Breastfeeding. It is the 21st Century and yet it remains one of the many taboos of our society. When it comes to motherhood, it is one of the most controversial topics you can tackle. Every person has an opinion on it, yet every mother has their own story to tell about it, which is often silenced by those who claim to know better. The truth is, as anything else goes in life, every woman experiences breastfeeding differently.
Breastfeeding can be the best feeling in the world, lying next to your baby and feeling your love literary pour. It is also the best way to bond with it if you are a new mother. But also, as fragile as anything is during that gentle stage of your baby’s life, when something goes wrong, it may turn into one of the most difficult experiences of being a mother.
Breastfeeding is supposed to be as natural as any other bodily function. It should come as easily as sneezing does. On top of that, most doctors and specialists use the phrase: “every woman was built able to breastfeed” when questioned about the topic. “It’s all in the head” is another one, because breastfeeding is highly affected by the mental state of the mother. The statistics say that only less than 5% of all women are physically unable to produce milk. All of this adds on to the pressure a new mother feels when she tries to figure out the feeding routine of her baby.
But there are many reasons why mothers can’t breastfeed or choose not to breastfeed and most times it turns out to be the best decision for their specific situation. Breastfeeding should never be discouraged, but non-breastfeeding mothers should never be frowned upon. Almost every mother wants what’s best for their baby and we have to trust that they are giving their children their all.
So what could really go wrong? Coming home from the hospital with your baby, you may already have your breasts begin producing milk. To some, the milk may come even during the pregnancy. Depending on where, in the world, you live, this subject will be treated differently, and some women might not even get trained on how to breastfeed, which, of course, only makes matters worse. If the milk builds up, and it usually does because both the mom and the baby are learning how to feed, boobs will swell and the pain will seem unbearable. The only way to get rid of the pain is to keep feeding and massaging the breasts, which, again, is quite painful. Along with the tiredness, the shock of giving birth – even if it was a pleasurable experience all throughout, it still is a shock to the organism, and the fear that the baby is hungry, this is where a lot of women decide to bring in formula.
Some, on the other hand, manage to get through the rocky first weeks, or don’t have any troubles at all, in the beginning. Then, they get hit by the postpartum depression, which makes it difficult to be around the baby at all times, and needing more rest to recover. Even though breastfeeding women often don’t menstruate, some may get their period sooner, and loose the milk or the amount of milk they were producing. There are a few tricks you can try to help you get back on track, but they might not work each time, like pumping between feeds to increase the demand (the more the boobs are stimulated, the more milk they produce), and relaxing as much as you can (yet not all moms have the help they need). Women are encouraged to ‘’will’’ themselves into breastfeeding and though it works in most cases, it can also cause an opposite effect of feeling too scared and pressured to be able to.
There is also the fact that not every woman, or even every society, feels comfortable with women breastfeeding in public. Considering that a baby is fed every two hours at least, not every woman is prepared to spend months not leaving the house for more than that window allows her. There are, luckily, numerous breast pumps on the market that can help pump and store the milk, which may be the most practical solution to helping increase or maintain the production of milk. Just searching through Amazon will help you find either budget friendly manual breast pumps or even a whole electrical breast pump kit to help you out.
Some of those above mentioned reasons can lead the woman to choose not to breastfeed at all, or after a while. You may notice that all these reasons are not the product of the times we live in. Postpartum depression has been around as long as childbirth has, but it just wasn’t talked about enough. People managed to find solutions and alternatives to breastfeeding long before formula. Some could afford wet-nurses, some would buy the milk off of other breastfeeding women, or the baby would be breastfed by another lactating member of the family, and some would be given milk from other animals. Anything to help the baby stay full, healthy and keep growing – we keep forgetting that that is the priority.
As the society is going towards ‘’all natural’’ lifestyle solutions, seeing a formula fed baby in public can often lead to negative comments. Many mothers feel guilty feeding their baby formula and even delay bringing it into the routine. It is said that, when formula first showed up, companies began anti-breastfeeding propaganda to sell more of the formula milk. As a result, every formula and formula equipment now has a health warning saying that breastfeeding is best for your baby. It is true, by all means, it is. But when you can’t help it, you can’t help it. As long as you know you tried, you should never feel or let anyone else make you feel guilty.
For advice on making bottle-feeding a pleasurable experience, you can continue reading another article here.