July 18, 2015
Breastfeeding Guilt And What You Can Do About It!
Ever feel breastfeeding guilt as a mom? Maybe it’s because you aren’t breastfeeding your newborn son or daughter anymore? Or maybe you have to supplement because your milk supply is low? Maybe you are exclusively pumping because breastfeeding was too painful? Whatever the case may be, breastfeeding guilt is real! Unfortunately other moms, friends, and family can make it worse. Have you ever heard a mom say “I have three kids and I breastfed all of them for 12 months”? That comment might make a new mom feel inadequate and really guilty. That may not be the intent, but it surely does insult a mom who is struggling to breastfeed or stopped breastfeeding all together. Moms need to support each other and not make new moms feel guilty for what they are doing or not doing with their child.
My advice for moms that are feeling guilty for one reason or another is to talk to someone they trust. Talk to your partner, your friend, your doula, a lactation consultant, or doctor. Sometimes there are things that can be done to help you feel less guilty, like ways to increase milk supply, or pump more effectively. Doulas and lactation consultants can offer advice on positions to make breastfeeding easier and less painful. Getting your newborn son or daughter to latch on correctly can make all the difference. A new mom who wants to breastfeed, but have sore nipples because their baby isn’t latching on correctly, can benefits from taking a breastfeeding class, pumping class or setting up an appointment with an IBCLC ( internationally board certified lactation consultant) in their city.
Breastfeeding moms are constantly getting unwanted advice from others. Trust me when I say that they are tired of hearing other say “you’re baby is hungry, just give him a bottle” or “there’s no way you’re producing enough, you need to supplement with formula”. These words add to the guilt that a new mom might have. Another piece of advice is that breastfeeding moms shouldn’t feel like they have to take advice from everyone that is offering it. It is probably best to NOT take the advice from someone who has never breastfed or someone that gave up after 3 weeks. You should take advice from a trusted friend or family member who breastfed their child for several months or more, or see a lactation consultant. Your doula can usually recommend one in your area. Just know that you are doing the best you can do! And find support from positive people and professionals who truly want to help you succeed with breastfeeding your child!