why i don't encourage breastfeeding

Why I no longer encourage breastfeeding

Breast is best.

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As new mothers, we are bombarded with the slogan of “breast is best”. It’s a campaign to raise awareness surrounding breastmilk and it’s health benefits for mother and child. Breastmilk, in fact, provides all the nourishment that a child will need for the first six months. It is chock full of nutrients that can reduce sickness in a baby while also preventing various illnesses later in their lives. Breastfeeding can increase a child’s intelligence, as well as provide the mother with health benefits such as assisting her uterus to return to its pre-baby shape and reducing her risk of breast cancer.

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Breastmilk is incredible.

Breastfeeding is incredible.

However, it’s truly not for everyone. Throughout my years as a mom, I’ve encountered many different women. I have friends who have nursed their children for four years, some who have nursed their baby for 6 months, some who tried to nurse and hated it, some who tried to nurse and could not, and some who didn’t want to try breastfeeding at all.

Do you know what all of these women have in common? They’re all caring, compassionate, involved, wonderful mothers whose best interest is always in their child.

There seems to be this certain superiority surrounding breastfeeding. Women get shamed at the playground because they’re feeding their baby a bottle of formula. There is often little thought given to why a mom may be feeding her baby formula. There are a few reasons why she may be doing this:

I no longer encourage breastfeeding

-She doesn’t want to breastfeed

-She can’t breastfeed

-She won’t breastfeed

There are many reasons why a mom chooses not to breastfeed her child ranging from her not wanting to, to her having experienced sexual trauma that prevents her from emotionally being able to, to her body simply not allowing it. Regardless of the reason why she chooses not to breastfeed, it is nobody’s business but her own.

I went through lactation hell each and every time I had a baby. I took expensive supplements, ate all the lactation boosting things, and was a slave to the breast pump. I also gave my babies formula because I wasn’t actually able to produce enough milk to sustain their tiny bodies. The choice to breastfeed isn’t always an easy one, nor is the choice to formula feed.

If my opinion is asked specifically regarding breastfeeding I will always highly encourage breastfeeding based on my own personal experience. I loved it. If my opinion is not asked, however, I will not encourage breastfeeding. I once was a major breastfeeding advocate. Whenever I could I would encourage breastfeeding, even when it was clear that a mom did not want to. In recent years I’ve begun to take a different approach. Now, when a mom expresses to me that she’s tried breastfeeding, doesn’t like it, and needs suggestions on how to dry up her breastmilk I don’t intervene. I simply give her suggestions (Oil of Oregano, sage tea, cabbage leaves in your bra) and words of praise and encouragement for the superb job she’s doing as a mom. She’s made a decision that she feels is best for her and her baby! Who am I to say she’s wrong?

We’re all in this together. This mom thing is hard super, ridiculously, incredibly challenging. Moms have enough to worry about with everything that comes with being a parent; nobody needs the stress of judgment and criticism on top of that! Help make sure that all women feel empowered for the way they’ve chosen to feed their babies!

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