To breastfeed or to formula feed… the debate has sparked again with the arrival of World Breastfeeding Week 2018 from 1 till 8 August.
The slogan this year is – Foundation of Life. I think Ubuntu Baba explained it best “The aim of World Breastfeeding Week is certainly not to make any Mom feel guilty for her decisions on whether or not she should breastfeed her baby, or about the outcome of her breastfeeding journey, but rather to recognize that we all have an important role to play in ensuring the growth, development and survival of children around the world.”
I myself was unable to breastfeed my eldest, so she was formula fed and is currently a healthy 9 year old! My youngest two (2.5y and 1y olds) was breastfed until about 8 months each and then we switched over to formula.
Although science has shown us the nutritional value of breastmilk over formula, there is still a lot of stigma’s out there. For example: If baby was born by c-section your milk won’t come in, if baby is cluster-feeding your milk is low in nutrition and needs to be supplemented, etc. All of this is untrue however and by empowering ourselves with knowledge and offering support to other mothers we can overcome these rumours.
All of that said however I am a believer that you, as a Mom, need to do what is best for your baby and your family. No one else can or should make that decision for you – if you should breastfeed or formula feed. Each of our circumstances are different and unique and what works for one family (or Mom and Baby) won’t necessarily work for another. I do however think that every Mom should give breastfeeding a try before rejecting the idea, you might be pleasantly surprised!
So why didn’t I breastfeed my eldest, but I breastfed her siblings? And why only till 8 months?
With Clarése I was young, uneducated about breastfeeding, lived in a small town and had no support whatsoever (my Mom never breastfed me). I was made to believe by the local Clinic Sister that my baby was underweight and that my milk wasn’t nutritional enough for her. So I switched over to formula a week after she was born. The formula caused her to become bloated and constipated, which in turn led to me having to give my 2 week old baby medication. I still cringe at the thought. But still her weight was below average in her Growth Book. How I wish I could bump into that Clinic Sister one day so I can show her how my “underfed” baby has “grown”. Clarése is turning 10 this year but only weighs 22kgs. This may sound shocking but if you see her in real life – she is the perfect picture of health! She is still a petite little thing, just as she was all those years ago but she is the healthiest of all 3 of my children.
With Thalia I was determined to give breastfeeding another go, so I read up and researched throughout my pregnancy. This time round I had the support of my husband, family and friends and it was one of the most amazing things I have done in my life! When Thalia went to a Day Mother at 6 months old I pumped breastmilk for her during the day to be bottle fed at school and then I breastfed her at home. Unfortunately after 2 months my supply dwindled and I made the call to supplement with formula – as that was the best decision for our family at the time.
My breastfeeding journey with Melea however was different and although I had everyone’s support it was a bit of a struggle. She had colic and reflux and would unlatch a few times during a feed and cry out in pain (from the reflux and colic), this was very upsetting for both of us and I wanted to throw in the towel a few times. But I kept pushing through as I knew breastmilk was best for her, switching to formula would only affect her colic and reflux at that stage. I also started pumping as soon as she went to the Day Mother at 6 months and once again my supply dropped. I tried power pumping and even a few natural herbs people recommended but it just didn’t work and I realised it is time to switch over to formula.
There is no right or wrong here – we are all Mothers and we do the best we can every day to provide, nurture and develop our children.
If you breastfeed, if you formula feed – I SALUTE YOU! You are an amazing mother and your little one loves you to the ends of this universe!
Love, Janine xxx
PS: In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week we are offering you discount on Nursing Wear and Nursing Accessories (Nursing Covers, etc.). View what is on offer here – https://liaandreese.co.za/product-category/popular-products/