What I Learned About Breastfeeding

1. It’s not as simple as it should be
Considering mothers have been breastfeeding for ages, you’d think mother nature would make this a more natural task. It’s actually more like a job for many women, despite how easy some lactation consultants say it is. Mothers should innately know what to do and babies should naturally latch. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. That’s why there are so many resources out there.

2. Campaigns use a lot of scare tactics
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen many posters, brochures and consultants, and many of them use subtle scare tactics to get women to breastfeed. I know these are just quoting stats, but I hate it. For example, breastfed babies are “x” times less likely to develop condition “y” or mothers who breastfeed are “x” times less likely to get cancer. To me, this says if you don’t breastfeed your child, you’re doing harm to both yourself and the baby. Sure these stats are positive for women who are already or considering breastfeeding, but what about those women who just can’t? It’s just not fair.

3. There’s no right or wrong way
I’ve learned and tried many different holds (the football hold, cradle hold, side lying, etc.) and methods (compressing when baby sucks vs. consistent compressions, tube feeding, etc.), and no matter what anyone tells you, there is no right or wrong way. I had one consultant that was very adamant about doing it her way. She was very specific about sitting positions and the types of breastfeeding pillows and chairs to use. I can appreciate her method, but she is absolutely incorrect in saying that’s the only method that works 100% of the time. The main goal is to get your milk to your baby, in whatever way works best for you.

4. Sometimes it just won’t work
There’s no shame if the mother/baby just can’t connect. After speaking to several consultants and nurses, I’ve learned that some mothers just can’t produce enough or the baby just won’t latch on. Knowing how much effort a mother would put into breastfeeding if she really wants to, if it’s not working, there is a point when she can say she did her best, and there shouldn’t be any judgement.

5. Supplementing with formula is totally okay
I hear a lot of breastfeeding advocates claim that formula is a big no-no. To me, I’d rather not be an ‘exclusive breastfeeding’ snob; I just want my baby to get the nutrients he needs.

You can read about my experience here.

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