When it comes to breastfeeding, there's no shortage of advice. In fact, it can boarder on overwhelming. How is a new mom supposed to know what works and what doesn't? Breastfeeding can be difficult all on its own and without attempting to wade your way through an endless sea of often unsolicited advice which, more often than not, won't apply to you and your baby. Having said that, I don't think we, as nursing women, should ignore pieces of solid breastfeeding advice from other moms entirely. While we are more than capable of figuring out what works best for us and our unique situations, it can be beyond beneficial to listen to others who've been there, done that, and have the breast milk-soaked t-shirt to prove it.
Personally, it didn't take me long to realize that the act of feeding another human being with your body isn't always easy. I attended prenatal classes, talked to a lactation consultant, read all the books I could get my hands on, and still couldn't make nursing work. Not only did I become frustrated I wasn't able to do this so-called "natural" thing, but I felt like I had failed as a new mom. At the time, none of my friends had children yet, and the advice from women in my family wasn't exactly relevant. In other words, I was on my own.
NPR reports that only around 13 percent of new moms breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of their baby's life. The rest give up after having troubles similar to mine, and understandably so. Breastfeeding is not an easy feat. Even seasoned mothers can experience substantial issues with milk supply or a baby's latch and, in the end, have to call on experts to help guide them through these specific trials and tribulations. And while every mother has her own varied, valid reasons for either continuing to breastfeed or switching to formula, Parenting reports that nearly 2 percent of women can't produce enough milk (for a variety of reasons) to breastfeed. No amount of "advice" is going to assist those women, and no amount of judgment or shame is going to make their breastfeeding journeys any easier.
So in the end and always, no woman should ever feel shame for whatever choice she makes regarding how she chooses to feed her baby. But if you've chosen to breastfeed and are struggling to hang in there, take it from some of these women who know what they're talking about: