Let's be real, breastfeeding can be a total pain in the boob!
...while often taking an emotional toll on your soul when it goes wrong. Just ask any mom!
From calloused nipples, to engorged cup-sizes, breast feeding is not every woman's cup of tea. However, society will certainly make it feel like it should be.
Don't get it twisted: The pros of a mother's breast milk are endless. Besides the physical health benefits that come with exchanging your strong antibodies with your little human, the emotional bond from such an exchange is one that many moms consider to be priceless.
Recently, actress and The Real co-host Tamara Mowry-Housley opened up about her breastfeeding experience with her five-month old daughter, Ariah Talea. Elated that her second go round at feeding was much smoother than when she had her son Aden, the mother of two blogged about it on her personal site:
"It’s incredible how different one child can be from the next, and how much easier it can be the second time around. Of course, we’ve got a long way to go. But all the experiences I’ve had with Aden as a baby have definitely taught me so much, making things like breastfeeding much more enjoyable with Ariah.
With Aden, breastfeeding was hard. It didn’t come as naturally as we’re meant to believe. Aden wasn’t latching properly, which meant I experienced soreness, my nipples were callused and I was in pain for about 8 weeks. I was having a hard time keeping up my supply of milk and it was taking a major emotional toll on me. All this in the midst of things I had to learn and research as a new mom – it was important to know, for example that I needed to eat right while breastfeeding to give my baby what he needed. (What we eat can even contribute to whether or not the baby gets colic.) There was just so much to learn, and so much I wanted to be able to do. I wanted so desperately to breastfeed that when it didn’t seem like a viable option, I broke down. But I was determined not to give up."
For those who don't know, "latching" is a young child's ability to properly grasp their mothers breast and areola in such a way that is effective for eating. Many non-moms, or new-moms, assume that breast-to-baby equals immediate mealtime, but this is far from the case. Not only because quite often your baby is too young to know how to instinctively feed themselves, but also because sometimes our own breasts are our worst enemy!
Tamera continued to detail Aden's issues with latching, as well as the progress that comes with getting the latch down pact!
"I know I’m not the only woman to have felt this way. In fact, I didn’t have it as bad as some women do. Breastfeeding can come easy and it can be nearly impossible. There are a ton of reasons for this, but the one that affected me was Aden’s latch. It took some time, but I finally learned how to get the right latch, and then breastfeeding was much easier. Let me tell you you, if breastfeeding is important to you, do not leave the hospital unless you’ve had the right latch with your baby!
When it came time to breastfeed Ariah, I have to admit I was a little worried. I wanted to be sure that I could give her my antibodies, feed her nutrients and give her enough of my milk to help prevent her from getting sick. Thankfully my worries were unwarranted. I took everything I learned from my experience with Aden and Ariah had the perfect latch from day one. The nurses even commented that they wished Ariah could teach the other babies there! Lol."
Tamera went on to discuss the bond between her and her baby girl:
"Where breastfeeding with Aden was challenging, with Ariah it’s been unbelievable. I can’t fully express how it actually feels, but the bond it’s building between us is amazing. I cherish every second I can sit down and feed her. It’s our private time together, and I really find it so relaxing. It makes me feel good to know that I can give her everything that her body needs, and I plan to do so until she’s one year. And women must do what’s right for their baby–which can include bottle feeding of course. In that case, I’ve discovered that Gentle Gerber formula is best!
I’ve learned to trust my baby. I hope hearing my story will help any new mommas out there!"
According to WebMd, some of the amazing healthy and economical pros of breastfeeding include:
- It's free and always available (formula can cost an upwards of $4 an ounce)
- It contains active infection-fighting white blood cells and natural chemicals that give increased protection against infections in the first months, when these can be the most serious.
- It can help prevent SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- It contains the perfect proportion of nutrients that your baby needs, including protein, carbohydrates, fat, and calcium.
- It is easily digestible.
- It may protect against allergies and asthma in the future.
- It may decrease a baby's risk of obesity in the future.
- It may contain some fatty acids that promote brain development.
- Breastfeeding can help new mothers lose weight more easily (with some OB-GYN's claiming that a day of breastfeeding can burn as many calories as a 7-mile walk. Now you wonder why some moms have an incredible attack of "snapback" when they come out looking better than pre-pregnancy!
What I can admire about Tamera's recount on breastfeeding (as a woman who hopes to have children in the future, and just as a woman overall) is that for one reason or another, the very fact that breastfeeding comes harder for most women than others is like a taboo, and hardly anyone speaks on it. It's as though a ladies' failure to breastfeed with ease is the equivalent of a shameful secret, as if such a thing makes us less of a woman because of it. And because of that, we often feel alone when it happens to us.
In actuality, many women, both young and older mothers, have issues with either producing milk, getting their babies to latch or both. Lack-tation (see what I did there?) can actually be the common result of blocked milk ducts or Mastitis, aka the inflammation of the breast which can result in your breast milk's duct being blocked. And no woman is safe from it either!
During a recent discussion, some of our very own staff revealed their experiences with breastfeeding:
"I personally didn’t breastfeed because my crazy son got freaked out every time I pulled out my boob. He just refused to latch, so we didn’t force it. But we should have stuck with it, because there are a ton of benefits to breastfeeding. I applaud any mom who can do it." -Joy
"I didn't breastfeed for long because I stopped producing milk after two weeks. If I'm being honest I didn't mind though because that process, for me, was very painful. I cried every time. Which could've been due to my lack of milk supply, but I used to hate having to get up in the middle of the night just to be in pain. Then when I had to stop I received so much backlash from people and it was like why are you yelling at me? I didn't have an option! As they spewed their facts and health knowledge about why its the best thing in the world.
There are some people who breastfeed and make it seem like if you don't you're a horrible mom and the only way to bond with a child is through breastfeeding. Have literally heard people say this and its discouraging because its not true." -Ashleigh
"God bless the women who breastfeed–I did it for a month the first go round (and oddly, stopped producing) and not at all the second time. I 100% agree that it isn't easy, and although my experienced sucked, I fully advocate for it.
As far as the emotional trauma that comes with it, a lot of it has to do with other moms who shame parents (I've been through it–side eye) or understanding that the benefits are so key for your baby's development and not being able to produce enough milk. The blame game is real on the latter & some Mommies don't realize that sometimes, there's nothing you can do. It's not your fault." -Erica
Breastfeeding-shaming is also a huge and unfortunate part of women feeling the pressure to breastfeed, even if it's not the best for their baby or even their body. The crazy thing is, there are more than a few dangers associated with breastfeeding, with the most common one being "thrush,"--a yeast infection of the nipple and/or breast. It’s the result of a fungus that thrives on milk on the nipples and/or in the milk ducts. Your baby can get it, too. In fact, you can pass it back and forth to each other. So not everything is for everybody. Only each individual mom, with the possible further assist of a physician, nurse or experienced woman in her life, knows what is best for her baby and her body.
And although I don't entirely agree with feeding your tot a tit once they are able to chew into steak (as Erica pointed out, "the woman I worked with in a hospital said her baby bit her nipple off and she had to get it sown back on-- HELL nahhh!) every mom is different. Some only care to breastfeed up until the baby's first birthday, while some mom's will feed their kid way into their first day of preschool.
Either way, breastfeeding is an option that most mom's feel is a right they should have to decide upon!
What are your thoughts on breastfeeding and how was your experience?