Did You Fall Into a Booby Trap While Breastfeeding?
I admit it, I get a little sad when I see a brand new baby being fed with a bottle. I get sad because I've been there. I bottle-fed my first-born and the fight to try and feed him left me with anguished feelings of guilt. So when I see a new mom using a bottle I wonder if she feels the same way. (Yes, I know I have transference issues).
Why do so many women give up on breastfeeding? Usually, they are scared that they don't have enough milk. This fear is called a "booby trap." Why are they so scared? Because they get so little support when they are starting out. As Best for Babes says, women are encouraged to breastfeed but set up to fail.
I know that I have written on this topic before, but it bears repeating. New mothers do not get enough knowledgable support in the first few days of nursing. In fact, they usually get the opposite of support. They get fed fear by some of the people who should be helping them.
My friend just had a baby a few weeks ago. One of the post-partum nurses told her that her baby had a lazy tongue and gave her a nipple shield. A nipple shield is generally a terrible idea, but that nurse did much more damage by planting the seed of fear in that new mother.
That seed gets planted more times than it should. It is hard to breastfeed. You are charged with keeping a small baby alive with your body and you have no idea what you are doing. You get opposing views from everyone around you that make you question what you are doing. And on top of that the baby cries - a lot. Since the baby doesn't come with a little register saying how much they drank, you always wonder: am I doing this right? Did my baby get enough to thrive?
That little nugget of concern gets nurtured by throw-away comments by nurses and in-laws and new fathers who have no idea what they are doing either.
If new moms were surrounded by other nursing mothers then they would have a better chance. They would know that it is normal to worry. If new moms had qualified and trained lactation consultants around them from the first minute then they would be able to nurse with confidence and knowledge. If they saw women nursing around them without shame, they wouldn't need to hide in their homes.
Of course new moms are scared that they don't have enough milk, everything around them is telling them that they are failing. We have a culture of fear that intercedes with breastfeeding - and that is the biggest "booby trap" of all.
These two articles from Today's Parent have a lot of great breastfeeding information: The Top Ten Pieces of Breastfeeding Advice You Can Ignore and "I didn't have enough milk": Why so many Canadian Moms Quit Breastfeeding.
Did you fall into a "booby trap"? Did you get the support you needed for breastfeeding?
Want more chaos? Last year I wrote how date night is cheaper than therapy.