Breastfeeding is some of the hardest work that new mothers do. Learning to feed a baby with your body all while getting used to life after birth is quite the feat. Unfortunately, there are so many things that stand in the way of establishing a positive breastfeeding relationship. Often, new mothers don't have the time or support to breastfeed their babies like they want to. Here are 10 things that make it hard for breastfeeding mothers today...
1. The flood of hospital visitors during and after the birth of the baby. Women in the US are only in the hands of professionals for a day or two before they are sent home with their new babies. Instead of entertaining visitors, new moms should be spending their time at the hospital resting, bonding with their new babies and seeking help from professional nurses and lactation consultants.
2. Misinformation about breastfeeding. Mothers are fed a wealth of misinformation about breastfeeding from friends, family, books, blogs, and even medical professionals.
3. The over sexualization of breasts. In the United States, breastfeeding is still taboo. It's totally normal to see a Victoria's Secret Super Model in a bra without batting an eye, but when we see a mother nursing her child, we better call the authorities!
4. The expectation for new moms to be ready to resume normal life just a few hours after the baby is born. New moms need to spend their first days and weeks resting and recuperating. This time is for bonding and establishing a breastfeeding relationship, NOT for doing housework or entertaining guests.
5. Less than ideal circumstances for breastfeeding in public. Babies, especially newborns, eat around the clock. That means that new moms WILL need to feed their babies while out and about. Restaurants, stores, and other businesses rarely provide an adequate space for mothers to do so. Worst of all, some businesses kick out breastfeeding mothers regardless of breastfeeding laws.
6. Misdiagnoses of tongue and lip tie. Because new moms are in the hands of professionals for such a short time, things like tongue and lip tie often go unnoticed. Missing something like this can mean weeks of painful breastfeeding or the inability to breastfeed altogether.
7. Poor maternity leave standards. The US has one of the worst maternity leave standards in the world. Many women have to go back to working full-time when their babies are just 4-6 weeks old. Oftentimes, this is not long enough for women to establish a positive breastfeeding relationship, especially when they have to rely on pumping and getting their baby used to a bottle.
8. Lack of support for working mothers. Many employers do not offer women time or space to pump milk during the day. When women are unable to express milk frequently, they are unable to maintain a good supply of breast milk
9. Hospital freebies and convenient marketing. As soon as mothers give birth, formula companies start bombarding them with gifts and bribes to use their products. Hospitals pass out cans of formula. Coupons are sent in the mail by the hundreds. Everywhere a new mother turns, breastfeeding seems impossible.
10. The expectation for women to immediately lose weight after childbirth. There is so much pressure on women to lose weight and diet and get rid of any sign that they carried life inside them, immediately after delivery. After birth, breastfeeding mothers need extra calories. They need a nourishing diet of healthy produce and good fats to maintain a solid milk supply for their baby.