What If You Couldn’’t Breastfeed?



Fedwa Lahlou gives her take on the question

Breastfeeding: it is natural in many cultures, including our own. So much so, that this creates significant pressure on mothers who do not breastfeed. There is only one thing to say: ladies, stop feeling guilty! You do not have to justify yourselves. For if breastfeeding is a right, it is also a personal choice.

What if it wasn’t meant to be?
There are perverse effects to any action that is taken to the extreme. In a pro-breastfeeding society, women who are not able to breastfeed may feel incomplete. Those who choose the bottle don’t dare say it aloud for fear of being judged.

For those who have tried and weren’t successful, it can be more difficult. There are women who don’t produce enough milk, suffer repeat instances of mastitis, deep fissures, bleeding, etc. Medication may temporarily require these mothers to stop breastfeeding, and this downtime may sometimes be enough for the baby to reject the breast.

Science has produced solutions, such as pills to increase lactation, cortisone ointments for chapped nipples, support by lactation consultants, and medication. The objective is always the same: to help mothers succeed in this natural act, thanks to techniques and medications. But at what cost?

What of a mother’s self-confidence?
Certainly, breast milk is the ideal sustenance for babies in most cases, but it is only responding to a physiological need. What your child needs most is your love. Whether you choose to breast- or bottle-feed, as long as you pass on all the affection you have towards him, and that you lavish him with all the care necessary for normal child development, he will be fine.

As a society, we must ask ourselves the following questions: when do we reassure mothers about their abilities? Who told them that breastfeeding is a life-and-death matter? If there is a right that we too often forget, it is that of being imperfect. Motherhood should be a pleasurable experience. So let’s swap the super-mommy costume for something more comfortable.

Here are a few interesting links and resources on the subject of breastfeeding, as well as mommy and baby’s health:

Breastfeeding Committee for Canada
La Leche League Canada

If you are a mommy and would like to share your personal breastfeeding experience, please comment below!

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