Advice is widely available in Rochdale from children's centres and midwives so mums can make the right decision for them. When I had my two children in the 90's (they are 17 and 19 now) I didn't think twice about breastfeeding, in fact I gave it little thought at all really.
I just assumed it would be easy to feed my babies.
I was wrong! When my daughter was born she cried all night, The midwives showed me how to breastfeed but she wouldn't latch on properly.
By morning we were both traumatized and I have never forgotten it. I didn't know if she was hungry and worried I wasn't producing anything to feed her with.
I know this is common and we both persevered, her still crying and me getting more sore. When we went home the health visitor and community midwife were full of advice about positions and other tips for getting her to latch on and after a few days we settled into a routine, it hadn't been easy though. I continued to be sore and tried all the pads and creams on the market.
I knew that breastfeeding was best for my baby, they get the most nutrients from mum, their immune system is better, research has shown it can help protect against allergies and asthma developing and can help prevent cot death. It's cheaper and less messing about with bottles and a hundred more great reasons I am sure. Research has shown now that it lowers the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
We bumbled along for 6 weeks, I then had to return to work. Already feeling guilty for leaving my baby, as all working mums do I made the momentous decision to bottle feed when I went to work. My daughter took a bottle straight away and her dad and grandma helped with feeds, which I thought was a great bonding plus for them all. My boobs swelled and became very sore.
Someone told me that cold cabbage leaves soothed the pain, can you believe I went to work with them stuffed down my bra, I must've smelled like cabbage soup.
After a few days all the pain and swelling disappeared and although I felt as though I had given up too easily my life at work was easier.
When my son was born I was determined to breastfeed for as long as I could, I had read that more calories were burned up when breastfeeding which can only be a good thing after being the size of a house whilst pregnant. This time it went like a dream and we were both very happy. He fitted into all our lives very easily and feeding was not the ordeal it had been first time around.
I fully expected to carry on feeding him myself but I developed mastitis one night, it was agony, burning and hot, I felt ill and couldn't feed. When the midwife came to see me the next day she advised me to try and feed through the pain as it would subside eventually.
I tried honestly I did but it was impossible and I gave up that very day and started him on the bottle, it was 6 weeks again .
There is no reason a new mum should feel guilty about bottle feeding, the formulas are much better these days in matching the nutrients provided in breast milk, and if it is the right decision there is less stress for mum, baby and everyone concerned.
Having a baby is so exciting and wonderful and every mum should be able to be well informed to make the right decision for her baby.
National Breastfeeding awareness Week runs from the 24th to 30th June. There will be a stand in Rochdale Library from noon to 1pm with experts on hand to give advice and tips, every mum should get as much information as possible about the advantages of breastfeeding and this is a great place to start.