When I had my son, nearly 11 years ago, I breastfed, but expressed when I went back to work. At nearly 4 months old, he then moved onto formula as I had a few difficulties feeding him myself.
He is now grown up perfectly well, is healthy, and is happy.
However, I have been told repeatedly, by news articles and people, some close 'friends' that it is my fault that he has multiple allergies, eczema and asthma as I didn't breastfeed for long enough.
That is a separate issue, but it is an example of as a mum, you are made to feel bad about the choice you make of how you feed your baby.
Fast forward 10 years and I chose to breastfed again, but knowing that I had problems before, I wasn't going to push myself.
Luckily, it went well, and my daughter fed extremely well. However, a day before 6 months, due to medical reasons, I had to give up. I beat myself up for a long time, and nearly a fortnight later, I still am.
This is mainly because health visitors and books and articles etc. tell you that as a mum, you MUST breastfeed babies until 6 months.
Now, on the flip side, my sister tried desperately to breastfeed both of her daughters, but, through no fault of her own, she couldn't.
What she remembers with her first daughter is this: sitting in hospital with her newborn baby being forced to feed her. The nurse grabbed her boob and tried to force it into her daughter's mouth. My sister was miserable and beat herself up for it. She chose to bottlefeed before she left hospital.
She refused this time to go through it and 3 years later, chose straight away to have a bottle. She said that the nurses weren't happy, but gave it to her.
My nieces are both, again, happy and healthy and growing up well.
There is so much pressure to choose breastfeeding over bottle, but neither is wrong. Mums should be confident and happy with their own decision. You should not be made to feel bad about whatever choice you make.
As mums, we should support each other. Being a mum is hard enough as it is. As long as you've got a happy baby and a happy mum, both healthy, that is really all that matters.