BREASTFEEDING! Is it for every mother?!
By Iman Sarhan – Mother Support Group Leader & Lactation Counselor
Through-out my life, even before becoming a Breastfeeding* Counselor, I have always heard contradicting stories about breastfeeding, some see it as an amazing experience and that it is the best thing for, both, the baby and the mother; conversely, for others breastfeeding was a disastrous experience and the most hectic thing that ever happened to them; yet they succeeded in doing it. A third version, as always the case, some mothers didn’t even comprehend to the idea of breastfeeding and were either indifferent or totally against it. Finally, the majority of parents, grandparents actually believed that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone! So what do you think about that – which version do you see as more realistic or which version do you believe you resonate with more?! That’s the reason behind this article; to help you understand and decide whether breastfeeding is for everyone – and specifically you or not.
The common reason behind mothers not managing to BF* exclusively or at all:
- Believing that motherhood is a natural thing, hence, breastfeeding should come naturally without any guidance and support.
- Lack of proper training and preparation before delivery, hence, not knowing the best practices of healthy nurturing (why & how).
- Lack of proper counselling before delivery, thus, psychological not prepared to breastfeed.
- Lack of a qualified supporter after delivery, leading to NO solid support system for overcoming breastfeeding challenges.
- Confusing – sometimes can be misleading – information from family and friends due to common myths about breastfeeding which creates a lot of pressure on the mother consequently affecting breastfeeding.
- Introducing supplements while breastfeeding, like formula, water, herbs, juices and alike.
- Following up with a pediatrician who is not specialized in lactation management, hence, not qualified to give the required support & guidance for mothers who want to breastfeed.
- Finally, not knowing what to expect, or when the baby is fine and normal and when something wrong goes on.
The truth is: “While breastfeeding is a natural act, it is also a learned behaviour. An extensive body of research has demonstrated that mothers and other caregivers require active support for establishing and sustaining appropriate breastfeeding practices.” WHO & UNICEF
Basically breastfeeding –most of the times – is all about the mother psychological state, expectations, needs/goals and persistence. That’s why it is very important to seek advice and support from professionals (mother support groups, lactation consultants, breastfeeding counselors). Also, following up with a pediatrician who is a lactation consultant is crucial to the success of the breastfeeding experience. Reading and searching the internet is definitely very useful, only when following trusted sources who are specialized in healthy nurturing and breastfeeding on demand.
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