In the past few days, there has been an Instagram post from an Australian reality star, detailing her downsides to breastfeeding. More information Here
This post from her rings with the ‘Happy mum – happy baby’ mantra and whilst some women live and die by this, personally, it is not a phrase that sits well with me. It implies that you are putting yourself and your own well-being before that of your child’s; this defenceless human whom is reliant on their parents is set to the back burner so that mum can be happy.
I’m not going to lie because parenting can be damn hard work sometimes and breastfeeding can too. But breastfeeding is, for the majority of women; not the reason for difficulties in parenting. For most the act of breastfeeding and being able to connect to their child actually, has the opposite effect and can make them feel that they are doing something right, like they are being the best parent they can be and that their baby or child is comforted by this simple act of a cuddle and milk. Of course, this isn’t always the case, you can’t be expected to enjoy something all the time but the rush of hormones during the act of breastfeeding would conclude that this in itself is an act of love and happiness.
The issue I find that a lot of women take up with breastfeeding is that they feel they have no freedom, or that they cannot do anything without their baby. Whilst in the early days, weeks or even months, this can be true; over time it does get easier to let other people and your child spend time together, to be able to go out with friends and not have to worry about your baby. As they get older, they are still reliant on you, regardless as to whether you continue breastfeeding or not. You are their mother, breastfeeding does not change that.
After a while, most babies are willing to spend time with their other parent, grandparents or a close friend without too much fuss and once they are on food, it can be a little easier to pop out without them.
But I digress, the issue that I take with this specific post is that she has blamed breastfeeding for what in itself, seems to be a lack of support. There are ways in which a breastfeeding mother can be supported to overcome the issues that this woman has put claimed as the downside to breastfeeding. Many of these are just adjusting the ways in which you do things, or buying something that will make your life a little easier without jeopardising the breastfeeding relationship between you and your child.
Posts like these are unfortunately, a little scaremongering for new mums. They can make them feel isolated and worried about what the future holds regarding breastfeeding their child. For these women, it is important to make them aware that this is a minority. With the correct support and information, many women do not feel like this nor do they take these reasons to mean their breastfeeding journey should be coming to an end.
If you are new to breastfeeding, know that it does get better and keep on boobin’!