Hearing ‘breast is best’ is enough to reduce women to tears of despair when breastfeeding has ended early. Of course, every mother wants to do her best for her child, so when breastfeeding doesn’t work out, so many women say they feel guilty that they haven’t given their baby ‘the best.’
“Even now (nine months later) I feel like I need to justify myself by listing out all the things I tried, and all the things I didn’t try and why. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter. My first few weeks of being a mother were a fog of feeling like a failure, of crying every time my baby came to my breast and just suckled weakly for a few seconds and fell asleep, of crying while my husband cradled our son and gave him a bottle and I pumped alone and untouched on the other side of the couch, of tortuously squeezing a half ounce of milk from my breasts while reading some blog post by a mother who easily increased her milk supply to 50oz a day by just doing this or that trick.”
Ladies, we finally got rid of the tampon tax, but breastfeeding aids are still classified as “luxury or non-essential”.
When ‘help’ isn’t helpful.
Although there are certainly some health conditions that create real challenges for breastfeeding mothers, including baby issues such as poor latch, ineffective sucking, tongue tie, low oral muscle tone, to maternal medical conditions such as breast surgery, retained placenta, postpartum haemorrhage, PCOS, diabetes, thyroid conditions and insufficient glandular tissue (IGT), there is so much misinformation about breastfeeding. When a mother reaches out for help, it’s like a lottery whether she gets the help she needs.
“When I took my pre-labour hospital tour, another woman asked about the postpartum lactation support available. The response basically amounted to, “Oh yeah, you can see a consultant if you’re really having problems or you have multiples or something. We also offer Brand ‘X’ formula and brand ‘Y’ formula !” Urgh! I know she was probably trying to be supportive, but it really came off as dismissive of both breastfeeding and formula-feeding mothers.”
“A number of people advocated I just not feed my son from a bottle, and he would eventually “figure it out”. Maybe he would have! Maybe he would have died! Maybe trying to be helpful? Not helpful!”