remember that feeding them is best, breast or bottle, its your call and don't let anyone from either camp make you feel bad for being the best parent you can be!!

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And then the fun began...



  1. Thanks for writting this post. My wife also tried breastfeeding because of the big push from the NHS and NCT, but it didn't work out for us. It caused a lot of pain and distress for mum and baby. In an attempt to help her feel less guilt, I did some research on the evidence. I found a lot of the evidence behind Breast is Best is scientifically spurious (because it's tough to do a proper study as you can't randomise your groups) and only showing fairly insignifican differences.

    Today, with the advancements in formula and the safety of modern medicine, it really should be a choice for what's best for mum (and by extension baby too, as happy mum makes a happy baby). Breastfeeding can be very convenient and great, but for some mums, it just doesn't work out, and that should be fine too.

    It feels like breastfeeding women feel ashamed to feed in public, but bottle feeding parents feel ashamed because they use formula. Really would be nice if people could just leave both mums alone!

    Again, thanks for the post. Would also be nice if you could let me know who the bloke is as would be good to give him some support

  2. I couldn't agree more with this - thank you for sharing. Words like this about feeding, to me and others who I saw hurting but unable to speak up for themselves, are EXACTLY why I started my blog in the first place. Hear hear! #bloggerclubuk

  3. I felt my heart thump when I started reading this post....I actually thought you might have been talking about a post of mine! I posted my story a few months ago and it went a bit viral on Facebook, thousands of views and some v critical comments...it was a bit of a shock. But it did reach me that I have to get a thicker skin if I want to keep posting personal items!! My story is here:

    Great post! :)

  4. I have a lot of problems with the whole 'breast is best' movement - not the philosophy as such, because it's a nice concept, but the idea that shaming and blaming mothers into it is the way forward. Some woman in a supermarket even had a go at my partner for buying formula milk, so he turned around and said 'for all you know my daughter's mother could be dead' to which she didn't have a comeback. There are lots of reasons why people can't breastfeed, and we're so lucky that there are safe alternatives out there. So many babies died in the past from having to rely on inadequate breast milk supplies and / or subpar pap. #thetruthabout

  5. I am very much of the opinion that you should not judge another until you have walked a mile in their shoes. It sounds like whomever it was with the cruel words certainly hadn't done that. What a shame. #TheTruthAbout

  6. I couldn't agree more. It's absolute nonsense to make people feel bad about their choices around this. We all have our reasons and none of us are lazy - in fact I had a linker on The Truth about the other day who had written a post on her take on breast feeding being the lazy, convenient option because - no sterilising etc. The whole subject winds me up and I'm glad I'm out of those early days with my kids but I still get annoyed by a lot of stuff I read in the course of blog / social media life. Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout X

  7. This argument always seems to bring out the worst in people and I really hate reading the negativity around it. For some people breastfeeding is easy and right and the best thing for baby. For other it is hard or painful or actually not good for baby. With my 1st I struggled massively but managed to breastfeed for 7 mths. Second time around I had to stop at 7 weeks as it was a nightmare and LM had a temporary lactose intolerance which caused her immense pain. The guilt I felt was huge but she was healthier and happier on a lactose free formula. To be honest though it doesn't matter the reason, every mum should be free to feed their baby however is best for them without judgement xx

  8. Breast feeding didn't work out for me either and I know lots of other mums have the same issue. I don't know why this is still such a divided subject. Surely most mums try to breastfeed but when they can't they bottle feed, it's simple. It doesn't mean one is better than the other. My son has always been one of the healthiest kids around too. WEll done for writing this post and speaking out for someone. xx

  9. Agreed wholeheartedly. I've posted similar but regarding moms who bare it all actually making moms who nurse while covering themselves feel like they're doing it wrong. Oh yes, you can never win. Why are people so radical about such things? I love your phrase and am totally going to use it....Feeding your baby is best! The ONLY truth to the topic. You're awesome for tackling it. ;) #thetruthabout


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