Breastfeeding can be a magical and beautiful thing, but it doesn't always happen this way. There are many good and valid reasons we may choose not to, or not be able to, breastfeed our baby, and that is okay. Making the decision to breastfeed, or not, is entirely up to you.
If breastfeeding is hard (which it is) then talking about it and raising the topic sensitively is even harder. Breastfeeding advocates throw around phrases like "Breast is Best" and formula advocates retort "Fed is Best" but really, I believe that "Health is Best".
A startlingly large number of women who want to breastfeed stop before they are ready. This happens for so many different reasons and leaves many women feeling a range of negative emotions such as grief, anger, guilt, shame and frustration. Most sadly, women often blame themselves.
In a society that places little value on breastfeeding, and even less on mothers' feelings, our stories are often swept under the carpet. This lack of recognition and concern can do such harm to our mental health and experience of new motherhood.
The perfect amount of breastfeeding is different for every mother and baby. The benefits of breastfeeding only matter if they aren’t overshadowed by an overly stressful breastfeeding experience. If breastfeeding costs you your sanity, it’s no longer liquid gold.
❤️ TAKE AWAY MESSAGE ❤️
• If it doesn’t work out like you expected, or even at all, that is okay. You and your baby can, and will, still be healthy and happy.
• It’s not all or none — adding formula doesn’t mean you've “failed” or that you have to stop giving breastmilk.
• The “right” amount of breastmilk to give is what works for your preferences, lifestyle and individual choice.
This post was done in collaboration with Rachelle from @raisingrootedleaders. Head over to her page to check her post about the postpartum period and breastfeeding education.
References: Brown 2016; Brown 2019; Dyson et al 2005; Renfrew et al 2005; Chung et al 2008; Lumbiganon et al 2011