(image from National Geographic)
As a professional, educating mothers and their family’s about the importance of breastfeeding and human milk for human infants is a priority and a professional responsibility.
It is not about guilt.
It is inappropriate for any of us to imply directly or indirectly to any mother trying to make feeding choices that breastfeeding and formula feeding are equal.
They are not. Human milk is the superior species-specific food for Human infants. The recommended feeding hierarchy from the experts (AAP,CDC, WHO) is Breastfeeding, expressed milk from baby’s mother, expressed donor milk then properly prepared infant formula.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding are NOT Overstated as articles currently circling social media would like you to think……
However– There are many moms confused, afraid or unsure.
Please don’t be feeling guilty. Educate yourself and make feeding choices which are right for you.
All or most of this discussion is NOT directed at any mother who tried to breastfeed under any circumstance and wasn’t able to at all or wasn’t able to fulfill her individual goals. I applaud all your efforts for trying to give your baby the best food you could. I am so sorry that you experienced the difficulties you have. Your situation is not what this discussion is about.
I am trying to encourage moms to make informed educated feeding choices and then not feel guilt about their decisions.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing!
It is the recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding during an infants first 6 months. If that doesn’t seem feasible to you, then your baby can still benefit from however much or however long you can breastfeed of provide breastmilk. I think that in today’s world, we give a mother all this education about what she should do and then we don’t have all the right support systems in place to really help her!
Here’s what I have found
- Today’s mom is connected to the internet, information and friends by phone, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube and “checks in” at least 5 or more times per day.
- The education process to a lot of mothers needs to be in small doses (140 characters of less), sensitive to her unique learning abilities, her cultural beliefs and practices and most importantly, her choices and individual breastfeeding goals.
- With that in mind, try to provide her with the information she needs to make her decision.
- Never overestimate a mother’s desire to breastfeed her infant.
- Never underestimate a mother’s desire to breastfeed her infant.
- Listen to the mother; help her define her true desires and goals.
- Many times, the first question she asks may not be what she really wants to ask.
- The mother’s individual breastfeeding goals, how she defines them, how important they are to her and how she relates them to her actual breastfeeding experience all help define how she measures success.
- Support the mother, support the mother, and support the mother.
HOWEVER SHE NEEDS OR WANTS