Often I’ll read something and it will point out the downsides of decisions I’ve made as a parent.
This use to really upset me.
Just yesterday I was ready about co-sleeping, SIDS and breastfeeding. Now one of the benefits of breastfeeding is a lower rate of SIDS. This isn’t a benefit. Breastfeeding is the biological norm, so the lower rate of SIDS should in fact be the baseline and formula feeding would increase the risk. So by formula feeding my first baby I increased the risk of SIDS.
Now if someone had told me this when she was a baby I would have heard it as a personal attack. I was doing the best I could, I couldn’t change the fact that she was formula fed once I started, how dare someone insinuate I was risking my baby’s life.
It was when she was around 8 months old and we were thinking about a second baby it dawned on me. Statistics are not about making mothers feel bad. Not in the slightest. They’re a warning to those who are making decisions about feeding methods.
Perhaps if on the can of formula it had said that by giving my infant a bottle I was risking – SIDS, obesity, diabetes, allergies, childhood cancers etc. Perhaps if it had said that babies who were formula fed were hospitalized more then the breast fed counterparts. If I had of been told the real risks I would have fought harder to breastfeed. I really truly believed that formula was just as good.
Now we got lucky and my daughter was never sick as a baby and so far so good. But studying naturopathy and beginning with nutrition, I’ve once again had to accept that the decisions I made when she was a baby could have long lasting impacts and I have to accept that and own those choices. I don’t feel guilt, or anger, or sadness anymore, but I do accept my choices.
I read this article yesterday. My son was born at 35 weeks. It was life or death. If I haemoraged for an 8th time we may not have survived. But I still worry for his future. I don’t feel guilty about making the choice to deliver, however I accept the risks and going forward I watch for signs that he is struggling and will find him help if he needs it. So far so good.
It’s important to talk about risks vs benefits when we are making decisions, not to make anyone feel bad but to make sure their decisions are informed.
Because knowledge is power, and if we all have as much information about a choice as we can possibly get then ultimately the decision we make will be the absolute best for ourselves, our children and our situation. Sometimes that means doing what we need to do instead of what we want to do like waiting instead of inducing or cutting out caffeine instead of switching to formula.
But with all the information your decision will be one that is informed.
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