Speaking of breastfeeding, if you are to believe your Instagram feeds, any number of Hollywood films, or your mother-in-law, breastfeeding comes as naturally to all moms as the air we breathe. However, talk to most of your friends who are moms and you’ll find out that breastfeeding for lots of women is as unnatural as it gets.
“I wasn’t prepared for the pressure to breastfeed nor the learning curve associated with it,” says Alice Black, mom of two. Also something you may not know? How much pain your nipples will be in. “What took me completely by surprise was my nipples turning into hamburger meat,” Black says. “The nurses suggested I prepare before birth by gently massaging the nipples while in the shower so they would become tougher. In my case, I believe being dragged behind a car on pavement would have been more appropriate preparation given the sorry state and pain I was in for the first 10 days of breastfeeding.”
But whether it's that the baby doesn’t latch on, you get mastitis (and if you do, we feel your broken-glass pain), your milk supply is low, you just can’t get the hang of doing it in public or you’re going back to work and can’t imagine fitting in the time to do all that pumping—you are not alone in finding that a lovely way to nourish your baby is not always the best way for you, or even a feasible one. Recent studies show that breastfeeding isn’t necessarily more beneficial in the long term for babies compared to those who were fed formula.