There are many misconceptions about breastfeeding which are still alive. As a general rule, when we decide to breastfeed, everyone always has an opinion, or the story of their mother / aunt / girlfriend / cousin to tell us…. and most of the time, it’s not really to encourage us in our milky experience.
This is pretty sad, because in our society, breastfeeding is not necessarily the easiest choice to make, while it is the most natural. It is an objective fact. Yes, I have a very clear position on breastfeeding, but the fact that we are designed for that is just a truth, it’s biological. Even today, only few mothers are lucky enough to be able to make this choice of breastfeeding in full awareness and with the right information. For some, breastfeeding quickly becomes a struggle … Many moms who stop early or do not even dare to try because they drew a table so dark that they are discouraged even before they started.
So today, I wanted to twist the neck to some very common misconceptions about breastfeeding.
- “If your baby is crying so much, it’s because your milk is not nutritious enough, it’s hungry” (or “because you do not have enough milk” )
It’s crazy how people tend to reduce babies to mere digestive tract! A baby, whatever its age, has lots of reasons to cry, and cry a lot … digestive discomfort, reflux, intense need for contact, fatigue, pain, emotional discharge, heat … It is extremely rare for a woman not to have enough milk, biologically I mean. On the other hand, it is very common for women to experience a decline in lactation due to poor breastfeeding, especially during the first 8 weeks: bad advice, introduction of bottle supplements … And bam! Confusion breast / pacifier, baby who sucks less therefore lower lactation … Decline of self-confidence of the mom as a bonus. We are biologically designed to feed our children, so to always have the right amount and quality of milk. Cases of actual lack of milk are very rare. And we also hear this argument of “not enough milk” when baby does not grow enough … This is also not true.
- “Your baby does not sleep at night because you are breastfeeding”
It comes back to the digestive tract, because often this remark is followed by a tip to give a bottle or porridge to “stall” baby. It is true that many breastfed babies often wake up at night, and perhaps more frequently than formula babies (breast milk is easier and faster to digest than infant formula). A baby sucks at night to feed of course, but not only. He may need it to comfort himself as well. What also does a non-breastfed baby … he may also need a hug, a pacifier to meet a need for sucking … In talking with moms, I realized that there are breastfed babies who make complete nights at 1 month as at 3 years … and non-breastfed babies … the same! So for me, breastfeeding has nothing to do with it. Just as we adults do not all have the same quality of sleep or the same needs, so do babies and children?
- “It will always be stuck in your legs” (or “Breastfeeding makes it associable” )
Yes, be careful if you are breastfeeding, your children will still be hanging on your legs at 18! Often, this remark is accompanied by a “cut the cord!”, it has already been cut at birth right? More seriously, breastfeeding or not, our children will become more and more independent of us … often much faster than we would like! A priori it is quite normal that a baby needs arms, comfort, contact, hugs. But, it is often suggested that breastfeeding goes against the empowerment and independence of the child. But that’s wrong. A breastfed baby will not become a less independent or less independent child than a non-breastfed baby!
- “After 6 months (or 3 months sometimes) it is no longer useful!” (Or “after 6 months your milk will not be good” )
A priori, a baby needs a milk supply ( artificial milk or breast milk) until at least 1 year … But, we must believe that from 6 months, only the artificial milk would be able to meet the needs of baby … while our breasts are still full of milk! Breast milk would have an expiry date? Why would this not have any nutritional interest for baby? We do not ask non-breastfed babies to stop milk at 6 months that I know. This received idea tends to put me a little out of me … So I’m happy to quote the WHO, who advocates exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months, and continuation, in addition to a solid diet, up to 2 years, or later.
- “Breastfeed on demand, it makes children capricious”
Besides the fact that for me, the whims do not exist, I do not understand the link between breastfeeding and “caprices” ^^ Really … I look good, I do not see how to feed his child when he is hungry, comfort him when he shows the need, make him more capricious than a child not breastfed … (excuse the terms “caprice” and “capricious”, I take again only the example).
- “It’s selfish, the father cannot participate!”
Again, we reduce the child to a digestive tract … Take care of a baby is that feed? I think that the father can take his place differently, just like the entourage. Personally, Little Girafon has never had a single bottle, Little marmot either ( and this is not planned in the program ) … so Papa Giraffe has found its place!
- “Breastfeeding for more than 6 months is unhealthy”
How is this unhealthy? I do not know … I already heard that Oedipus complex would start around 9 months … mmmh … Again, it is the relationship to the body of the woman who is concerned in the end. This body which has become, above all, a sexual object … While it is, normally, above all the one who carries the life and which nourishes this life. And then, to consider that it is unhealthy, is to admit that the baby after 6 months has a sexualized relationship within … It is a little far-fetched? By experience, I nursed Petit Girafon almost 3 years and he is not obsessed by the breasts … for him it’s just stuff that is used to give milk to his sister what! Too often, adult thoughts and attitudes are shared with children.
- “The breast is sexual above all!”
This sentence shocks me so much … because most often it is said by women! We have integrated the masculine codes of society so much that we come to say such absurdities … We can also have the right to the variant: ” it is the death of the couple “, ” your husband, the poor ” … In short. We come back to what I said above … The body of the woman considered a sexual object above all, designed to meet the fantasies and desires of these gentlemen ( oops forgiveness … the feminist is racing!). Or no. The breast initially, as for any mammal, is planned to … NOURISH! And yes! Otherwise, I do not see why we would have, with a complex network that produces milk when you have a baby … You can breastfeed and not mix everything. Breastfeed and have a life of a couple.
- “When he eats he will not want to suck you will see”
Or his variant “But uh … he does not eat real food? ”
These reflections are valid if you prolong breastfeeding beyond the 6 months allowed. Many people think that if we breastfeed for a long time, we only give it … Except that no, eh … Long-time breastfed children are as diverse as any other baby! Except that instead of drinking artificial milk or bottle-fed, they drink mother’s milk at the source.
- “Breastfeeding is really not practical!”
I think this is the vision of those who do not breastfeed, who see in the bottle a kind of freedom. Which is not wrong, since we can delegate the nurturing role. But personally, I always breastfed. I have never given a single bottle … no desire! It seems so restrictive to me! … Open the can of milk, put the right dose, add water, heat … Give the bib and do the dishes. While breastfeeding, I just have to take out the breast and presto! Always at a good temperature, baby only manages the quantity, no dishes. No need to worry when you mop right and left, the pantry is always available! And if we really want to be able to delegate and leave without a baby, the breast pump exists
In short, this is only a small sample of what can be heard … Because when we breastfeed we are quickly confronted with sexist clichés, prejudices, judgments. It is not easy to breastfeed with confidence in our society. But, if I had one thing to say to all breastfeeding moms, but often have doubts about hearing the same refrains: trust and trust your child.
I say that this article is not intended to say “breastfeeding is better!”. Everyone has their choices, which should be respected.