A mother knows. (Or does she?)
These lines capture the gist perfectly in my view:
And each one has a different context - physically, mentally, financially, emotionally, socially. To assign one prescriptive model of birthing, feeding, raising children to all is not just myopic, it is cruel.
There is way too much pressure on moms and moms to be. A magical awareness that supposedly transcends into their soul and makes them superior to others (read - uniform). I love what you are up to here Mahima. Uncles and aunties will not course correct but am sure everyone who reads this definitely be more aware. Thank you for this.
When my first child was born, I spent a month in agony trying to figure out how to breastfeed my baby without horrible pain. I called some random lactation help number in desperation. Half an hour later there was a women in my apartment teaching me how to latch my baby correctly... what a God send! She also gave me many helpful tips about how to keep my supply up, mostly staying hydrated.
I was lucky to have the support of my close family and friends.
Within a few days my nipples healed and I was able to breastfeed my little girl comfortably.
I write all of this to say, most of the women in these stories have little to no support from their loved ones. For me, the support I received made ALL the difference.
Breasrmilk is healthier then formula. From a scientific standpoint nobody can argue that the substitute is better the the real thing. That being said, formula is an amazing invention that saves lives, and can free a women from being forced to stay home if she doesn't want to. I personally enjoy being a stay at home mom but I respect that isn't for everyone.
It's terrible that so many women don’t have enough support to just have a baby in peace and feed that baby without all the stress and judgment from others, especially other women.
It's not the breastfeeding that is the problem, it's the lack of support others give to women. Whether that women wants to breastfeed their baby, or wants to formula feed, they should be able to have all the information to make an informed decision, then the personal support of their loved ones whatever that decision is.
Your body makes the perfect food for your baby, but if breastfeeding is making you crazy or depressed feeling that is not best for your relationship with your baby.
I was going to ask you to write on this :) In my view the whole "all mothers have enough milk for their baby, they just need to keep trying" is such BS. Majority of the women i have met have had issues in supply and have undoubtedly faced judgement as well as experienced guilt because of this. This needs to go. We also need to counter the whole "Breastfeeding is free" myth - yeah its free if the mom's time and often associated discomfort is free. Yes breastfeeding should be encouraged but not at the cost of a mother's mental health. It should be entirely the other's prerogative to decide whether to breastfeed/ how much/ till when.
This is such an important article. Women does not instinctively know what to do. I certainly didn't. And "What to Expect when you area Expecting" didn't quite cover it either. I struggled, I felt frustrated, but looking back, I was lucky there were no women around me, so I could not be shamed.