It’s World Breastfeeding Week! This week is designed to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding worldwide. It’s celebrated annually from August 1-7 and organizations worldwide participate to note the important role breastfeeding plays in the wellbeing of both the baby and the birthing person.
And if you know me, you know I’m a total breastfeeding advocate (within reason) and some even call me the boob whisperer. I’m a certified lactation counselor and my goal is to always provide you with a stress-free approach to meeting your goals.
During World Breastfeeding Week, I’ll be sharing all kinds of content over on my Facebook and Instagram pages about breastfeeding and its benefits. So be sure to follow along. You may even hear from some of my favorites about their breastfeeding journeys (or lack thereof) because you know what? Not all journeys look the same and that is okay.
Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t work out. Sometimes you can only pump. And some babies won’t take anything but the bottle. Some journeys last for years, while others only last for months. Some find it easy and some find it to be the hardest thing they’ve ever done.
So while we’re going to be celebrating breastfeeding, we’re also going to be keeping it real by talking about the hard stuff too. The stuff that people often gloss over or feel too ashamed to mention. I’m all for breastfeeding when it works out for everyone, but if it doesn’t? I’m way more into finding something that does work.
In my book, fed is best – no matter what that looks like for your family.
So in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to talk about the other side of breastfeeding that doesn’t get much coverage – the shitty stuff. The emotional toll it takes on parents. The tears that are cried. The pain. The frustration.
Yes, breastfeeding is beautiful. Yes, it’s good for baby and parent. But damn, it can be hard. And it’s okay to admit that. It’s okay to say that breastfeeding didn’t go as planned. Or that it wasn’t your favorite. You don’t have to be a good breastfeeder to be a good parent. In fact, you can hate it.
One thing we shy away from is the emotional toll that breastfeeding takes on parents.
So if you’re reading about the upcoming World Breastfeeding Week, know this – it’s not just you. Lots of people struggle with it and many feel mixed emotions about breastfeeding. So if you’re the kind of parent who:
- Literally cries (or has cried) over spilled milk
- Dreads the thought of the baby latching
- Hates the sound of the pump
- Is exhausted and your boobs hurt
- Has chapped nipples
- Is feeling overall touched, sucked, and pumped out
- Is exclusively breastfeeding
- Is exclusively pumping
- Is exclusively using formula
- Cringes at the thought of discussing breastfeeding
- Feels shame or guilt for not enjoying breastfeeding
- Has some PTSD over the early days of breastfeeding from leaky boobs to pain to soreness
- Experienced a mental health crisis
- Lacked support during breastfeeding
- Didn’t feed “like everyone else’
- Had a baby in the NICU
YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
Yes, breastfeeding is beautiful, but it’s not always best. There is an emotional side to feeding a baby (no matter which way you go) and it can be a lot. There are big emotions and lots of things that go into all of it.
So next time you see a World Breastfeeding Week post or a mom who is happily nursing, know that you’re not alone. Your pain, shame, and guilt are real, but it does not define you. You’re still a really, really good parent.
If you have big feelings about breastfeeding, I invite you to follow my social media pages this week as we discuss everything from pumping to formula and everything in between. I’m not going to judge you for your choices and all are welcome.
Because you know why? You’re all crushing it. No matter what it looks like!
All my love,