Why are women made to feel so guilty when they don’t want to breastfeed their babies?

Having had a career in nursing, before becoming a fitness and performance coach, I am very aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, but also believe that women should be able to make an informed decision about bottle or breast.

I breastfed all three of my children, weaning them off the bedtime feed at around nine months old.

There was no pressure to breastfeed, encouragement yes, but we weren’t made to feel guilty or  bad mothers if we chose not to.

I’ve felt strongly about this topic for some time. Having listened to so many distraught young mothers telling me how they were not enjoying breastfeeding and wanting to stop, but afraid to tell the midwife/ health visitor or clinic how they were ‘really’ feeling. 

So today I’m sharing my thoughts on this somewhat controversial subject.

There’s no shortage of articles in the big tabloids who have all shared articles on breastfeeding and continue to do so. 

One headline I came across recently in The Mail: ‘It’s MEN’S fault that women stop breastfeeding!’

They want their wives back says Jeanette Kupfermann who’s seen it first hand as an NCT teacher.

An interesting article, with many reasons why women give up breastfeeding, ranging from jealous insensitive husbands, to the pressures of returning to work.

Nowhere in the article does it say, not every mother wants to breastfeed, some mothers just DON’T LIKE IT. 

Actually, Ms Kupferman does mention how Queen Victoria,who had a very active sexual relationship with Prince Albert found breastfeeding and children repellent… forget the sex, perhaps she just didn’t want to breastfeed!

I did smile as I read that ‘things do not immediately go back to normal’, physically or emotionally, after a baby is born.

The reality is, ‘things’ will never be the same, ‘things’ will be different, there’s another person in the house, who is totally reliant on the parent s, the feeling of this dependency can sometimes  feel totally overwhelming… but that’s for another day.

Then another article in The Times:

Sisters, please, stop bickering about breastfeeding,

By Deborah Ross.

I’m with Ms. Ross on this one, the bottom line being, ‘choices are choices and each to their own’

But please, NCT, midwives and health visitors, don’t make new mums feel guilty, when they make an informed decision to choose a bottle instead of the breast or when to stop breastfeeding. 

Childbirth can be one of the biggest life changing experiences for the whole family, and stressful for many. 

These new mothers need to feel supported not alienated.

I’d love to hear your experiences of breastfeeding.