WITH Breastfeeding Awareness Week drawing to a close, a Portsmouth midwife has given her advice for expectant or new mums.
Louise Broadbridge, an acting midwife from the city, has experience with both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding her two children.
She owns Let’s Talk Birth and Baby, antenatal classes with workshops across Hampshire including in Southsea, Fareham and Havant.
Louise said: ‘From the moment you announce your pregnancy you will receive a barrage of questions and advice on everything from home birth to caesarean section, breastfeeding to weaning.
‘The suggestions will be wide ranging and start from reasonable to down-right outrageous.
‘How you feed your baby is a question which you will likely give considerable thought to unless you have a firm opinion on either side. What you may not anticipate is the guilt and pressure you may feel to make one choice or the other.
‘Week's such as Breastfeeding Awareness usually bring out a long list of benefits for both you and your baby with very little mention of the challenges that breastfeeding brings.
‘And, let me tell you, it brings many challenges. From cracked nipples to cluster feeding, sleepless nights to anxiety over feeding in public.
‘However, what I find most frustrating is that many of these challenges come as such a shock to unsuspecting couples who have diligently attended their antenatal classes which have paid little attention to the tears of worry and frustration ahead.
‘The key to successful breastfeeding (if that is what you want to do) is to fully understand the physiology behind the process.
‘There are key drop of points in breastfeeding when changes are made to feeding choices because of worry about milk levels and baby’s need to feed so frequently. Understanding why this happens provides you with at least half of the solution.
‘However, it is also really important to listen to your instincts. Is breastfeeding what you really want to do? Are you giving up on breastfeeding for the right reasons?
‘I would like to stress that I have had two children and I breastfed my son for 3 weeks and my daughter for 2 years so I have experience of both methods and what I can say is this: both of these choices were right for me at the time.
‘The second time round I had more support and knowledge of the process and how it works and felt determined to breastfeed for no other reason than I wanted to.
‘How you feed your baby does not in any way determine how good you are as a parent.
‘Believe me, it is the next 20 years of choices you make that will determine that. Don't make this decision stop you from enjoying your baby.’
For more details on Louise’s workshops visit letstalkbirthandbaby.co.uk