There’s a lot of chat about breast-feeding in the media at the moment. The UK’s pilot programme to give vouchers to breast-feeding mums has further fuelled the debate. Personally I think it’s a terrible idea. As a new mum there is pressure enough to breast-feed. All mums want what is best for their baby but sometimes it is just not either physically possible or practical. The idea of what in essence is a monetary incentive just puts more pressure on new mums.
I personally found breast-feeding hard to master. I am glad I persevered but it took a couple of drop-in classes, a visit from a lactation consultant and about 6-8 weeks for us to crack it. Even with number two it wasn’t second nature as some NCT teachers and midwives would have wide-eyed new mums believe.
I am sure the debate will always rage. It sounds like the UK scheme is not being roled out across the UK and is thankfully just a pilot. If you are pregnant or a new mum feeling the pressure from health professionals, friends, family and/or society then read this article in The Guardian by Tanya Gold which focus’s quite rightly on it being an individual choice.
My advice and sentiments about breast-feeding echo that of Ms Gold and the mums in this other Guardian article. Give it your best shot but don’t stress if it doesn’t come that naturally. Make use of the great help and advice available (UK and Australia) and don’t be put off by the initial pain. However, most importantly do what makes you happy. The most fundamental issue here, that I think gets lost in the breast versus bottle debate, is that your baby is fed. Don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure about which instrument is used to give it to him.