I was inspired to write this having read an article in The Guardian Newspaper written by Lizzie Davies and her honesty about breast-feeding her baby as a first time mum. Sadly we both agree that if we wish to encourage more women to breast feed their babies then we have to stop sugar coating it and be honest about how difficult it can be in those early weeks rather than dressing it up and giving women any false impressions?
Here in the UK the statistics show that we have one of the lowest breast-feeding rates in the world?
We all understand the benefits of breast-feeding your baby but when we read that only 43% of mothers will still be breast-feeding by the time their babies reach 8 weeks and only 1% of babies are exclusively breast fed to 6 months as the World Health Organisation recommends then surely the writing is on the wall?
Pregnant women especially first time mums deserve to know that breast-feeding can be challenging both physically and mentally but the great news is that there is lots of support available to help you and your baby on your journey. Honesty also avoids women feeling like they have failed as a mother which can often lead to other issues such as low self-esteem and post-natal depression?
I am not for one minute suggesting that this is the case for everyone. There are many women who successfully breast-feed their babies and love it which is wonderful. My concern is for the women who really want to breast-feed but for whatever reason find it very difficult or in some cases impossible. We as health care professionals need to offer continued support and guidance but above all acceptance?
A well fed baby is a happy baby!