Some More Mama Guilt

I absolutely love finding articles that entirely skew the facts of breastfeeding! (I certainly hope you can read the sarcasm in that)

Once again, I’ve found an article that has entirely wrong facts about breastfeeding. Seriously! I’m amazed how many of these things make it onto the internet.

This time it comes from dailymail.co.uk and it’s titled Don’t Scold Mums Who Can’t Breastfeed. Weirdly enough, this article isn’t even about the rare phenomenon of truly not being able to breastfeed. I’m not talking about societal barriers, needing to go back to work, choosing not to breastfeed, etc. I’m saying truly medically not having the ability to breastfeed. It’s a pretty rare thing.

This article starts off with an obviously skewed point of view that women who don’t breastfeed are scolded. Personally, I have never said a bad remark to a mother who didn’t breastfeed, no matter the reason. Beyond that, it says that infant formula is not a “sub-standard choice”. Excuse me, but that’s pretty much the definition. Formula is not as good as breast milk. Period. Don’t get me wrong, formula is sufficient, but it is not as good by any means. You simply can not get the same antibodies, perfectly rounded nutrition, and emotional benefits from formula feeding. Formula companies will continue to strive towards these things, but they will never make it there. You can not claim that formula is just as good because it can never be.

The article quickly turns from mama guilt to supposedly informational. This lady has Dr. in front of her name, so therefore she can give advice about breastfeeding, right? Wrong. Incorrect fact after incorrect fact. Let’s break it down.

Q. How long should you breastfeeding for?

This is an individual choice. It is reasonable to breastfeed until weaning at four to six months but many women carry on for longer, even past one year. Those who have been urged to breastfeed as it can be beneficial in families with atopy  –  eczema, asthma and hay fever  –  are recommended to feed for the first six months.

No, Every. Single. Mother. is recommended to breastfeed for the first six months. I don’t know if England has a national pediatric association like America, but I’m guessing if they do their recommendation isn’t too far off. AAP says 6 months exclusively. WHO (which encompasses the whole world by the way) also says 6 months exclusively. The associations say to continue for at least 1 year and 2 years respectively. This is the first I’ve heard of any recommendation that only if you have certain hereditary diseases that you should breastfeed longer. How about we all just breastfeed longer because that will make healthier people in general?

Q. Who can help with breastfeeding?

Midwives and health visitors are a good place to start and there may be a breastfeeding clinic in your local health centre. The National Childbirth Trust has a helpline. The most useful advice often comes from a friend who has breastfed.

In an ideal world, this would be true. Sadly, many of your friends probably had bad experiences with breastfeeding. Many of those friends relied on advice from their pediatricians, midwives, or friends. Much of that advice was incorrect. One of the main problems with breastfeeding is that everyone is given bad advice. The only advice you should truly rely on is that from a lactation consultant. It’s great to go to La Leche League, ask friends, or even go to the internet (given it’s a trusted site) for small problems, but if you’re having real issues you need to get a lactation consultant immediately.

Q. What is mastitis?

It is an infection in the breast that occurs during breast-feeding. It causes flu-like symptoms with a red, hard lump on the breast that is tender. It can be treated with heat treatment and massage of the lump, but often it requires antibiotics.

Yes, mastitis can occur in the breast of breastfeeding moms. It does not always occur as I would say this article is implying. Actually, it doesn’t happen for most moms. Not to mention that she doesn’t even mention plugged ducts, which are pretty much a lesser version of mastitis. And she doesn’t mention that increasing nursing helps mastitis.

It’s impossible to combat all of the misinformation that’s spread through the internet. It’s incredible that this stuff even gets published when it’s such obviously bad advice. What really ruffles my feathers is how many moms will follow this bad advice unknowingly because she slapped the title Dr. in front of her name. Of course, this isn’t the only bad breastfeeding article on the internet. It doesn’t take much searching to find them and they’re full of lies. So keep spreading the truth and hopefully we’ll be heard over the noise of lies.

Please go comment on that article. Please tell moms not to rely on internet articles for their breastfeeding advice. Please help other moms not fall victim of these booby traps.

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