Breastfeeding. Although I have spent my entire working life trying to improve care for women who want to breastfeed, I still hesitate to write openly about it. This is because breastfeeding is such a fraught subject in the UK, often viewed as difficult to achieve, and sometimes seen as unnecessary because of a mistaken perception that formula milk is a close second best.
The take home message of any breastfeeding promo shouldn't seek to make mothers feel there is only one route. Simply put by Geraldine Miskin, author of Breastfeeding Made Easy, you have to bare in mind "it isn't always easy but all mums can do is their best, so they shouldn't be hard on themselves".
Minchin accurately predicted a backlash against honesty about the risks of not breastfeeding, and cites the huge vested interests of the baby milk industry, which has successfully divided mothers for decades, co-opting the phrase "breast is best" to create an aspirational ideal, and undermining breastmilk as the normal infant food for our species.
Someone has just handed you one of your internal organs and helpfully informed you that it is now your sole responsibility to keep this organ alive and breathing. Yes, you. You who have just recovered from major surgery/had twenty nine stitches in a delicate part of your anatomy. Good luck with that!
Those that can't or chose not to breastfeed feel guilty enough, do not add to it. There are many other factors that can have an influence on your baby's health and development that you can still play a part of and they are just as important - breastfeeding isn't the be all and end all of your baby's development...