Dear NHS…

Dear NHS,

I like you…alot! I am blessed to live in an area where you’re pretty good. I like my local doctors, getting an appointment is quite easy and I’ve stayed at my local hospital when I had gastro back in 2009 and I was treated with great care. I praise you, I tell everyone how the US need to have a system like we do and I’m blessed that when my son has had any issues, your healthcare system has always sorted it out.

So, you can imagine my dismay when I read this afternoon that the NHS is planning on “bribing” mother’s by offering them £200 shopping vouchers for breastfeeding. As if the debate between breast and formula is not tumultuous enough.

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I wanted to breastfeed and I had every intention of breastfeeding until my son was at least 6-8 months old. But as you know, life has a way of throwing us surprises. I had a perfect pregnancy but a hard labour. 40 hours after my waters broke, my son was born via emergency C section. I lost a lot of blood, I unfortunately didn’t have a transfusion and my extremely low haemoglobin levels affected my supply. My son had a great latch but there was just never enough for him. I fed for an hour on each side (every 2 hours) and then topped him up with formula. I battled with this for 6 weeks before I stopped. And the guilt ate at me. Because all you hear is “breast is best” and as a mother who couldn’t feed, you feel like you failed your child.

But I didn’t. I didn’t fail my son. I realised that a happy mom = a happy baby. And he is a happy toddler now and a smart and healthy one too. So by you rewarding mom’s who breastfeed, you’re not really thinking about the ones who can’t. The one’s you are sending a message to…a message that says “What you’re doing is not good enough.”

Please take that money and use it to help mom’s like me. Mom’s who want to feed, mom’s whose children have tongue tie, mom’s whose children don’t have a proper latch. Put that money towards recruiting specialists who can help us. Put more lactation consultants out there. Put more people in hospitals who are going to talk to mom’s about breastfeeding and tell them how difficult it can be.

As a first time mom everything is so new. We worry about our baby crying, our baby sleeping. Are they too hot, are they too cold. Why is their skin dry, why is their poo so yellow. Don’t make breastfeeding another one of those things we worry about. Support us!

You can raise a hat to mom’s who succesfully breastfeed but put your resources to those who can’t. I’ll like you even more!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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11 thoughts on “Dear NHS…

  1. Brilliant. I was lucky & could breastfeed. But at about 4 months old, exhausted, uncomfortable & sweating in the U.S. sum30 degree heatwave with a baby plastered to me I was the first of my mommy friends to start phasing in formula. It wasn’t until she was about 7 months old the guilt started to subside when one of my friends said the same to me; “happy mom = happy baby”. Can’t imagine how you must have felt having that decision taken away from you.
    The £200 angers me to as I don’t think women should be bribed. It’s about what’s right for you, your family & your baby. Pay for more specialists & educate women who could bf but choose not to for whatever reason so that they can make an informed decision either way. Pay to help those who want to be but can’t. I think it’s shocking Fromm he government.

  2. The idea is so ludicrous I wander how it’s even being considered. I just hope they come to their senses soon enough…reading through so much on the internet, I am yet to find a post that agrees with the idea.

  3. Thank you for this post. I am disgusted with this too, I was very ill after my son was born by Caesarian, 7 weeks early. I nearly died and was then on so much medication I couldn’t breast feed. My son was formula fed from day one and is now a happy and healthy six year old. Bribes like this are uncalled for – mother’s should have their choice and shouldn’t be shamed for it.x

    #BrilliantBlogposts

    • Sorry to hear that but glad your son is thriving (of course he would be, there’s nothing wrong with formula). I hope more people start to realise this. I’m not against breastfeeding, I’m just pro-choice xx

  4. Perfect post. I can’t tell you how much I regret the seven weeks spent hooked up to a breast pump trying desperately to produce enough milk for twins too tongue-tied to latch on and nurse. I would go for days between holding my own children, spending one hour out of every two enduring the bruising pain of the pump and the remaining time too ‘touched out’ to do much more than browse the internet and search for help. I am a much better mother without that pressure and my babies are doing just fine.

    • It’s insane the pressure we put on ourselves as mom’s…to me, the NHS considering paying mom’s who breastfeed is like rubbing salt in the wounds of those who can’t/won’t.

  5. I totally agree with you that the money should be used to help people breastfeed in the first place…so more experts, more midwives qualified to look for tongue tie/snip it. I wanted to breastfeed, like you ended up with an unplanned csection, and was told N had a good latch. But he just wouldn’t suck. So after 3 days of hand expressing we had to resort to formula. The support in hospital tried to help but nothing worked and once home it just worked to give him formula (pumping didn’t work for me either). I didn’t feel guilty because I knew I was doing the best for him and me. But now I’m annoyed because the hospital didn’t check for tongue tie – we only realised at 2.5 years old when nursery noticed it. Having more midwives checking this, and more breast feeding specialists on wards and able to go out to new mums would be more valuable.

    • Wow, even with all the checks babies have, no one picked up on it till 2 1/2? I agree with you though, new moms need more contact at home with midwives, nurses and lactation specialists! I hope the NHS/Government realise this.

  6. I couldn’t agree more, this financial incentive just puts more pressure on women and as with your experience, it is not always possible or in other cases something a mother wants to do. I agree happy mother-happy baby. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  7. I completely agree, and I was lucky enough to have a baby that took to breastfeeding easily. I know plenty of mums that struggled and couldn’t because of tongue ties, but persisted because of society, these same mums had similar problems with a bottle. Its a simple check that isn’t carried out, so maybe put the money towards training to check, recruiting and employing more midwives for the understaffing. This just widens the divide.

  8. Couldn’t agree more. That money should go towards supporting every single mum and baby with the care and attention they need to help with breastfeeding if they so wish, not as a bribe.
    #brilliantblogposts

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