When I saw this on the news, my mouth dropped to the floor. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I'm all for the promotion of encouraging mothers to breast feed, but to encourage people for monetary reasons is so wrong and completely unethical. Everyone knows that 'breast is best', it is natures way of feeding your baby and has so many health benefits. That being said, if breast feeding is not working for you, it's not the end of the world.
I breast fed Darcie for six weeks. I had a very difficult and quite traumatic birth but I knew I wanted to give my girl the best start in life. An hour after I came round and finally met my little girl she latched on straight away, and all my midwives said how well she was doing, I of course was thrilled. However in the morning I knew that something wasn't quite right when she was trying to latch on, so got a midwife to check how we were feeding. She then realised that she wasn't latching on right like we first thought. We tried everything like different positions but nothing seemed to be working. Eventually I had to syringe the very little milk I had. I felt like a cow milking myself! But she was getting all that goodness. After three nights in hospital I was desperate to get home, but with Darcie not feeding, that needed to be sorted before I could get home. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed about this. Why couldn't I feed my own baby?! Eventually one midwife suggested a nipple shield. This was like a revelation, she latched on straight away and hey presto we were doing it!!! So with my nipple shield in hand they sent us home on the fourth evening.
Once home we carried on with the nipple shield, every feed I tried to get her to latch on without it but she just couldn't do it. The midwife encouraged me to not use the shield. At her first weigh in my 6lb 11oz little girl had dropped to 6lb. Normal, I was told but still a concern. They continued to monitor how I was feeding, trying everything to get her to latch on without the shield. But alas it didn't work. Eventually she had made it up to her birth weight again and by week five her weight stayed the same. Using a nipple shield enabled me to give my girl six weeks of breast milk, but without the natural closeness and contact my milk supply began to suffer. I tried to express, but I didn't even managed to get 1/2 an oz with an hour of expressing. A 2am phone call to my midwife was the tipping point for me. Darcie was uncontrollable, clearly hungry and nothing was happening even when using the shield. I sobbed and sobbed and said why was this so impossible that I couldn't feed my own baby. The midwife was amazing, as was all the support that I was provided, and she asked me in the morning to go and speak to someone face to face. So we did, I decided to move on to the bottle and almost wanted permission from my midwife, I know,sounds crazy now! But I so desperately wanted to do the right thing.
She was so lovely, she was the one who had sent me up to triage the day before Darcie was born. She didn't judge, she listened to everything that I had been through and our challenges (she had witnessed me feed before) and just smiled and said I had given her the best start to life and that it was completely fine to move onto the bottle because it clearly wasn't working and I was very distressed.
I felt a weight had been lifted. I wasn't the failure that I believed, and I knew that I had done the best I could do with "what god gave me", so to say.
Would I have been any different if £200 had been offered? No. Because let's face it formula costs around £8-10 per tin, which ruffly lasts around a week, so surely there is already a monetary incentive? Plus I would of been mortified if someone had given me £200 for doing something that is so natural.
More money needs to go into providing education to expectant mums about the benefits of breast feeding and also support for those struggling. What's more how about using the money to provide us with more midwives that we are apparently in short supply according to this weeks newspapers.
I do not normally post anything like this and give my opinions but this really did puzzle me as to why it would be a good idea. I feel it could be more damaging than helpful, I almost feel like it's discriminating against women who simply can not breast feed and make them out to be 'failures'.
What do my readers think? I have yet to find someone with anything positive to say about this...
Mummy B xoxox