Have you heard this before? Are you a dedicated breast-feeder to a toddler or older child? If so, you are not alone. I see many women in my office each week who continue to breastfeed their toddlers, sometimes while also nursing younger babies. Women who breastfeed "older" children are often stigmatized and looked at as strange.
The major problem with negative attitudes toward breastfeeding is simply the lack of exposure to it and not understanding how difficult it truly is. There are quite a few common misunderstandings about breastfeeding and majority of them you can't truly understand unless you've attempted to breastfeed or watched someone close to you attempt to breastfeed
There's no question breastfeeding has its challenges. From the shape of mom's nipples to the neck rotation of the baby, it all has an impact. But I never knew what would kill our breastfeeding relationship would go undetected for so long, although it was right under my nose. Or rather my baby's nose.
I was one of those women who proudly proclaimed, "I bottle fed my kids and they're all fine." And they are fine. The thing is though, now that I work as a postpartum nurse, a great percentage of my time on the unit is spent teaching and assisting new moms. And I get breastfeeding now. I totally could have rocked this gig. But I didn't because I was too tired.
Well done. Any wayward young girl or new mother who considers you a role model may now elect not to breastfeed her child. All because of your inaccurate, uneducated, misguided and -- truly -- disgusting sentiments about what is one of the most loving, selfless and beautiful relationships a mother can have with her baby.
Some things I remember clearly about the first days after my sons were born. I was zapped, emotional and incredibly vulnerable. So I can't imagine having a document thrust at me that essentially guilt-trips me into swearing that I will breastfeed my newborns or else risk exposing them to "significant illness and disease."
Eighteen years ago, fathers offered moral support with breastfeeding through fetching a glass of water for the wife. Now, things are different. This generation of dads is not leaving their partners' side to go home. Dads want to be involved in breastfeeding, and taking care of their partners and babies.
Before I delivered by first son I knew basically nothing about post-delivery recovery. I knew a minimal amount from medical school. There would be bleeding and soreness. I didn't need a medical degree to assume that. What to really expect was a mystery. These aren't things that moms and moms-to-be discuss very often, at least not in my social circle.
Tears in my eyes, I looked up from my nursing chair at The Hubster, who had our hungry newborn daughter in his arms. I felt like I was trapped in a cruel science experiment to determine how much nipple pain an exhausted new mother could take in two hour intervals before she cracked. Expectant first-time moms: Breastfeeding is hard.