The Other Side of World Breastfeeding Week.

When you google ‘HSE bottle feeding’ you are led to a page which tells you first and foremost, in no uncertain terms, that ‘Breast is best’ and I am not here to argue that.

The World Health Organisation guidelines are, and I quote, “to exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, they should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.”

I’ve always been an advocate of breastfeeding, long before I was ever pregnant or faced the possibility of breastfeeding myself. I believe that parents should be educated and supported and given all the resources they need to breastfeed for as long as they choose. I don’t think that we do enough here to support new parents with breastfeeding, or other postnatal issues, like anxiety, depression, loneliness, etc but that’s for another day.

At 40, I think I’ve met every possible combination of parents and babies – mother and father, single parents, two mothers, two fathers, adoptive parents, breastfed, extended breastfed, bottle fed by choice, bottle fed for other reasons, tube fed.

I don’t want to come across all “but when’s International Men’s day?” here, and it’s taken me a year to write this because of the potential fall out, but here it is.

I find World Breastfeeding Week tough.

I honestly think that breastfeeding is the most beautiful and natural thing in the world, and I also recognise that for some people it’s very difficult, but I tell you – when your ‘breastfeeding journey’ has not gone they way you wanted, it’s tough.

So, what’s my point? I’m not sure. Is it that there should be a bottle feeding week? Maybe just a day, not even a week, to show that people really mean it when they say ‘fed is best’ and ‘happy mum, happy baby’? Maybe.

Because no one celebrates bottle feeding. Even though parents of bottle fed (or indeed tube fed) babies are just doing their best for their child, just like the parents of breastfed babies.

Maybe they chose to bottle feed or couldn’t breastfeed, for whatever reason, maybe they tried really hard, maybe they got help from the midwives in the hospital, maybe they got a lactation consultant, maybe they cried for days when it didn’t work out, maybe every time they took out a bottle to feed their baby, in a group of new friends all breastfeeding theirs, they wanted the ground to open up and swallow them whole.

Maybe they breastfed as much and for as long as they could.

Maybe their baby turned out just fine.

Because nobody celebrates bottle feeding. Even though parents of bottle fed babies are doing their best for them, just like breastfed babies’ parents. Maybe they chose to bottle feed or maybe they couldn’t breastfeed, for whatever reason, maybe they tried really hard, maybe they got help from the midwives in the hospital, and a lactation consultant, but it just didn’t work out. Maybe every time they took out a bottle, to feed their baby, in their mother and baby groups they wanted the ground to open up and swallow them whole.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.