Well, it's been just over three weeks since Breastfeeders Anonymous was published and I thought perhaps it was time I posted an extract from the book. One of my favourite features of the book is the loads of myths about breastfeeding that are busted!
I think part of the problem when some people experience difficulties breastfeeding is that they expect it to be different from what it actually is... a lot of this is (I believe) because of the myths that are doing the rounds.
Below is just one of the myths busted in the book... I'd love to hear your experiences of how breastfeeding differed to what you expected.
The majority of mums believe this the biggest breastfeeding myth of all. A survey in the U.K. (2004) found that 95% of women (who had not yet breastfed) believed that breastfeeding came naturally.[i] This scary statistic sets up high hopes and expectations, which are often unrealistic. Breastfeeding is natural, but it does not necessarily come naturally. In her book Breastfeeding with Confidence, Sue Cox explains that the natural part of breastfeeding is ‘making the milk.’ The process of breastfeeding often takes weeks to establish, which is perfectly ‘natural.’
Breastfeeding is also often referred to as an ‘art’, which I believe is misleading. An art requires talent and no matter how hard you persevere, if you don’t have some kind of talent, your art will not be up there with Picasso’s. For breastfeeding this is not the case. Breastfeeding does not require talent and it does not always come naturally, but it is almost always possible with a lot of determination, perseverance, education and support.
Pregnant women who realize this before they begin their breastfeeding journey will be better prepared for obstacles that may arise and be more likely to overcome them. The best way to get ready for breastfeeding is to arm yourself by learning as much as you can about what’s ‘normal’, what’s not, and proper techniques for positioning and attachment. It’s also good to watch as many other women breastfeeding as you can. This helps to immerse you in the whole experience and feel at one with the sisterhood of breastfeeders.
The biggest factor in succeeding is your frame of mind. Research shows that women who make the decision to breastfeed while they are pregnant are far more likely to succeed than those who don’t even bother to think about it. If you believe strongly in the importance of breastfeeding and have confidence in your body’s ability to nourish your child, you will most likely succeed.
[i] Meickle, James. ‘Myths’ Stop Women Breastfeeding, in The Guardian. 10 May 2004.