Maternal Mental Health Feels Like it Comes Second to Breastfeeding When It Should Be First

This story is for you mommas whose mental health feels like it comes second to breastfeeding, when it should be first.

I have a long history of mental illnesses in my family. I inherited most of them. While they do not define me, they are a part of me. I have Bipolar 1 Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and a Panic Disorder.

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New Moms: You Are Not Alone. Please Don’t Suffer In Silence

On Tuesday, Kim Chen, a grieving father and widower, shared his late wife Florence Leung’s struggles with postpartum depression and breastfeeding on a Facebook page dedicated to her memory. He encouraged new moms to get help and to not succumb to pressures to breastfeed.

Chen wrote,

“For all the new moms experiencing low mood or anxiety, please seek help and talk about your feelings. You are Not alone. You are Not a bad mother. Do not EVER feel bad or guilty about not being able to “exclusively breastfeed”, even though you may feel the pressure to do so based on posters in maternity wards, brochures in prenatal classes, and teachings at breastfeeding classes. Apparently the hospitals are designated “baby-friendly” only if they promote exclusive-breastfeeding.”

Our thoughts are with Mr. Chen, his family, and their son, who now has to grow up without his mother. We’ve reached out to him to offer our support and resources during this impossible time.

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Post Natal Depression (PND/PPD) & Fed is Best

As I begin, let me state plainly – I am an advocate for Perinatal Mental Health, I am not here to be an advocate for Breast Feeding or Formula Feeding. I am “pro” whatever is best for you and your family – only you, and yours, will know the right answer to that.

I have no interest in adding to the debate on “Breast is Best’, as I’m not sure it ever does anything other than draw in those who agree or disagree, firmly, with one side or the other.

My disclaimer is, I formula fed Reuben. For me, it was a lifeline. With that said, I stand for your rights, your hopes, your dream, and for whatever you deem best and most suitable for your circumstances. Continue reading

The Rest of My Breastfeeding Story

Written by Fed is Best Foundation Co-Founder Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D. 

Not many people know the rest of my breastfeeding story, the part that happened after my son’s hospitalization. People assume that because I spend most of my time advocating for safe infant feeding practices by educating moms on how to breastfeed safely, that I am against breastfeeding or want mothers to feel like exclusive breastfeeding is unsafe. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Clearly if a mother has enough breast milk, exclusive breastfeeding is a wonderful way to feed her child, if that’s how she chooses to feed them. But I had to learn the hard way that being a good mother is not defined by exclusive breastfeeding.

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