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12th Oct 2017

‘Breastfeeding is not one size fits all…’ Síle Seoige on the reaction to THAT piece

Remember happy momma = happy baby.

Gillian Fitzpatrick

Recently, Síle Seoige – HerFamily columnist – wrote a raw and honest account of her experiences of breastfeeding. 

It prompted an incredible response, with many of her fellow mums applauding her decision to document the very same difficulties that they themselves went through.

In response, Síle took to her own social platforms – to thank her fans for their support, and also to clarify certain points she had originally made.

Here is that response in her own words…

Sile Seoige pregnancy diary

I have been overwhelmed by the reaction to my latest article on HerFamily on my first few weeks as a new mom.

It has been shared 3.3K times so far and I’ve had so many of you get in touch with me and share your own experiences of breastfeeding and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love. And I applaud you for sharing your own stories with me; it has been humbling to read them.

I’m sorry I can’t respond to them all personally but I really appreciate them.

In hindsight, I wish I had added a few more points/made a few tweaks to the article though. When I said: “Having had a drug free birth, I now know I’m not a wimp…” by no means was I implying that any woman using drugs or having a different birth experience to mine was any less a warrior.

I know how lucky I was to have the birth I desired. And I truly believe ALL women are incredible… Mothers or not (no offence to the men folk, you are a bit brilliant too!). But having experienced childbirth the way I did, I realised I have a high pain tolerance, so I probably should’ve said that instead of my use of the word ‘wimp’.

I’m sorry for any hurt I may have caused, that certainly wasn’t my intention. Speaking about everything from fertility to childbirth and breastfeeding is so emotive. We all have our own unique experiences. It’s not a one size fits all.

I have heard from so many of you who had more than one baby and had completely different breastfeeding experiences on each of them. So my advice to first time moms like me…

1) Do your homework in advance.
Give yourself the best possible chance of success. Get yourself to a breastfeeding class/meet a lactation consultant and equip yourself as best you can in advance of meeting your precious bundle. There are wonderful supports out there and they are happy to help.
2) Breastfeeding may be natural but it doesn’t come naturally.
I was so focused on the labour that I didn’t give enough attention to life with a newborn. And I wish I had. That said, I truly believe I still would’ve had to stop as I was one of the unlucky ones (and there are more than a few of us unfortunately) who had pain (breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful right!) and with it my dream of breastfeeding to at least the six-month mark vanished. It broke my heart to stop but once I stopped beating myself up about it… I was and am a much better and happier momma to my lil boy.

I’ve heard different opinions on my story from the positive to the not so positive. Some saying this article should not have been published during Breastfeeding Awareness Week. But surely all breastfeeding experiences are valid and have a place? And IF I was to have another child I really would like to try breastfeeding again.

I couldn’t continue for as long as I would’ve liked this time, but who knows… it may work for me again (that is, if it’s in my life plan to have another baby of course).

While I agree that breastfeeding isn’t ‘easy’ for any woman in the beginning, from speaking to many women including health professionals some women, for various reasons, have a tougher road: from baby’s latch (tongue tie or otherwise) to the number of painful conditions associated with it.

Some do have an easier path than others and I really believe we all need to have more compassion for ourselves and with each other. Motherhood is tough and we are doing our best.We love our babies. We can love them by nourishing them from the breast or bottle.

Many of us of my generation were bottle fed as babies… does that mean our own mothers loved us any less? Of course not. We can bond with our babies in many ways – from feeding to playtime.

So I’ll finish on this… Can we please drop the shame and guilt…judgment and superiority? We are ALL doing our best for our little ones and as far as I can see we are amazing. Huge love to you whatever your own journey into motherhood, you are doing great.

Remember happy momma = happy baby.

Grá mór, 
Síle xxx

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