Feeding your baby and mental healthAug 02, 2021
Feeding is a big topic within the parenting world. Everyone has a different perspective on what they believe it best to do. There is a narrative that tells parent’s that fed is best and unfortunately women will push their mental health to breaking point because they feel as though there are no other options.
However, we want you to know
It is ok to breast feed
It is ok to formula feed
It is ok to combo feed
It is ok if you exclusively pump
It is ok if your child needs a feeding tube
Whatever feeding method your child may need or you may need is alright. There are ways to get support and be mindful of your own mental well-being.
We won’t be discussing feeding methods specifically or what formula to buy, how to latch. This is all about mental health and feeding!
Feeding & Mental Health
Breastfeeding, however, we would argue all feeding methods, have a bi-directional relationship with mental health. What does this mean?! This means that they significantly impact one another.
They can both increase and decrease your risk of developing a perinatal mood disorder
Ultimately, it means what feeding method you end up using, if it wasn’t the one you had hoped for or wanted to use, you can be more a risk for experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety. Alternatively, if the method you are using was the one that you had hoped for and it goes well, you are at a decreased risk for developing anxiety or depression. Hence the bi-directional relationship.
It is important to know that feelings of shame and/or guilt can often be associated with feeding methods. Often this is both an internal narrative of I had wanted this to be different and external messaging from friends, family, culture, or society. It is important to pay attention to both internal and external messages that we receive to know what may be impacting our mental health during our feeding journey.
When feeding is hard what can I do?
Reminders to yourself that it is ok to use what feeding method you must or choose to use
Recognize that feeding is a skill with ups and downs
Explore resources within your community
Explore feeding options
It is ok to feel as though it is hard
We both had our own challenges with feeding. Caitlin experienced months of anxiety. Constant worries if her son was getting enough milk, weighing before and after feeds, frustration, multiple visits to the lactation consultant. She found comfort in finding out that other moms struggling in this way too.
Chelsea had a preemie and breastfeeding was struggle and turns out it wasn’t on the table for very long. Chelsea was an exclusively pumping, tube feeding mama (until he figured out how to take a bottle) turned to formula mama.
Know you aren’t alone in your struggles and we see you mamas
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