Breastfeeding is natural but this does not mean it comes naturally – to either the mother or the baby.
I support breastfeeding as the evidence is there in bucketloads regarding the benefits to both the mother and child. However, I also support women’s right to choose what works best for them and their baby. I have come across many women in my years of experience in nursing, midwifery and maternal and child health, who with the best of intentions plan on breastfeeding or are currently breastfeeding and for whatever reason it’s just not working for them.
Women often stop breastfeeding for a range of reasons including but not limited to their babies have a poor sucking action or attachment, cracked nipples for mothers, mastitis, lack of education and support – the list goes on.
The number of women I’ve come across who would happily declare they absolutely love breastfeeding would be well less than 20 per cent. Most mothers’ state they breastfeed because they feel they should but their comments in regards to discomfort seem to range between “not entirely painful or painless“ to “some discomfort” to “intense pain”.
To our beautiful mothers, we must be kind to each other and stop judging or comparing. It is not one size fits all but a combination of evidence based research and informed decision making that will see breastfeeding rates increase in our nation. The determination of some women to continue to breastfeed is truly inspiring. Often mothers discontinue with breastfeeding based on outsider input and often this input is incorrect – some reasons I’ve heard cited are ‘my milk isn’t good enough’ or ‘I don’t have enough milk’.
Breastfeeding (apart from all the obvious benefits you already know), is the only “job” you can do as the mother – that nobody else can do. Anyone can bottle feed a baby, make cups of tea, clean a house, change a dirty nappy but only you can provide this primal level of care.
Breastfeeding, if you let it, can make you slow down. It can allow you time to rest and let your body slowly recover from both pregnancy and your birth of your baby. This is no small feat after all. Enjoy it, be present because it might not seem like it in the beginning but the feeds will get shorter as your baby grows. You might even find yourself wishing for those quiet, gentle moments once more.
Our top three tips for new mums starting their breastfeeding journey:
Tip one: Read the literature available about the benefits of breastfeeding and what to expect. This can help you mentally prepare for the road ahead. The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a great starting place.
Tip two: Attend a breastfeeding education workshop prior to babies arrival (online or in person).
Tip three: Ensure you have the right equipment – a well-fitting bra can go a long way!
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns its okay to ask for help! You can always reach out to a professional consultant such as our team at TCC.