A pub manager’s analogy on breastfeeding…
I have got a theory on why breastfeeding rates in the UK are so low. This might hit a few nerves so if you’re overly sensitive and unable to accept opinions just don’t put yourself through the stress of reading a random bloggers opinion.
Ok so my theory is that breastfeeding rates are so low in the UK because of… breastfeeding mothers. Yep that’s right. Think about it, who is the most critical of breastfeeding? Who puts all the bad press and negativity out there? Breastfeeding mothers!
As I’m a bar manager I’m going to use a bar analogy so hopefully my point will become clear.
Imagine you’ve applied for a bar job, you are brand new to the industry and have no experience but the staff know their way around the bar. You apply for two different pubs; The Firkin and Formula and The Breast and Bull (they sound like legit pub names don’t they).
So you walk into the Bull for your interview and get chatting to the experienced staff and they all start saying, “It’s really crap here.” “It’s such hard work.” “It’s awful.” “You’ll never get a night off.” General negativity, you get the idea.
Then you go for your interview at the Firkin and the staff are completely different, “I used to work down the Bull and this is waaayyy easier.” “Other people help you out here.” “You get nights off to sleep if you work here.” “The team have all bonded here.” The opposite – general positivity.
When you get home you have emails from both managers offering you the job, you would be a great fit in either pub.
Which one are you going to choose, honestly? The choice is yours, no hard feelings if you don’t wanna work here, which one?
It’s a no brainer, you’re going to work at the Firkin!
This is exactly what happens with breastfeeding!
Formula moms are never critical of formula, they report that it has made their life easier and helped family life and they don’t regret their decision and generally report positively.
Breastfeeding moms are so bloody negative. If I had £1 for every humble bragging brelfie I’ve seen on Insta I’d be rich by now, “It’s sooo hard but I’m sooo proud of myself for sticking it out for 6 months.” It makes it sound like a bag of shit. Well done you for persevering for so long. If you hated it so much why didn’t you just go and work down the Firkin?
If you say it’s easy (which I do say) then the other members of staff in the Bull slag you off and say you’re making them all feel bad for finding it hard. Why can’t it be seen that positive Bull mom is raising team morale and making it a nicer place to work? Highlighting the good aspects rather than dwelling on the crap aspects of breastfeeding.
Here’s the thing…
I don’t think breastfeeding moms do hate it, I think it makes them feel like good moms but if we admit it’s easy then are we still good? Or are we only good if we stick at something that’s hard?
From my experience, formula is much harder. I’d work at the Bull any day! When moms report that it is hard, I generally find that they have no frame of reference. It tends to be moms that have never used formula that say breastfeeding is hard work and it tends to be moms that switched to formula early on that say formula is easier.
Easier and harder than what?
Most women will establish a good milk flow and have absolutely no trouble feeding. Yes, there is a minority that have health problems but even with most health problems breastfeeding will power on.
I gave up feeding Ollie after a few days because I ended up in hospital with a c section infection and we were separated. I was encouraged to switch to formula and told it would make my recovery easier. Wrong. I wish I’d never listened and made an effort to get my flow back. Ted is 8 months old now and exclusively breastfed and I can honestly say every aspect of it has been ten times easier than formula.
Let’s overlook the first couple of weeks because no matter how you feed your baby it’s going to seem shit because you’re adjusting to this whole new life and operating with very little sleep and perhaps pain depending on the recovery.
A month into motherhood I doubt anyone with a normal flow and normal health conditions would say breastfeeding is hard. I know there is a minority that physically can’t do it and this isn’t critical of that or making anyone feel bad but rates in the UK are shockingly low and it’s not because of health problems.
I genuinely think if breastfeeding moms shared a bit more positively, stopped humblebragging and saying things like #FedisBest or I don’t judge formula moms (no one asked for your approval) then we might start to stir up a bit of good press. Maybe even help new or expectant mothers plough through their first training shifts at the Bull and within a few weeks they’ll be pros at pulling pints and positive about their decision.
So interviewees, come and work with me down the Bull. I used to work at the Firkin and I honestly think my life as a ‘bar maid’ has been easier in my second pub! Even if my pumps leak more than they did at my old pub…
I liked writing this post, it took me ages to come up with a way I could write about this without sounding horrible or offending everyone! So I stuck to what I know – pubs. I’m going to link up with the new Best and Worst – #BloggersBest with Run Jump Scrap and Blogging Beautifully. (I’m pretty sure I joined the first Best and Worst!)