Why women don’t want to or are scared to breast feed?
Even that we live in XXI Century the breast feeding is seen controversial in many ways. Some of the theories built around this topic are facts, but there is also a lot of various myths that can be read on Internet or heard from people, who aren’t experts. The most interesting is how women perceive breast feeding and reasons, why some of them decide straight away, sometimes before they give birth, that they won’t feed and others want to do it as long as possible, and consider it as the only right choice. Physical and psychological factors in mothers are equally important, but essential is baby’s health and development. Below you will read through the breakdown of these factors, explanation of the feelings and impressions as well as advices that will help you to make the best decision for you and your child.
Most popular myths -
It is one of the most common myths that women will hear during pregnancy. Nipples can be very sensitive, and you can feel discomfort, but only while feeding. The main reason for this unpleasant experience is the way that baby sucks. If your child’s lips don’t cover the whole nipple, that may cause pain. You can resolve this problem by changing baby’s position and supporting the head to be set in the right direction.
2. After putting your breast milk into the bottle, it won't be suitable for feeding.
That is not true. Many mothers express breast milk to the bottle and throw it away, feeding their babies with powder milk or cow milk instead. Mother’s milk can be kept safely at room temperature for few hours. When put into refrigerator will last between 2-3 days. You can also freeze it and be sure that it can be still used after a year time!
3. Mother’s milk is too skinny.
Another myth that is based on lack of knowledge. Breast milk features change accordingly to baby’s growth, mineral and vitamin requirements. If you pay attention to what it’s like, you will notice that over the weeks, and even days, it changes its thickness, colour and structure. All of these are symptoms of different composition. Baby gets everything that is needed for healthy development.
4. Breastfeeding mothers need to be on specific diet.
Of course, eating healthy, natural and the least processed foods is an absolute must and pregnancy is not an exception. However, when you’re expecting the baby, your immune system is getting lower, and most of the vitamins and minerals are taken away from you and concentrate on foetus. This is to make sure that this little human will be supplied with everything that is best for cells development. When you breastfeed, and your baby doesn’t suffer from any allergies or intolerances, you are perfectly fine with satisfying your appetites - chocolate or fat belly of pork from time to time won’t do any harm.
It’s essential to say that breastfeeding is crucial in building attachment between mother and baby. The emotional bond is developed and mothers are better prepared for recognising baby’s needs and behaviours. This is something that has its roots in evolution, and nothing really changed in this matter.
What are the psychological barriers in breast feeding?
Besides of obvious fear that is related with pain and discomfort, women started to think more about social side of this subject. There is a common belief, that breast feeding limits women and make impossible to get back to normal life soon after labour. This would be understandable if we would consider that nowadays women lead professional lives as well as private. However, breast feeding mums are protected by law which allows them to feed during working hours.
Some of us became very modern in their approaches and treat this activity as old-fashioned and commercial products can fully replace traditional nursing. Unfortunately this is not totally true and we have to be very careful what products we choose as this may impact child’s development and harm its health.
Despite being a mum, we remain wives and sexual partners. Women worry that they will be considered as unattractive and their action disgusting - they get concerned that their partners won’t desire them anymore and a relationship will suffer.
We think that some special knowledge is needed to breastfeed. I have heard from first-time mothers that they don’t breastfeed because they’re scared and don’t know how to do this as no one gave them the instruction. Dear ladies - your baby is not a remote control that needs manual to figure out how it works! You can feed your child instinctively. Just sit down comfortably, lay your baby in your arms holding its head with your forearm and let it grab your boob. I can guarantee you, that as soon as your baby will feel the warmth of your body and that you are relaxed, your nipple will be found and grasped with confidence. Do not forget we are as rest of the mammals and regarding that, I have never seen mother elephant taking lessons on how to lactate.
Social pressure and political correctness have increased a lot in recent time. I have witnessed many times in public that baby was spazzing from hunger and its mum was panicking looking for the solution. Despite the fact that we live in a large promiscuity and sexual freedom, public breastfeeding evokes negative feelings and waves of inappropriate comments. Luckily a number of social campaigns and education are slowly changing this outdated perception. Brest feeding is one of the most natural behaviours and should be popularised. More and more public places allow the mother to feed, giving her favourable conditions and a pinch of privacy.
A sense of own convenience may be the key for some mothers. Sometimes it can be even more important than some risk in baby’s health. It’s scientifically proven that people who were breastfed (at least between 6-12 months) are showing the higher response of immune system on many ailments, including viral infections and allergies.
All of us experience various emotions and may have different approaches to pregnancy and parenthood. However, there is no doubt that also all of us want the best things happening to their children. Sometimes we lack knowledge, other time we just may need a little bit more of self-confidence, but for sure, we have to remember, that having a baby and nursing it is the most human, natural and instinctive behaviour. No one else, but mother knows her baby's need the most and is able to predict its requirements. So, don't let others put you under pressure, but relay on your gut instinct, making sure at the same time, that you are researching and educating yourself with the greatest benefit to your whole family.