The topic of breastfeeding gets a lot of people riled up and upset. It can make the mom who had no milk emotional over the fact that a mom who had a plentiful supply stopped nursing after four weeks. (While some think, What a waste!)
It can also make the mom who never tried regret she didn't. (Gasp!) And it's those moms, the moms who look back on the early days of motherhood and wish they did things differently, the moms who didn't nurse at all or who stopped early, those are the moms I wish would speak up more and help new moms so they don't feel that same regret. I hear a lot of women talk about how they wish they breastfed longer. Or didn't breastfeed at all and wish they tried. We can learn from those women if we let them speak.
And to share experiences, people need to feel safe; they need to feel that they aren't being judged. Got that? I hope so.
There are a lot of things that can derail breastfeeding -- everything from a traumatic birth to just not having enough support. There are even moms who thought breastfeeding just wasn't for them who later regretted that they never tried.
The thing with giving birth and the immediate moments and days following it is that we can't go back in time and change what we did at that time. No matter how much we wish we could return to that amazing time. Or even that frighteningly life-threatening time. We have to move ahead and not live with the terrible burden of regret. And we can turn that regret into helping others. (See? Helping others is GOOD for everyone!)
A woman I know told me that she wishes she asked for more help when trying to breastfeed her first child. I know another who, because everyone in her family always gave their babies formula, she thought that was the only way to go.
The key is opening up to others, seeking help, trying to soak in as much information out there that you can, and then making the best decision for you. And even if you feel you didn't do things the way you should have, you can help others. Every experience a new mom has with breastfeeding can truly help other women.
I'll share mine. I knew I wanted to breastfeed my twins. When I was pregnant, I thought, I'll try to make it to 6 months mostly because all I heard was how hard it was. It's been 14 months and I don't want to stop nursing my twins. The early weeks were challenging at times, but it just got easier. I wish to breastfeed longer. I'm glad I didn't scare myself out of it and that I stuck with it.
So leave a comment or take this anonymous survey -- Do you wish you breastfed longer? If you did, what happened to make you stop? What do you wish you knew then that you do now? Breastfeeding moms and non-breastfeeding moms, what words can you share to help other moms?
Question: Do you wish you breastfed longer?
Total Votes: 47
Total Votes: 47
Image via Raphael Goetter/Flickr