We’ve heard it before: “Breast is best.”
That might indeed be the case, but television host Deborah Knight wants women to know that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
In a post she wrote for Nine Honey, the Channel Nine newsreader admits she had immense struggles breastfeeding her two elder children — struggles that took an emotional and physical toll, and that most new mothers experience.
“Despite what the pamphlets promoting breastfeeding lead us to believe – with the angelic newborn gently feeding from a blissfully adoring Mother – this seemingly natural and simple task is for the majority of women really hard work,” Knight wrote.
“One lactation consultant told me that around that 80% of women experience difficulty while trying to establish breastfeeding. Why aren’t we told that in the pre-natal classes or the maternity ward?”
Deborah Knight says attempts to breastfeed her two eldest children were "disasters". Image: Instagram.
While Knight is still breastfeeding her youngest child Audrey, who is nine months, the 43-year-old described her first two attempts at breastfeeding as complete "disasters".
With her eldest, Darcy, it was three months of cracked, grazed nipples, lactation consultants, baby massage and more.
"It was only when a midwife told me through my tears that if the breastfeeding wasn’t working, don’t do it. I finally felt like I had permission to use a bottle and baby formula instead," she wrote.
Latching came easier with Elsa - her second child - but the pain persisted, and she only managed four months before switching entirely to the bottle.
While she acknowledges breast milk is the optimum choice for baby's health - and for convenience - Knight thinks the alternative lands the mother with an unnecessary burden.
"New mums take on guilt easily, especially when you fail at something as seemingly natural as breastfeeding," she wrote.
That, she believes, is something that needs to end.
"Let’s stop the guilt, and tell it like it is," wrote Knight.
"I believe there needs to be more honesty from the experts associated with newborn care about what a trial breastfeeding can be."