Is breastfeeding for 6 months unrealistic for some moms?
By now, all moms know that pediatricians highly recommend that we breasfeed our babies exclusively for at least six months. While a lot of moms are totally successful at doing it for that long and beyond, a lot of moms think this recommendation is simply not realistic, as proven by one Scottish study published earlier this week.
From feeling pressured by medical professionals to breastfeed to feeling guilty about not doing it as long as recommended, the women in the study said isn't as easy as it's made out to be. The moms also complained about the lack of advice regarding breast pumps and the lack of support they got from their family. To be honest, I am not surprised and I didn't really need a study to tell me about these things because I went through them myself.
"The way it's kind of promoted sometimes, it's a lovely bonding experience and when you come home, then you feel guilty yourself because you think, well I'm not having this bonding and lovely experience, I'm having, you know, a kind of hard sore experience," one of the mothers said three weeks after she began breastfeeding.
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I know exactly what she's talking about. I felt the same way around the same time when I became a mom for the first time. Vanessa latched on immediately after she was born and it mostly seemed like things were going okay, but there were so many things that nobody told me about. I mean, I read a ton and I attended a breastfeeding class, but I think the information out there needs to be much more real.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that while I totally believe that it's one of the best gifts we can give our babies, sometimes the experience is anything but beautiful. Sometimes things don't work out the way we had hoped they would, but the pressure to continue breastfeeding is way too strong.
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I know because I felt it. I was only able to breastfeed Vanessa exclusively for three months. After that, I reluctantly started alternating with formula. I kept this up until she was five months and I switched solely to formula. But the pressure to continue breastfeeding is so strong that I can't deny I felt like a total failure!
If we want to make sure more moms go for the recommended six months, we need to lay of the pressure and be much more understanding of the realities behind breastfeeding.
What do you think? How long did you breastfeed for?
Image via sdminor81/flickr