This evening I saw the most beautiful image of a baby breastfeeding. It was in pastels I think – the kind of picture that jumps out from your Facebook feed. Just stunning.
It was posted with the words… “If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an EXCUSE”.
I am so incensed by the tainting of that image that I’m struggling to express the many levels on which it is wrong:
- If breastfeeding isn’t important to you, then why would you bother making excuses? It’s not a priority for you. No need to justify.
- If breastfeeding is important to you and it doesn’t work out, then whatever it was that you couldn’t handle, be it mental or physical is a reason, not an excuse. No need to justify.
- The percentage of women in the UK who give up breastfeeding before they wanted to is high. So chances are they’ve tried bloody hard to make it work – probably harder than some women who manage to breastfeed for longer. Nothing they tried worked. No need to justify.
- Some women actually can’t breastfeed. Yes, we know that it’s a tiny number. But it doesn’t matter how important it is to them, they won’t “find a way” to feed their baby themselves. No need to justify.
- Some women could have breastfed, but needed support. Sometimes the right support isn’t forthcoming even when you know to ask for it. In that scenario, you may as well be physically unable to breastfeed. No need to justify.
The bottom line is, there is never any need to justify. We all know that breastfeeding has benefits for your baby and breastfeeding supporters will do everything they can to help you succeed. But if you don’t feel it’s right for you, or you hoped it would be and it doesn’t work out then so be it. It is your decision and your right to make that decision without guilt or fear of judgement.