Give Boobs A Chance: Encouraging Breastfeeding In Young Parents 76 Comments


This is part of a series on the resources and services needed by young parents to improve opportunities, job prospects and outcomes. For the rest of the series, click here

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The Facts

The UK’s breastfeeding rates are the worst in the world. Approximately 81% of UK mums initiate breastfeeding, but mothers under the age of 20 are the least likely to do so. Even more worryingly, only 7% of UK mums under 20 breastfeed to six months (Infant Feeding Survey 2005), compared to 34% of all UK mums. The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative  has helped to boost breastfeeding rates in recent years, but rates still remain low across the whole UK, particularly for young parents.

The links between breastfeeding and positive outcomes are well-documented; I don’t need to run through them here. In fact, studies have found that most young mums are very much aware of the health and social benefits of breastmilk for their baby – which leads me onto why young parents are less likely to breastfeed.

 

Why are young mums less likely to breastfeed?

So we’ve established that it’s not a lack of understanding about the health benefits. I’ve written in the Huffington Post about leaflets and posters advertising the benefits of breastfeeding to be largely obsolete in favour of good quality antenatal education and postnatal support, and I stand by that. However, I do think that promotion has to play a part in encouraging breastfeeding in young parents; but that perhaps leaflets aren’t the right way to do it.

First, let’s look at the social factors influencing breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is more likely to a) be attempted and b) continue successfully, if the mother has seen people around her breastfeeding. Say we’re classifying young mums as mothers under 20; today’s young mums will largely have been born in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Breastfeeding rates were at an even lower level in the 1990s; breastfeeding only started to enjoy a resurgence towards 2005, thanks in part to the Unicef Baby Friendly initiative.

So if young mums were formula fed themselves, and presumably any siblings were formula fed too, formula has been established as the norm. It’s easy to think “Formula feeding is what we do in this family – I can’t break the norm”. Practical breastfeeding support is vital to continued success; the new mum won’t have that 24/7 breastfeeding expertise, as there is no-one in the family to provide it.

Social attitudes of HCPs also plays a part. It’s so important that midwives, HCAs, lactation consultants and the like are as supportive of young mums trying to foster a breastfeeding relationship as they are of any other mother. I know I’m not the only person who noticed a significant disparity in the breastfeeding support I received at 19 compared to a mum almost twice my age in hospital.

Much of the knowledge mums-to-be receive about breastfeeding comes from antenatal classes. With young mums the least likely group to attend these classes, it stands to reason that lack of information about technique and what to expect plays a large part in our bad breastfeeding rates for mums under 20.

We also need to consider the lives young women live outside of parenting. If mums feel under pressure to return to school, college or university as quickly as possible, it’s not conducive to long-term breastfeeding. Young mums working in zero-hours contract jobs, or those who haven’t been working long enough to qualify for paid maternity leave, may also feel the need to rush back to work as soon as possible, so unsupportive work/education arrangements also hamper positive breastfeeding relationships.

 

What can we do to change that?

The positive news is that, the way I see it, we can change all of this. Hope is not lost, and it’s always worth fighting to help young mums achieve the positive breastfeeding experiences they want.

Social attitudes are the first area for improvement, and this can be achieved in a number of ways. In almost all media representation of young parents, we see bottle-feeding – in fictional representations as well as factual. By having young parents on soaps and similar fictional TV shows and movies breastfeeding, we take steps towards normalising it. I remember the midwife at my booking-in being surprised that I wanted to breastfeed – I think we take it as read that the automatic choice for young mums will be formula.

The language we use is so loaded, so it’s important for HCPs to approach breastfeeding from a position of normality. “Will you be breastfeeding?” is only a tiny change from “Will you try to breastfeed?”, but the connotations are huge. The former doesn’t load the concept of breastfeeding with any notions of potential failure. Better postnatal practical support is needed for all mums who want to breastfeed, but particularly young mums who probably don’t have friends around them who have breastfed their own babies.

Encouraging young mums to attend antenatal classes will help, but I’ve got a post entirely dedicated to that coming soon – I’ll pop a link here when it goes live.

Making life more breastfeeding-friendly could be the difficult one, but I think that ties into changing the way our culture sees motherhood – particularly young motherhood – entirely. Not to say it’s a pointless exercise, but I think there are things we can do in the short-term that will achieve quicker results. For now, it would be a start for all places of education to have creche facilities on-site or nearby, and for teachers, lecturers and auxiliary staff to be aware and supportive of a breastfeeding relationship between a young mother and her child.

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Of course, this is simplistic. It’s hard to fit a full theoretical action plan into 1000 words without boring everyone to sleep (and I think half of you will already be dozing off by now!). It’s something I care deeply about – partly because of my own experience and partly because of what I’ve read of others’ experiences, proving that right now, breastfeeding support for young parents simply isn’t good enough.

Some people are confident and secure in their choice that they don’t want to breastfeed, and that’s fine.

What’s not fine is that there are some young mums out there who would try it, if they weren’t put off by negative language and social stigma. It’s not fine that there are some young mums who want to do it, but don’t get the practical or emotional support to maintain it. It’s not fine that the young mums who do manage to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship, feel forced into ending it early because of what other people will say.

We can’t criticise young mums for poor breastfeeding rates. Having read about all of the obstacles placed in their way, can you blame them?


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76 thoughts on “Give Boobs A Chance: Encouraging Breastfeeding In Young Parents

  • Emma

    I think breasfeeding is such a personal one and one that causes much angst. I think you are right in that we need to make general life more breastfeeding friendly and we also need to put more support in place. As someone who was unable to breastfeed first time round, I found that there was very little support. However, second time round was very different and much more positive 🙂 #KCACOLS

  • Fran @ Whinge Whinge Wine

    There is probably a bit of it that is generational – statistically speaking, young mums are likely to have mothers who were young themselves and probably bottle fed their children too – and therefore there is little familial support there which I think can be so important! Having a baby is so overwhelming even when you’re in your 20s or 30s and have planned everything to a strict schedule so I can’t imagine how much your life must shift from being a relatively carefree teen to being a mother particularly if it isn’t planned for. Lots of support is needed – and a lot of normalising it. Every tv show seems to show babies being bottle fed unless they’re making a point about breastfeeding it seems. It needs to change!

  • OddHogg

    In my family breast feeding is the norm, but with my in laws they all bottle fed (either formula or expressed). It definitely made me more self conscious about breast feeding around them. With my own family I will no cover when I feed but at the in laws I feel the need to cover. I would actually rather feed out in a restaurant than in front of them, which is really saying something 8 months in! #kcacols

  • Squirmy Popple

    I agree – there are lots of potential barriers to breastfeeding for young mums (and mums in general). I think the biggest thing that would help increase breastfeeding rates across the board would be for more employers to offer enhanced maternity leave packages, which would allow women to stay off work for longer. I work for an employer that offers good maternity benefits, which allowed me to take 12 months’ mat leave – which made it so much easier to continue breastfeeding (still going at 17 months). I know not all employers can offer that, but I wouldn’t have continued breastfeeding if I’d had to go back to work at 6 months or earlier, since the breast pump didn’t really work for me. #KCACOLS

  • Mackenzie Glanville

    well done for writing this and sharing it! I agree the stigma is hard for young mums and makes it harder for them to be comfortable with breast feeding. I think it is hard to if their partners are young too, as boys tend to be a bit more immature about boobs and think they are there solely for their pleasure (not all boys of course). Young girls just want to fit in and breast feeding can isolate them a lot in social situations too, we really need to educate not only the parents to be but the wider community too #KCACOLS

  • Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    That’s really interesting. I think it’s a personal choice to breastfeed. But if it wasn’t made into such a big thing, perhaps it would be that much easier to do. I think that postnatal ward staff also play a huge part in whether or not mums go on to breastfeed. #KCACOLS

  • Louise

    I love this! I think a lot more education is needed for the younger mums, I think often they bottle feed because they still want their lives back quickly and the freedom, not realising that this can still be achieved with breastfeeding. My MIL is constantly saying to me she can’t believe how well I am doing breastfeeding for 8 months so far because she wasn’t able to, I don’t see it as doing well, I just see it as a normal thing to do! #KCACOLS

  • Crummy Mummy

    I have to say there are a lot of celebrities championing breastfeeding these days – I think their selfies are only a good thing! I breastfed my two for 21 months each and only stopped last time because I’m pregnant again – I’ve loved the experience #KCACOLS

  • Lisa (theirishbabyfairy)

    Excellent article, we definitely need to be more supportive of young mothers breastfeeding. I’m in Ireland and we have the exact same issues. I think more breastfeeding on TV, especially shows targeted at younger people, is a great idea. Going to share this post on my facebook page for my blog. #KCACOLS

  • Madeline (This Glorious Life)

    I think you make some really valid points here. I think there needs to be a lot more information in general about breastfeeding. We’re fed all the benefits of it without being given that much information about the realities of it, and I feel like we all need to be more honest and open about all aspects of breastfeeding to reassure mothers that what they’re experiencing is normal. x #KCACOLS

  • Devon Mama

    I never realised until you said it that we do always see bottle feeding on the tv etc – I just kinda of ignored it until then! It does make such a big difference though as you subconsciously take it in! I also think there should be more education on expressing and how you can deal with breastfeeding – I had a work colleague recently who was 20 and had a baby and didn’t want to breastfeed because she didn’t want to ruin her boobs and wanted to have the flexibility to continue to go out and socialise. Breastfeeding in public is still hard to do and I think at that age it’s even harder if you’re still in the going out for the night stage! Thanks for such a well thought out post. #kcacols

  • Tracey

    As a teen mum (I had a baby at 18 and 19) I fully intended to breastfeed even though I came from a family that all bottle fed. Unfortunately I found it really painful and was not producing enough milk, the professionals were not helpful at all and just told me I wasn’t holding the baby right. This was nearly 20 years ago and I hope there is a lot more support for young mums now.

  • Sara

    Totally agree with you, although I would challenge the fact that a lot of the knowledge on breastfeeding that mums-to-be comes from antenatal classes, as unfortunately, support and information AFTER the birth continues to be crucial, and it seems to be lacking or not good enough in some many examples. And totally totally agree with you on the choice of language. I do teach antenatal classes and when I ask people what their expectations are around feeding, everyone, without fail, will answer, “I’ll TRY and breastfeed”. We have a long way to change this! You’re spot on. Well done! #KCACOLS x

  • One Messy Mama

    I would hope that the statistics have changed since that 2005 survey. Being 11 almost 12 years have past! It would be lovely if all new mothers had lactation/breastfeeding consultants or some for of help available to them! Education is the key, isn’t it! #KCACOLS

  • Angela Watling

    A really interesting post. I knew UK stats on breastfeeding were bad, but I didn’t realise they were so much worse for the under 20s age group. You make some really interesting points. I think one of the most interesting / influential is about media and TV portrayal of breastfeeding. I can see that from a TV perspective, bottle feeding will be easier to film. But it’s does inadvertently make that seem the norm. #KCACOLS

  • ERFmama

    Such an important topic and post!! The BF rates in the UK are horrid and this really needs to change!
    I have noticed that the BF help seems to get better – but I still think that there are *far too few* hospitals that are awarded ‘UNICEF Baby Friendly’ and this is really important!
    BF advice and help should start before the birth – it should be covered better as part of the pregnancy not something that is brought up fro the first time “10min” after you have just given birth.

  • Sharon Parry

    This is a really well-argued post about an important subject. It is a complex picture and it’s difficult to generalise but I agree that role models are vital as well as an acceptance of breast feeding as the norm. I was an older Mum (30 years old when I had my first child) and breast feeding was a challenge but turned into the most rewarding experience – this was in the late 1990s. It is a tradgedy that young mothers are missing out on this. #KCACOLS

  • Adventures of Mummy and Me

    Interesting and well researched post! Although not a young mum myself, I wasn’t supported in the best way when starting to feed baby, and despite my best efforts had to give up after three months of failed attempts at breastfeeding. It didn’t help that the first 5 days in NICU I wasn’t allowed to bf, so he was bottle fed there, then he lost alot of weight and had to be supported with a “fatty formula”. So all in all I didn’t have the best feeding experience. I few other women on my ward I made friends with had similar experiences and ended up giving up after only a few weeks. If people aren’t supported enough, they will give up as it’s the easier option. #KCACOLS

  • kristin mccarthy

    I felt more strongly about breastfeeding with my first…in fact so strongly that when depression, anxiety and health issues hit I was devastated that the breastfeeding was a mess. The expectations to breastfeed and love every second of it made me feel like a shit mom- even more of a shit mom to be precise. Baby two, and then identical twins- I let the expectation and pressure go and it was all much easier. The twins got a bit of both and all was pumped. My middle was strictly breastfed for six months. They ALL turned out smart and beautiful and SUPER healthy.

  • Sarah @tortoisehappy.com

    It baffles me when people have an aversion to breast feeding before baby has even arrived. I don’t have children, but it just seems the obvious thing to do. It makes it more difficult to see people’s aversion to it, a bit like when someone who naturally understands maths tries to teach someone who doesn’t, and therefore more difficult to change peoples’ mindsets. I’ll try and be more positive about breast feeding rather than negative about dismissing breast feeding, I think this is a more helpful apporach to take 🙂

    #KCACOLS

  • Tooting Mama

    There are still some outdated attitudes to breastfeeding. Society just needs to grow up and get to grips with the fact this is the norm, and it’s natural. But you are right, it’s not portrayed in the media, women being asked to cover up in cafes and restaurants. I think your suggestions are all great, and the right support is essential.

    And, here in France, well there are some very interesting comments I’ve read on social media about doctors advising new mums to stop breast feeding because breasts are for the husbands, breast feeding reduces sensitivity of the breasts. Only in France!

  • The Mum Reviews

    It is such a shame that people are still feeling a social stigma around breastfeeding and not getting the support they need. Breastfeeding is difficult at any age or social station and you are right that the right attitudes and words from health professionals and others can really help. There definitely needs to be more support for young parents when they are in education too. #kcacols

  • Sonia

    I breast fed all of mine despite it being painful with all at first, especially my third, who had a tongue tie and literally chewed my nipple to shreds! I suffered with mastitis and thrush in my breast but still continued. People thought I was mad to continue and I actually felt bad saying that I was going to carry on because I knew other mums who had stopped or not breast fed at all and thought they would think I was acting like some sort of ‘superior breastfeeding earth mother’!! If mothers realised the benefits of being able to sleep better and feeding baby the antibodies to the cold that you are suffering from so baby doesn’t get it, they might consider persevering more. #KCACOLS

  • Topfivemum

    I think your message is perfect. You’ve highlighted the benefits but not rammed it down people’s throat – TRY IT. I couldn’t agree more. As someone unable to breast feed (I had a double mastectomy before having my two kids) I had no choice to do formula. I’d give anything to have been had the choice to give it a go. #KCACOLS

  • Jane Taylor Maflingo

    Really interesting post. I hadn’t realised the rates were so low. I think it would help if there were specialist nurses on hand in hospitals after giving birth to help with this as the midwives on duty are often overstretched….Encouragement in the early days is vital. I breast fed both of mine but it was tough because when my milk came in I thought I would explode because they were so painful and engorged. Having an encouraging midwife really helped. Plus, in 2002 and 2006 when I had my girls there seemed to be a real push to encourage it. Thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

  • Brandi Puga with Big Fit Fam

    I am definitely pro breastfeeding and feel that here in the US there are more and more women who simply don’t want to take the time or effort and so go with formula. Women who try desperately but cannot breastfeed i totally understand, but when they have the choice i cannot fathom why they wouln’t want that bond, that connection, not to mention all the physical benefits to mom and baby…. #KCACOLS

  • Now I am mum

    Interesting post and some thought provoking points. I think there are still cultural issues around acceptance of breastfeeding feeding in public and at times you can feel very awkward as a result, not helped by the older generation having been so used to formula. For younger mums who are perhaps less self-assured it would be very easy to be put off breastfeeding. Perhaps there is also an element of not wanting their body to be perceived in that way by others. #kcacols

  • Jules Pondering Parenthood

    I think there needs to be an improvement in support for breastfeeding for all mums, not just young ones. I attended NCT classes but found the breastfeeding session to be far too simplistic and rose tinted – it didn’t prepare me for any of the issues I would have and as a result I’m currently exclusively expressing (for five months so far) as I couldn’t get on feeding my baby from the breast.

  • Carolina Twin Mom / Mary Peterson

    It is both intriguing and disturbing to me that young moms would not be supported and encouraged to breastfeed as older moms. I was fortunate to not be strong-armed into nursing by my twins’ pediatrician, but she and my OBs were gently coaxing me in that direction. While I *do* think it’s a personal decision, I also think it’s critical to arm parents with the right facts and resources. #KCACOLS

  • Kate Eccles

    Breastfeeding needs normalising and talking about. Once established it is fantastic.The main reason I’m still breastfeeding at 11 months is it is far more convenient for me. I can feed anywhere and don’t have to remember to take anything with me! More support is needed for all mothers in those early days but especially young mums. Great post #KCACOLS

  • Relentlessly Purple

    I tried breastfeeding my eldest when I had at her at 19 and I really wanted to stick to it but due to being combi-fed for weight gain it became easier to swap to bottle and admittedly I had more support when swapping to bottle than I did with persevering with breast. I do hope more young mums try to stick it out with breastfeeding and people try to encourage it a bit more x #KCACOLS

  • Ellamentalmama

    Such an important topic. Good on you for raising it. Sounds like there needs to be much more research into it with young mums so we can really find out what would help address those barriers you talk about. And, like for all mums, more practical support once the baby arrives! #KCACOLS

  • Alana - Burnished Chaos

    I agree there needs to be more support, I had no idea how painful it could be first time round and what was normal etc. I persevered but can totally understand why a lot of people don’t. Second time round I had all sorts of problems and I was offered support and shown a new hold that I hadn’t considered before and shown how to hand express to help my milk come in properly, without this support I would have been on bottle within a week as baby just wasn’t getting enough.
    #KCACOLS

  • alifeinpracticeblog.com

    I wasn’t a young mum (26 for my 1st and 29 for my 2nd) but I definitely noticed a difference in how I was treated. I almost felt the first time, especially as my baby spent a few days in nicu, that is was just easier for the midwives to ignore my need for help breastfeeding and just keep topping my baby up with formula. Looking back, I feel I was incredibly let down. x #kcacols

  • Jenny

    It does sound like there should be more encouragement nationally for young mothers to breastfeed. I was 21 when i was pregnant with my first, which felt extremely young, but wasn’t that young really. I breastfed and bottle fed too, but the midwives and health visitors really pushed it, and again with my second. They were forceful to the point one of my pregnant colleagues asked for another midwife because hers had upset by being rude and unsupportive in her choice to bottlefeed. I think that there should be more things on TV, like you say, showing younger mothers breastfeeding and more help in general.

    #KCACOLS
    (http://accidentalhipstermum.com)

  • wendy

    Maddy this is a really brilliant post, so well researched and you make some very valid points. I was 22 when I had Leo and out of all my friends of a similar age who have had kids I am the only one who breastfed. I don’t know the reasons why none of my friends did it but perhaps they just didn’t get the support or maybe they just didn’t want to. I am now 25 and breastfeeding my second baby and I must say I have had brilliant support from the midwives and post natal team here, unfortunately it is not like that everywhere. I definitely think people just assume young mums will bottle feed, I know lots of people were shocked when I had Leo and I chose to breastfeed. Fab post hun, will be sharing xx #kcacols

  • Andrea @Topsy Turvy Tribe

    I totally agree that something needs to change and breast feeding needs to be normalized. Having a baby is hard enough. In my experience there really isn’t enough support out there for breast feeding mums of all ages let alone for young mums. A great positive post, I hope that you inspire a young mum to give breast feeding a chance #KCACOLS

  • Mummy TamTam

    I am so surprised to hear that UK has bad breastfeeding rates. I am from France, and I thought it was worse there… Many women go back to work usually 3 months after giving birth, so not many of them continue to breastfeed. It is definitely important to encourage women of all ages to breastfeed. #KCACOLS

  • chocolateandwineandillbefine

    This is interesting, I thought young mums would be happy for the free way to feed more than anything else – formula is so expensive. I have to say though, that I struggled with breastfeeding my first. I tried so so hard but it was hard and painful and she just wouldn;t fed for so long. And as I was not warned how difficult it actually was, I was just told it was best, no alterative was given so I was convinced it was the natural option, no questions asked. But then I had so many problems I assumed I was doing it wrong. I think had I had warning I was going to find it difficult I would have been fine (with my second, breastfeeding was the easiest thing in the world, but I just couldn’t feed my first past 5 months as the health visitor basically banned it). Also, I don’t know whether health visitors are all the same, but mine never fought for breastfeeding. I tried so hard, but my first baby had so many problems, I was told I had to formula feed end of. With my second, he breastfed perfectly, but because he didn’t follow the right stupid lines on his stupid charts they forced me to supplement with a number of formula feeds every day. It seems that no matter how hard I tried, they were forcing formula upon me from birth. I imagine for some, if they are struggling, and the health visitors are forcing an easy way out they will take it. Lots needs to change! #KCACOLS

  • Becky @ Educating Roversi

    I’ve got a (kind of) step sister who had a baby 2 months ago. She breastfed and was doing amazing – seriously, she’d never even held a baby before, let alone thought about how she’d feed one. At only 21 she had no one in the same situation. She recently gave up breastfeeding, because other people convinced her that it would be better as the baby would settle better. I have to admit, she was going SO well that I was disappointed. The baby doesn’t settle any better and now she/ paying out for formula when she’s barely got two penny’s to run together. If only she hadn’t been swayed by people who had no understanding #KCACOLS

  • Acorn Books

    You make some really interesting and we’ll thought outhat points. I found that having access to good support was most beneficial for me to keep breastfeeding. The La Leche League mother to mother groups were invaluable, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them helping me over those first hurdles!
    #KCACOLS

  • Twicemicrowaved tea

    I had no idea that figures were so low for young mothers. In my case too, most of my information regarding breastfeeding came from attending NCT antenatal classes, and the price of these may be prohibitive to some young pregnant women (although I understand they offer some reduced rates). Younger people may also may be unaware of these classes- I know I only became aware of the NCT through other pregnant friends. As I remember, the free NHS classes barely touched on feeding. #kcacols

  • Mum in Brum

    This is really interesting. I remember feeling the total opposite whilst pregnant and was totally bombarded with constant information about the benefits by midwives, GPs etc…so much so that I felt like a bit of a failure when it didn’t work out for us. There was also an assumption that breastfeeding is a piece of cake and personally I might have felt better had they asked me if I was going to give it a try, rather than present it as something that was a given – but I suppose everyone’s experience is different. I didn’t attend any antenatal classes myself. That’s interesting to hear that young mums might not receive the same encouragement, I agree that returning back to education, work etc after a short time probably puts a lot of younger mums off. #KCACOLS

  • Cal at Family Makes

    The stats are really quite shocking, for young Mums and also for all UK mums. The reasons you give are very valid, for the younger mums and also, again, could apply to all. More normalisation, more support, and also I think more information about how you can have a life and still breastfeed (ie, expressing, mixed feeding etc) would be really helpful. Well done for raising awareness. #KCACOLS

  • Kerry

    I loved breastfeeding, regardless of knowing it was best for my babies at the time, I loved the closeness and connection it gave us. You can’t describe or explain that feeling in words, every mother should get to feel it. #KCACOLS

  • Pen

    Breastfeeding is such a supercharged subject. We are criticised for formula feeding our babies, we are shamed for breastfeeding in public, people think we are strange if we continue to breastfeed beyond 6 months and that we are somehow perverting our babies if we continue to feed them until they are two (as I did and received more than a few comments). Pen x #KCACOLS

  • Someone's Mum (Danielle)

    I tried desperately to breastfeed but I just couldn’t build supply. I think we also need to acknowledge that sometimes there are huge obstacles to breast-feeding. I was offered drugs to stimulate milk supply but I didn’t really want to do that. I was also left feeling very judged by some people, and even professionals, who were of the opinion I ‘didn’t try hard enough’.

    I pumped and fed every other hour for 8 weeks to up supply. I was close to exhaustion and a nervous breakdown by the end and I did try as hard as I could. #KCACOLS

  • Poppy Reflects

    Very interesting and it always shocks me how low the rate is of breastfeeding in this country compared to other cultures as it certainly isn’t for lack of the information on health benefits as you say.

    I personally believe treating young parents as a target market could be effective. If you imagine how we would sell a product to a certain age group, socioeconomic background etc and really sell points that may appeal to them. For example, offering people an easy to read chart on the cost of formula feeding vs breastfeeding and what they could afford per week, month year etc instead with the money, I.e new shoes, makeup, holiday etc. Another possible idea could be to emphasise how effective breastfeeding can be in losing weight as a lot of mums are image conscious and many don’t know how many calories it can burn a day to feed your baby – again imagery of how much food, how much exercise would be needed in equivalent.

    I think it is great that your post is raising awareness of a lot of problems faced by younger mums and their babies.

    x #KCACOLS

    • Maddy Post author

      Thanks for your lovely comment. I totally agree; putting emphasis on the positives for baby AND mummy will go a long way to encouraging more young mums to give breastfeeding a go! x

  • Nadia - ScandiMummy

    Yes to this. I was 31 when I became a mother, so not considered that young, but I do know from breastfeeding groups that it’s hard to find good support as a young mum when it comes to breastfeeding. Well done for putting this out there. #KCACOLS

    Nadia – Scandimummy x

  • Cathryn

    My friend had her first baby aged 16 and she breastfed her up until she was 2, she then went on to breastfeed her second child, who was born when she was 19. She was a total inspiration for when I had my little girl (I’m too old to be classed as young parent (although 23 is not old!) as I had no one around me who had breastfed other than her There is a lot of pressure on women to breastfeed which is unnecessary, fed is best but women should be empowered by other women rather than brought down. If you want to breastfed then go ahead (I would always recommend it!, I’ve had such a wonderful experience).

  • Maria

    You raise some good points here but I think there needs to be a lot more information out there about the realities of breastfeeding that need to be addressed too. You hear about the benefits of it and how good it is for baby but you rarely see anything (certainly in the media anyway) about how difficult breastfeeding can be. I struggled massively with it when I had my eldest and I just never even thought it would be an issue I would face. I assumed you popped them on the breast and that was it – away you went. The reality for me was anything but that and I felt so much guilt about not being able to breastfeed properly. #KCACOLS

  • Sarah - arthurwears

    Well done for trying to raise awareness for such an important issue. I was always intending to breastfeed when I had a baby, I’d read about the benefits and I really do believe in them and at 22 months we are still going (although it is harder to admit that these days with so many opinions) – the hospital where I gave birth were very supportive but my friend had a baby a few miles away in a city center hospital where it was assumed she would formula feed and every other woman on the ward who had given birth also formula fed and there was no support in place or advice if you wondered about other options. I think all hospitals and birth centres should be doing all they can to encourage, inform and support. I wasn’t given the ‘routine’ breastfeeding talk from my midwife, they didn’t have time for the extended appointment where it is discussed so I went without. I really had no idea what I was doing and if I hadn’t had to stay on the ward a few days (where my husband went and fetched someone to help me at practically every single feed) I would have found it incredibly hard to keep going. Every nurse had a difference opinion and advice though which was confusing too! #kcacols

  • Geraldine

    I hate that woman can be chastised either way depending on how they choose to feed their children. Yes breastfeeding is better but formula is so close to the relevant thing and the gap is closing all the time. I struggled to breastfeed after a c section so used formula. I’d hope on my next I’d be able to breastfeed #kcacols