There are many ways to feed your infant children. Unfortunately, for every one way of feeding them, there are about half a million opinions on whether or not it is the right way. We do not subscribe to any ideology that heralds one way of parenting as the only way of parenting correctly. Usually this rigid self-imposed framework is filled with assumptions about the circumstances of others with reference to their choices. The only assumption we would like to make is that every parent is doing the best they can – whatever that looks like. So when it comes to feeding your little ones, the only expectation we have is that you do it!
For many mothers, the discovery that they are unable to breastfeed their children from birth can be a heartbreaking one. For others, it is a choice that favours their lifestyle, ethos or, simply their parenting preferences. We consider the freedom to choose how you parent something to be celebrated. Although it has oftentimes been the catalyst for contention and judgement, we really believe in the empowerment that follows subsequent to autonomy over every choice afforded to those who are making them. To be a parent is often to realise that one size does not fit all. As every parent navigates the journey as best they are able, we applaud the efforts of everyone who falls and gets back up, who chooses their kids’ best interests more times than they ever realised they’d be required to, and who is overall committed to the endeavour of shaping their kids into the best versions of themselves.
They say that when you make a plan, God laughs. Any parent who has come up with a birthing plan would probably agree. It is a hasty lesson in how drastically unhinged your picture of parenting is about to become. For women who are told they cannot breastfeed, the adjustment to the picture can really take an emotional toll. The guilt that can come as a consequence to this is par for the course, but not an accurate depiction of where blame should be given (the truth is, no one is at fault). We would urge you to seek help if you are feeling in any way debilitated by any feelings associated with guilt or failure. The inability to produce milk bears no indication of your worth as a mother or a person. We have included the number to mental health service, Lifeline below, if you are experiencing anything that resembles this train of thought.
For the women who were stripped of the luxury to be able to choose whether or not to breastfeed exclusively, readily available products that offer a nutritionally complete formula such as Aptamil Gold are a godsend. A low milk supply will often mean that both breastfeeding and pumping is out of the question. As a low milk supply might be due to a myriad of factors, including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, serious illnesses (and their consequential treatments), drug abuse, surgery and insufficient glandular tissue, the market for baby formula is an imperative one.
If the milk supply produced by the breasts is barely sufficient, it is not uncommon for parents to dual feed with both breast milk and formula. This is an incredibly typical and appropriate way to deliver the complete amount of nutrients that infant children require. Breast milk is credited with protecting infants against conditions like diarrhoea, ear infections, respiratory conditions and boosting their immune system generally, and is largely considered the best way to feed your children where possible. When it isn’t, and when both methods are preferred, baby formula is a perfectly acceptable alternative (and addition). Every formula that is on the market has undergone rigorous testing, been backed with extensive research to provide your children with a comprehensive sum of nutrition that meets the strict Australian Standards. Aptamil Gold boasts 40 years of research in immunity and growth to be able to offer your children the most nutritionally complete formula. The range includes Aptamil Gold+ Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 Pronutra Biotik (birth to toddler) that caters to their age and subsequent nutritional requirements. It is only suitable for children who do not have allergies or aversions to cow’s milk.
According to the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey, 96% of mothers initiated breastfeeding from the birth of their children, whereas when their babies were younger than four months and six months old, breastfeeding had dropped down to 39% and 15% respectively. Formula is not just a last resort for women who cannot produce their own milk for their children. For new mothers who are afforded every option in relation to feeding their infant children, it is particularly important to make clear that the decision not to breastfeed immediately may mean that you are not able to breastfeed at all. Expressing is delicate business, and your milk supply might be affected (ie. significantly reduced) by not expressing regularly. Mastitis can be a common outcome of not breastfeeding, whether it is by choice or because your little one is struggling to latch, and a very painful one at that. This occurs when your breasts become overfilled with milk, which can cause a blocked milk duct or for bacteria to enter the breast. Pumping is a common antidote to this, when feeding your kids from the breast is not always possible.
For all of the opinions on how to parent, no one can ever attest that it is always easy. There are plenty of resources available below to assist you with resources, support and education. Hats off to you, you’re doing one hell of a job.
Nutricia (Aptamil Gold) Careline: 1800 438 500
NSW: 1300 1300 52
VIC: 132 289
QLD and NT: 1300 301 300
SA: 1300 364 100
ACT: (02) 6287 3833
Ngala Parenting Line (WA): 1800 111 546
Tressilian Parent’s Help Line: 1300 272 736
Healthdirect: 1800 022 222
Lifeline: 131 114