Why do we need support to breast feed?





We were driving back from our friend’s place today which was about 275 kms from home. The drive was quiet as we hoped the silence would encourage the kids in the back to sleep, but no, they were tired but decided against it. Because we were down the country, our car radio didn’t pick any proper radio station and there were no music CDs in our car so there was no music.

Probably the silence made us think and P (husband) started a conversation…

“When did you first meet her?”

“Two years ago when she came to Florence”

“So how many years have you known her before that and where did you meet her?”

“Oh that, I know her from Extended breastfeeding support Ireland group, and that was way before BSIM started, nearly five years ago when I was in India.”

“Why does breastfeeding need support? Isn’t it natural?”

This is a very sensitive topic for me. I wish I had more support when I was breastfeeding.

“Yes, it is natural. But it is not easy. Every breastfeeding woman needs support from family, friends and everyone around”

“That is what I am asking, why does a mother need support?”

“Well, just because it was easy for and I didn’t show signs of struggling doesn’t mean it is easy.”

“Don’t tell me there are problems in every family, how can you even generalise it?”

“I would like you to check BSIM posts for a day – just 24 hours. There are 60,000+ members, there is a question every few minutes and I can tell you there are a whole pile of questions involving no support from family, friends and doctors. How formula is being pushed”

“That can’t be true”

“Yes, it is true. Plus why do you think a woman does not need support even if nobody is pushing formula?”

“What kind of support will she need?”

“Well for a start, a woman’s body goes through physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy and that affects her emotions as well. She might have just delivered her baby, she might or might not have information about cluster feeding, growth spurts, pee counts and a whole pile of things. She might have had a bad tear having her baby, she could be still suffering from the medicines/painkillers she has been given for labor, she could have had a C-section and might need physical support, she is not allowed to drive in the first week for normal delivery and 6 weeks for a C-section that shows how bad her body has been affected. She could be going through mastitis, engorgement, leaky breast, blocked ducts, milk blisters, doubts of her own supply created by cluster feeding and growth spurts, latch problems, cracked nipples, flat nipples, inverted nipples, people trying to put fear in her about big/small breasts, postpartum depression, family wanting to give formula, doctors putting fear saying baby has low birth weight or baby is not gaining weight, people asking if she has enough supply. With Indian families, things could be worse, no support to nurse in public, many women are just not even allowed to come out of the room or eat anything beyond a certain diet. Many myths take over and the poor woman who has just had a baby is forced to follow a hundred and one things that can create more problem to her than help.”

I hope that helped him realise how difficult it can get for mothers. And how easy going I was of course 😉


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