‘Just One Big Guilt Trip,’ Mothers Say Of Breastfeeding Professionals

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breastfeedingThe World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all mommies exclusively breastfeed their babes for six months. But this “ideal,” erected for the health of the baby, is apparently being so tersely advocated by hospital lactation experts that many mothers just feel “heartbroken” and guilty when they fall short.

Shocking, I know.

Some research out of Scotland, comprised of 220 interviews with 36 women, 26 partners, eight of the women’s mothers, one sister and two health experts, revealed that these new mothers felt pressured and “unconfident” in response to the coaching. Others described the professional assistance in hospitals as “just one big guilt trip.” The Guardian reports that researchers found a “mismatch between idealism and realism” when it came to encouraging these mothers to stick to the six-month mark. The study authors eventually concluded that:

“Adopting idealistic global policy goals like exclusive breastfeeding until six months as individual goals for women is unhelpful.”

Prior research — and a simple gander around — reveal that many new mothers cannot breastfeed for a variety of reasons that include pain, low milk production, and personal comfort. And, of course, some ladies prefer not, or physically cannot, be on that two-hour feeding schedule. Especially when their partners and other family members are there to help out with that newborn:

All the women in the study intended to breastfeed and were keen to try, but the researchers found a range of views emerged, including that families saw sharing the responsibility of feeding as an opportunity for fathers and grandparents to bond with the baby.

New mothers need helpful, informative guidance over this delicate issue — not judgemental variations of their mother-in-law staring down their boob. The study may be tiny, but the findings allude to a much broader problem among new mothers in which an inability to breastfeed somehow automatically deducts major mommy points — and the kid only just got here.