It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and that means taking time to celebrate the beauty of breastfeeding–but it also means recognizing that breastfeeding is hard, and it doesn’t work for everyone. You probably know by now that there’s a prominent stigma against women who doesn’t breastfeed their babies, and we think now is the perfect time to talk about it.
We asked our Instagram followers about their breastfeeding experiences, and the results were mixed. About half of women said they had trouble getting baby to latch, and nearly 50% said that they found breastfeeding to be a difficult and unpleasant experience.
Everyone’s experience with breastfeeding is so different, and those split results didn’t surprise us all that much. But what really shocked us was this:
Do you think there’s a stigma against women who don’t breastfeed?
81% of you said yes–there is a stigma.
Why is this stigma so pervasive? Why does the judgement for and against breastfeeding mothers cut so deep? What causes us to criticize others for their personal decisions?
The truth of the matter is this: breastfeeding is beneficial for mothers and babies, but it’s not necessary for a healthy baby. For some women, breastfeeding isn’t an option, and they choose to formula feed. There are so many reasons why mothers may choose to formula feed their babies, so we won’t bother to list them all here…because we shouldn’t have to. No mother should feel the need to justify her decision to anyone but herself.
Let’s turn it over to some Baby2Body mamas who shared the highs and lows of their breastfeeding journeys. For some they were blissful, for many they were incredibly challenging, and for most they were a combination of the two. Here’s how real women describe this “labor of love:”
For some of you, it’s been a joyful experience
Breastfeeding my baby is the best feeling ever.
Amazing! I’m loving every minute. The bond with my baby girl is magical.
It’s been wonderful! I love the connection with my baby.
But for some of you, it’s been incredibly challenging
It’s been painful and frustrating for both of us.
This experience definitely contributed to postnatal depression.
I’m trying to re-lactate my baby after he went on a nursing strike. It’s been rough.
I feel full of guilt. I don’t find it magical and constantly have formula moms telling me they’re jealous of my ability to breastfeed.
My milk never came in. I felt like a failure of a mother.
Many of you said that breastfeeding has had its highs and lows
It’s been a labor of love. I’ve had multiple cases of mastitis and cracked nipples but I’ve made it a whole year!
Hard work. Rewarding. when I think of stopping I feel a lot of guilt.
With my first, it was very traumatic. She had a tongue tie. Once released, it was lovely!
Can you relate to any of these? Share your experience with us over on our Instagram!