Bottle feeding mums: have you ever felt judged for not breastfeeding your baby?
If so, you're far from alone, according to a survey commissioned by Channel Mum (recently launched by parenting website Netmums) which unearthed that seven in 10 (69%) of bottle-feeding mothers say they have been judged negatively, with four in 10 (41%) saying they feel they have 'failed as a mum and failed their child' because they do not breastfeed.
What's more, it revealed that the popularity of brelfies (breastfeeding selfies posted on social media sites) is contributing to bottle-feeding mothers feeling 'judged at every turn'.
Sky News reports:
"Mothers have now launched a "brelfie backlash" campaign on social media to encourage more tolerance for the choices parents make. Instead of posing breastfeeding their baby, they are posting pictures with a one-word slogan on how feeding their child, and the judgement around it, has made them feel."
Four in 10 (39%) mums say they have received negative looks and comments from strangers when bottle-feeding their baby, and one fifth have been attacked on social media for not breastfeeding. Of those surveyed, 16% say they have endured cruel comments from other mothers.
Here's what one mum told me today about her thoughts on the matter:
"I've definitely felt judged for not breastfeeding my children, which just makes you feel worse when you are already judging yourself a 'failure' for not being able to breastfeed. Without going into the details I had every intention of breastfeeding both of my boys and was gutted when I couldn't. The judgement felt worse with my first but with my second I was much more confident, so was less bothered by what others had to say. I used to get on the defensive and give the full story of why I was having to use a bottle, but now I just think it's no one's business and no one has a right to judge - whether they know the full story or not."
"The brelfie thing hasn't made me feel any more judged, just disappointed that there is still so much judgement from both sides. We should be supporting each other, not judging or attacking."
Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of Netmums said:
"Putting new mums under 'bressure' benefits no one and swapping abusing mums who breastfeed in public for mums who bottle-feed isn't progress. Most mothers desperately want to breastfeed - but not all can. What should be a personal choice is being turned into a political issue with mums feeling judged at every turn. Those mums who do choose to bottle-feed - for whatever reason - must not be made to feel second class citizens."
You can join the brelfie backlash by searching for #bressure on Twitter.
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