Founder of 'Don't Judge Just Feed' Support Network. Mother, Matenity Nurse, Wife, Writer.
Holly Leppard founded her 'Don't Judge Just Feed' campaign and support network in 2016 as a direct result of the PND she suffered from her inability to breastfeed. In writing about her feeding journey she was shocked at the amount of women who contacted to thank her for speaking out on this topic.
"It made me realise how common these emotions are, and how the breastfeeding journey is challenging at best, devastating at worst. I sadly had a lot of backlash from people who didn't understand my viewpoint or relate to my experience. I was disgusted at the very blinkered attitude of the very pro-breastfeeding representatives and organisations. They just could not sympathise with - or believe - the reasons a mother may rely on a bottle-feeding method, in particular, formula feeding. This is when I realised I needed to be a voice for mother's and babies who depend on this method of nutrition."
Holly is invited to participate in the APPG on Infant Feeding and Inequalities. She writes and collaborates with a variety of parenting and opinion sites. Currently writing a book on Breastfeeding Grief.
It was playing on my mind for months, I was enraged at the cold, dehumanising term so I wanted to check I wasn't misinterpreting the word or overreacting. Out came my trusty Oxford Dictionary which provided me with the following definition:
Breastfeeders should celebrate, be proud and feel comfortable feeding in public. Formula feeders should celebrate, be proud and feel comfortable feeding in public. We need to stop the comparisons; every woman, every baby is different and their needs are individual. Only with that common awareness will the guilt, shame and embarrassment stop. Only then will we be able to focus on what matters, feeding and loving your baby without distractions.
Many of us have tried and failed to breastfeed. Some of us have a condition that means we were unable to breastfeed. Nearly all of us have the emotional scars and the inner grief of being excluded from weeks like these... they reaffirm the fact that we are providing our baby with food deemed inferior to breastmilk.
After reading an absolutely thoughtless post on social media from a mother who regularly uploads picture-perfect images of her life, I felt the need to write. To offload the frustration and borderline anger that was sparked in me when reading her ill-informed and blinkered take on infant feeding.
I know that you want the best for your precious baby. You've spent nine gruelling months providing a safe and comfortable home for the life you and your partner created together. The physical changes, aches and pains and the emotional rollercoaster ride is a challenge for even the most straightforward of pregnancies.
We are by no means anti-breastfeeding or being discriminatory by not featuring breastfeeding pictures in our campaign; we are just acutely aware of how these can affect some people who seek out our network. Our movement and support is for bottle-feeders, there is nothing for breastfeeders to feel offended about.