4 Breastfeeding 'Facts' That Make Nursing Feel Impossible​

I am in love with breastfeeding my 3-week-old newborn. I feel empowered by the fact that he has gained weight because I am fueling him (and myself!) with healthy foods. There are times -- specifically at 3 a.m. -- when I am beyond grateful I can stick a breast in his face and magically cure a fussy spell. Who knew breasts were a lot like baby catnip?!

But let me be clear about something: I'm also as critical about breastfeeding as I am about anything else a large group of people claim is the bee's knees. Many women who have nursed understand that it doesn't always come naturally. As wonderful as it is, it can also hurt and be exhausting. Add in the fact that there are a few "facts" that are, quite frankly, super difficult to abide by, and -- if you're anything like me -- you may just consider throwing in the breastfeeding towel to preserve your sanity.


Here are 4 breastfeeding facts touted by experts that make me want to quit nursing and load up on formula:

1. You should only give morning-pumped breast milk in the morning and night-pumped breast milk at night. Fascinating fact: your milk is different at different times of the day. In the morning, it apparently gives babies an energizing lift. Then it has the complete opposite effect on them at night, when it contains "calming chemical compounds."

That's all well and good, but do experts realize how much time and effort it takes to pump at various times of the day so that you can store enough milk for morning, noon, and night? Not to mention the fact that you'll have to label each bag accordingly -- which is like asking a fatigued new mom to solve a trig equation while piloting a plane.

2. The health benefits of breastfeeding may have been exaggerated. We've all heard that "breast is best," but some studies now show that hormones, and not breastfeeding, determine the heath of a baby. Asthma and allergies are also reportedly not less prevalent in breastfed bodies as we once thought. And why is it that my baby has to take a TriViSol supplement? My formula-fed toddler has been sick three times in almost three years -- obviously, there’s a lot more that contributes to a child’s health other than breastfeeding.

3. Don't even think about supplementing with formula. Oh wait, now researchers are saying I should supplement? Oh no, I shouldn't now? Well, which is it?! Trying to keep up with the supplement debate is like watching a tennis match. The answer shifts so suddenly, you never seem to know what you should do. It's easy to resort to formula on days when you feel like your baby is going through a major growth spurt and wants to just feed, feed, feed. But it sucks to wake up and feel bad about yourself the next morning.

4. Don't let your newborn breastfed baby use a pacifier because he may experience “nipple confusion.” So, my options are a) lose even more sleep trying to get him to calm down enough to rest before his next feeding; b) let him use my breast as a binky -- uh, ouch!; or c) provide a pacifier and risk the dreaded "nipple confusion" that haunts all breastfeeding moms everywhere.

Maybe some breastfeeding "rules" were made to be broken?

Have you ever wanted to give up breastfeeding? What do you find most difficult about it?


Image via Daniel Lobo/Flickr

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