It's World Breastfeeding Week this week. I feel I ought to post about it.
But I'm not sure I've a lot to say. A quick search of my blog reveals I've had plenty to say in the past, so why not now? I think I've finally made peace with myself for not breastfeeding James. I wrote all about why not in a post that seems a lifetime ago. I'd always planned to do a second breastfeeding story when I stopped breastfeeding Claudia. I may still do that. But for now we're still going and I'm about to become one of those lentil-knitting extended breastfeeding types, one of the so-called breastfeeding mafia that's making woman throughout the land feel bad because they didn't want to or couldn't breastfeed (according to recent articles in the Times and the Guardian anyway). How mad is that?
These articles have it all wrong. Breast is best, that fact is undeniable. But it's not breastfeeders who are making mothers feel guilty for not doing it, it's mothers themselves. No one tried to make me feel bad about not breastfeeding James, I did that all by myself. And disappointingly, no one has criticised me for my choice to continue breastfeeding Claudia (though as she wouldn't take a bottle I'm not sure whose choice it was), despite others' tales of tutting and remarks being made.
I'll say again, the support for breastfeeding in this country is woeful. There are pockets of great support, and that's fab. But for the majority, it simply isn't there. It wasn't there for me with James and to be honest it wasn't with Claudia either, it was just that she could do it and he couldn't.
Until support improves, breastfeeding rates won't. No fancy ad campaigns from the Department of Health is going to change that.