I first posted this over on my Instagram grid, but I wanted to keep it a bit more visible here as it is so important. This subject is often a little contentious but having received a few messages over the last few months on the subject and seen the 'fed is best' statement mentioned repeatedly on social media recently, I thought I'd share my viewpoint.
I believe that the phrase 'fed is best' and the thinking behind it can be damaging when it is used, as it often is, as a metaphorical sticking plaster for a mother who has found herself considering ending her breastfeeding journey before she wanted to - 'Don't worry, don't feel sad. You tried, but at the end of the day, fed is best'. For that mother, who desperately wants breastfeeding to work out and knows that this is how she wants to feed her baby, this is just not helpful. Instead, we could be saying - 'I'm so sorry that you are struggling, can I help you find support, whatever you choose to do?'.
I remember being in hospital after my son was born, I was struggling with latching him and a member of the midwifery support team was observing me attempting to feed. I was emotional, sleep deprived and awash with hormones, I desperately wanted him to just latch and feed, to prove that I wasn't failing at something I so desperately wanted to do. She saw my tears and said 'Shall I just grab a bottle of formula to try him on'. She didn't ask if I'd like to try expressing, to speak to the infant feeding team, or to a specialist breastfeeding supporter (he was my first and I had no idea that either existed at the time), I begged her to just let me keep trying. Eventually I was grateful to be helped by a nurse who showed me how to feed him lying down, with him snuggled into my belly and he finally latched this way. It was the beginning of a wonderful (although not always easy) journey, but I am very aware that I am lucky, and that the story sadly does not always end this way.
I consider myself a breastfeeding advocate, I want to help empower mothers who want to breastfeed and normalise breastfeeding so that mums will never have to feel shame. However, I will NEVER judge or shame a mum who, for any reason, has decided that formula is the best option for her baby, or has been let down by medical professionals in her aim to breastfeed. I simply hope that in the future, every mother who WANTS to breastfeed has access to good, specialist and up to date breastfeeding support to help her feel informed and be able to have the journey she wants 💜 To help achieve this, I donate a portion of profits from my breastfeeding products to the amazing Breastfeeding Network charity, whose team of wonderful trained volunteers provide support and advice to breastfeeding mums at all stages of their journey.
You can explore my breastfeeding collection HERE