Friday, 13 May 2016

Breastfeeding - Fighting The Stigma!

To Breast Or Not To Breast,
That Is The Question.

Breastfeeding otherwise known as nursing is when an infact latches on to the mother's breast and sucks in order to be fed with natural breast milk.

Breastfeeding is free unlike the powdered milk formula which you have to buy.
It is available anywhere, 24/7 meaning there is no making up of bottles and rewarming them.
Breast milk contains infection fighting white cells that fight against all infections.
Breast milk contains natural chemicals.
It can help prevent SIDS otherwise known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
It has the correct amount of nutrients the baby requires.
It is easily digestible unlike powdered formula which may have clumps due to the bottle not being shaken well enough.
It is the correct temperature unlike the powdered formula which needs to be checked precisely at the right temperature.
Breast milk may also protect against allergies and asthma.
And it may decrease the risk of obesity in later life.

Breastfeeding is a natural way to feed an infant but for Darcie Pennington she was made to feel it was unnatural.
She was humiliated and frowned up by medical professions who should have known better than anyone else that what Darcie was doing was NOT wrong.


Darcie's Interview:
One young mother's fight for rights!

What is your name and age?
Darcie Pennington age 18.

What is your son's name?

While visiting your grandmother who was hospitalised due to Cancer your son Vincent required feeding.
You began breastfeeding him.
How did the hospital staff respond to this?
On the 30th of april 2016, as a new young breastfeeding mum, I took my son vincent to visit my nan having just had an operation for eye cancer.
Whilst there I walked around trying to settle my son and realised he needed feeding.
I was then approached in a authoritarian manor by one of the nurses, who abruptly told me I needed to sit in a private room as I would make the other visitors feel uncomfortable.
I explained to the nurse that I am well within my legal rights to feed my son in the most natural form wherever and whenever he needed feeding and was shocked by her behaviour.
In my 3 months of being a breastfeeding mum I have fed vincent in shops, restaurants and cafes (all where males present) and have never received anything but kind words and compliments.
I went to sit down with my nan and feed my son, shaking and very upset, the nurse then came over and slammed the curtains shut, telling me that I couldn't feed him as there were males I would make feel uncomfortable.
I explained to the nurse that if he was uncomfortable he didn't need to watch and could close their own curtain but he already had his back to me and couldn't see anything anyway.
I asked her why I was being targeted and why she wasn't promoting breastfeeding as a nurse which I thought was strange.
She told me she was protecting my dignity, I then asked her if I was feeding my son a bottle would I receive the same treatment, to that she went on to say ''bottle feeding isn't sexual'' appalled by this comment I asked her what she found sexual about a baby having something to eat from his mum.
I then had another nurse come over to me and felt very confronted and harassed.
My mother (also visiting with me) and I  quickly got our belongings and left.
I was in a state of shock as being a new mum it's awfully daunting feeding in a public place but I am trying to normalise breastfeeding as its a very natural thing to do, if I wasn't so passionate and they had confronted someone who was new to breastfeeding they could have made them feel like they weren't doing the right thing and to me that is appalling behaviour.
I felt the right thing would to have been to tell the man and his partner to close their curtain as I was well within my rights, but instead I got bombarded and made to feel very insecure and my son was extremely unsettled on our departure from the hospital.

How did the Deputy Chief Nurse respond to your complaint?
I hope my complaint gets taken seriously and nobody else has to suffer the humiliation the hospital nurses have put me and my family through, they also treat my nan with disrespect and didn't seem to care about her feelings and wishes. They were very rude and I will hopefully never have to visit again.
The nurse has since rang me and set up a meeting with the hospital to train staff up on the rights of breastfeeding mothers which I am so happy about.
But I gave the nurse so many opportunities to stand up for me instead and I just got humiliated and belittled.
I accept her apology but it won't change what happened.
If I were a new mum and I hadn't complained, their reaction and attitude could've really made me switch to bottle and that's not OK.

Why did you personally choose breastfeeding over bottle feeding?
The reason I chose breastfeeding:
I never even considered formula.
I have breasts for a reason, for me it just felt natural.
It felt like the right thing to do, and through all the struggles we faced with latching and mastitis, it just made me want to feed more!
It's the best decision I made.

What advice would you give other breastfeeding mothers in similar situations?
If I had any advice for breastfeeding mums it would be; PERSEVERE!
Get help and support and take a stand. Let's normalise breastfeeding together.
I want to offer support and help to any mum wanting to breastfeed because it is daunting and it doesn't come as naturally as people say.
It's a skill that needs to be learnt by mother and baby, but it is worth everything!
When I look down at my son feeding and know I've sustained his life longer than the 9 months of pregnancy, just from my own body, it's the biggest achievement I have ever made.


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