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!

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