pregnancy questions answered
When breast feeding fails
Breast feeding is so much of a
'must do' for every new mother that if you are unable to breast feed for any
reason at all you will probably be driven to guilt by your self as well as well
meaning family members.
There are millions of women
every year who give birth and then begin breast feeding their babies. It is
natural. This is the way nature intended things to be. Books tell us everyone
can breast-feed and that it just takes some time for mother and baby to get used
to it. Add these facts to the positive affects of breast feeding and when a
mother does have problems she can become stressed and riddled with guilt.
First, let's set the record straight. Not every breast-feeding journey is
successful. Yes, this is the way our bodies are designed and, yes, mothers in
third world countries do not have a choice but to breast-feed. They also have a
higher infant mortality rate. Women who breast-feed a child who is not getting
enough milk can cause that child to become malnourished.
Problems can occur due to the infant not having a sucking reflex when he or she
is born. Sometimes, the mother's milk does not come in correctly. And, there are
times the infant will outright refuse the breast. How does a mother deal with
this, knowing it is best for her baby, but that she is unable to give her baby
The first thing to do is to keep reminding yourself you have nothing to feel
ashamed about or guilty for. You are doing the best you can for your baby. You
and your baby will bond no matter how you feed him or her. This tiny person in
your arms is going to love you even if he or she gets food from a bottle.
Breast pumps can help to a large extent for those who are unable to establish
latching and feeding. You can read more in our section on expressed breast milk.
Knowing that you are doing all
you can do is important. Do not feel guilty over something you have no control
over. Allow your self to relax and enjoy this new family member. And, keep in
mind, with bottle feeding others can help you feed and therefore give you a
break once in a while. It also means your husband can take his turns getting up
for two o'clock feedings.
Don't take joking around from family members personally. More than likely, they
don't realize how upsetting this can be and are only trying to help cheer you
up. If it gets to be too much, tell them they are hurting your feelings in a
calm way. Most of the time this will get you an apology and stop the behavior.
Most of all keep cuddling and snuggling with your new bundle of joy. Those first
smiles and coos will relieve more stress than anything will. And, keep in mind,
you have done nothing wrong and you are not alone.