Aside from actually giving birth, breastfeeding is generally the hardest thing that a new mom has to do. It lasts far longer than labor and delivery, it comes with a boatload of baggage called "social stigma," and it can make even the most self-assured mother doubt herself. Support is everything, especially when it comes to being successful at breastfeeding, and your friends can be there for you in ways that even your partner can't. Trust me, there are things every breastfeeding woman needs to hear from her friends that will help her and encourage her and remind her that, even if breastfeeding is the biggest struggle she's faced, she isn't alone in that struggle.
Sadly, I experienced every breastfeeding problem under the sun, and right from the beginning. There were times when I was so depressed and exhausted and hopeless that breastfeeding didn't even seem worth it, but having girlfriends who were able to relate to all of those feelings (even if it was in a semi-small way) really made a difference. Sometimes, a quick comment from a friend, like, "Wow, you're amazing for continuing," made the difference between me ending my breastfeeding journey and me, well, continuing.
It's great to have the support of your family; but (chances are) a significant amount of time has passed since your mom or your aunt or your grandmother or your second cousin once removed has breastfed, and time has a funny way of smoothing over the rough patches and making something difficult, seem blissful. I mean, nothing seems all that bad after 20 years, does it? True understanding and empathy is something you'll get from your friends, because their memories (or even current experiences) of breastfeeding are fresh and raw and relatable. If you have to commiserate with someone, it might as well be someone who is either going through it at the same time, or acutely remembers what it's like.
So, with that in mind, here are 11 things every breastfeeding woman needs to hear from her friends, because you might be the only person feeding your kid, but it doesn't mean you're the only person who knows what it's like to struggle feeding your kid.