I never gave much thought to breastfeeding when I first fell pregnant. My worries and focus were all around the birth. I didn’t realise how difficult and painful breastfeeding would be, the stigma and judgement that exists around bottle feeding or even what a breast pump was. Looking back, I felt like such a naive fool that was in for massive reality check. Here are the biggest breastfeeding myths that I busted:
Breastfeeding is easy
Pretty much almost every friend I’ve spoken to echoed my experiences around how difficult and sometimes traumatic initiating breastfeeding can be. With my first child it was potentially further complicated by her tongue tie. Even after we got that fixed, breastfeeding was toe curling painful and I dreaded each time it was time to feed. It took us about 6-8 weeks and a bout of mastitis before breastfeeding clicked for both of us. Thankfully things clicked a bit quicker the second time round. Especially since I knew what to expect and had more confidence to advocate for myself.
Breastfeeding is free
Lies! Sleep deprived, desperate mums are every business’ dream target market. The amount of money I’ve spent on gadgets from breast feeding pumps, products to collect letdowns, nursing pads, lactation cookies and not forgetting nursing friendly clothes has been ridiculous. Thankfully some of these you can get second hand and I’ve become skilful at navigating marketplace to get a few bargains.
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby
Honestly, as long as your baby is fed one way or another and thriving, that’s the best you can do for them. There is so much pressure for us to breastfeed to the point of sacrificing our mental health and well-being over it, which helps no one.
Breastfeeding can be isolating and exhausting, even more so with diabetes thrown in the mix. If you’re not constantly chasing lows, you’re fixing highs. Once you sort out your insulin rates, it all changes again. It’s relentless.
Educate and support
The theme for World Breastfeeding Week this year is to educate and support. Knowledge is power and knowing what I know now about breastfeeding has helped in my confidence and ability to self-advocate to ensure I get the support I need. It’s something I wished I had with my first child but was so overwhelmed with everything else that it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
Reading the stories over the week about people’s experience with breastfeeding has been comforting and eye opening. If there’s one thing transferable from the diabetes world to mum-life is the power of peer support. Knowing that you’re not the only person going through what you’re dealing with is a huge relief and validates all the emotions that you’ve been feeling. Thank you to everyone who has shared their wisdom and experiences on breastfeeding. Without your story I’d still be feeling very lost and isolated.