If you like unsolicited advice, you should get pregnant. And if you really like it, might I suggest breastfeeding? Your partner, family, friends, medical team, and the general public have a lot of opinions about how you feed your baby. It seems like a lot of people have a vested interest in a personal decision about your body (but what's new?) when it's none of their business. Their counsel might be well-meant, but it's usually obnoxious and, worse, wrong. It's not all bad, but there's some advice that every breastfeeding mom dreads hearing.
I wanted to exclusively breastfeed, but I had a hard time. I sought help and got it in spades, but it wasn't always, well... helpful. Some bits were great. I absolutely agree that breastfed babies should be fed on demand and not on a schedule. It meets their needs while also stimulating milk production. That makes sense. My pediatrician showed me how to change how I was cupping my breast to get my little one to latch without a nipple shield. Magic! However, the rest of the advice I probably could have done without. Being a new mom is overwhelming as is, and without being bombarded with lactation cookie recipes and old wives' tales.
There's so much information (accurate and otherwise) out there — best to listen to the experts in your life (a good lactation consultant, your best friend who nursed successfully) and listen to your own inner voice about what's right for you and baby. If you hear any of the following, roll your eyes and move right along:
"Try For An Unmedicated Delivery"
According to Mama Birth, so-called "natural" childbirth makes for an easier breastfeeding experience. That's nice, but you can take your research and shove it up my epidural. An unmedicated birth is the right choice for some moms, but not all, so stop making us feel guilty about managing our pain with meds by waving the specter of "breastfeeding will be harder" over us.
"Toughen Up Those Nipples"
Just scrub those bad boys with a washcloth until they're raw. That sounds like a good idea, right? Because you want to get a head start on the soreness that already comes with breastfeeding. Why this little tidbit persists in modern society is beyond me. Seriously, don't come at me with your damn loofah.
"Have You Tried A Different Position?"
Am I the only one who tried the five "best" breastfeeding positions and just went back to the cradle hold? I mean, I can't hold a regular football right, so why would the clutch position be any more natural for me?
"Don't Let Your Baby Fall Asleep"
Easier said than done, oh sage of breastfeeding wisdom. Like, have you ever met a newborn? I know I have to keep my baby awake while she eats, but girlfriend is a sleepy mofo. How about you tickle her feet, Janice, and let me know how it works out for you.
"Watch Out For Nipple Confusion"
File this under the category of "Ways to Needlessly Worry New Moms." I know some mothers do struggle with it. In fact, a friend of mine posted every bottle nipple her exclusively breastfed infant rejected, and there must have been a dozen different types. But that wasn't the case for me, and according to What to Expect, most babies have no trouble toggling between breast and bottle. Don't borrow trouble — just make sure nursing is well-established before introducing a bottle.
"Try Not To Watch The Clock"
Don't time your feedings, but hey, here's this breastfeeding app where you can track every second of it. I know I should be counting wet diapers and not minutes, but time is just so much more measurable than absorbed pee. Plus, I'm trying to gauge how much time I might get between sessions in case I might like to, you know, shower.
"You Have To Drink Milk To Make Milk"
According to Baby Center, there is no scientific evidence that drinking milk will have an effect on your breast milk production. All drinking a tall glass of milk is going to do to this lactose-intolerant mama is make her flatulent. Hard pass.
"You Can't Nurse If You're Sick"
That's false, unless you have HIV, HTLV-1, or septicemia. For any ordinary illness, KellyMom says you should continue to breastfeed. Chances are, your baby was exposed to your germs before you even knew you were sick. Nursing won't pass on your illness, but it will provide your baby with antibodies to fight it.
"Your Baby Needs Formula/Donate The Formula They Give You"
If someone has an opinion on breastfeeding, then they definitely have feelings about formula. One side will tell you that you're obviously not making enough milk and are starving your baby, while the other will tell you even having formula in your house will make you less likely to succeed. Don't let anyone tell you the breastfeeding/formula combo isn't a choice.
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