I heard a quote recently that “Breastfeeding is part of mothering, not the point of mothering”. And I thought back on all of the mothers I have worked with over the years who desperately wanted to breastfeed but were running into problems; some easy to resolve, others seemingly unsurmountable complications. There have been mothers who endured sore nipples for months, breastfeeding/pumping/cup feeding around the clock, or repeated bouts of thrush or mastitis. Hero’s? Yes!
I have, at times, given a mother “permission” to supplement or to stop. Some have gratefully accepted the out, and others have done so with overwhelming guilt and sadness. Some have hung in there despite the problems. It seems some mothers have gotten the message that it is imperative to breastfeed. Exclusively breastfeed; supplement at your baby’s peril. Breastmilk is magic, to be sure. However, pushing moms to the edge is not part of mothering, and it is not the point of lactation consulting. Suggesting alternatives until we come upon the one that fits for this mom and baby is the point of lactation consulting.
We have a breastfeeding dyad here. Both must benefit physically and emotionally. What can we each do to prevent the kind of difficulties that get moms into those unsurmountable complications to start with? And what can we do to resolve them quickly? That is the point of lactation consulting.
Breastfeeding is a (REWARDING) part of mothering but, not the point of mothering!