Is breast best?

Something that I found was a major contributing factor to my mood after my son was born was the struggle we faced with breast feeding.
In an ideal world, I would’ve loved to breast feed but it just wasn’t working. I’ve lost count of the numbers of times we would try, different positions, different methods of support, you name it, we tried it, but nothing worked. It would become a combination of frustration on both mine and W’s behalf, tears from me and both of us feeling empty – for different reasons!

We tried lactation consultants, workshops, YouTube videos, web research, physical checks; I was at a loss with how to move forward. I was constantly being told ‘Breast is Best,’ and it made me feel like I was failing W and failing as a mother.

It was only when, after 3 weeks, I eventually saw a midwife for a routine check up who after seeing the state I was in, said to me, ‘is breast best if it compromises your mental health?’

So is it?

I don’t know if I’m alone in believing its shocking that more healthcare professionals don’t support this statement. Was it really worth the pain, anguish and eventual suicide attempt to decide to move to formula?
I’m not saying that this was the only issue that triggered my Post Natal Depression, but it definitely didn’t help.

And, unfortunately, even when being treated acutely for this illness, I still ran into barrier after barrier that people have put up against using formula milk.
I was a patient at a Mother and Baby Unit at Royal Derby Hospital which is one of these ‘super hospitals’ with a specialist cancer unit and an amputee unit; from the outset it prides itself on innovation and excellent medical care. But, they promoted breast feeding to the extent that they would not advertise it, nor sell the products in their store.
This meant, for me – a mother who had just come to terms with formula feeding being ok, facing a 3 mile round trip walk (sometimes in the rain) to provide food for my son. Is that right?

I appreciate the reasons why breast feeding is promoted and I ultimately would prefer this option but when 10 to 15 women out of 100 suffer with mental health issues after birth, I’m not sure the NHS have got this right.

Worcestershire NHS Trust has the same policy, Tower Hamlets CCG, Royal Berkshire Hospital, Lancashire Teaching Hospital; the list could go on.

So, why are we belittling women for not being able to master a skill that we’re being told is vital for their baby or psychologically spinning it to them that they’re failing? Is that right?

I’d be really interested to hear others opinions…



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