It’s common for an expectant mother to feel worried about breastfeeding.
This is especially true if she has heard lots of horror stories about breastfeeding.
Often we only hear about the negatives of breastfeeding, such as damaged nipples, repeated bouts of mastitis, thrush, and so on.
The truth is, although breastfeeding is natural, it’s also a learned skill.
And, like all new skills, breastfeeding can take some time to get the hang of.
Worried About Breastfeeding? 5 Things You Should Know
Many mothers experience early breastfeeding challenges, but with the right information and support most are able to overcome them, and go on to breastfeed for as long as they, and their infants, want to.
To put your mind at rest about breastfeeding, here are 5 things you should know:
#1: Most Mothers Can Make Enough Milk For Their Babies
A common concern among mothers is whether they can make enough milk for their babies.
Fortunately, most mothers can. Getting breastfeeding off to the best start possible is the first step to building and maintaining a good supply.
You can read more about helping get breastfeeding off to a great start in our article Before The First Breastfeed – 12 Things You Need To Know.
Once breastfeeding is off to a good start, if milk is removed well and often (usually by feeding your baby according to her own individual needs), you can continue to make all the milk your baby needs.
Find out more in How Does Breastfeeding Work? An Explanation.
If your supply is low, speak to a lactation consultant, who can help you work out ways to increase it.
Even ongoing difficulties with low supply don’t mean you can’t continue to breastfeed. Using a breastfeeding supplementer could be the answer.
#2: Early Nipple Pain Is Usually Resolved
In the early weeks, when her baby initially attaches, it’s common for a mother to experience some nipple pain. As each week passes, most women find nipple pain begins to reduce.
It’s important to seek advice from a breastfeeding specialist, such as a lactation consultant, if you experience these difficulties:
- Nipple pain that doesn’t cease after the initial attachment – usually after about the first 20 seconds
- Nipple pain after feeds
- Your nipple looks creased or dented after a feed
- There are any other signs of damage.
#3: Breastfeeding In Public Is Supported By Australian Federal Law
Some mothers worry about breastfeeding in public. They might even wonder whether they’re allowed to do so.
Under federal law in Australia, breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege. Prohibiting a mother from breastfeeding is against the law. It’s also illegal to discriminate against a mother on the grounds she is breastfeeding.
Remember, the more mothers who breastfeed in public, the more visible breastfeeding will be, and the more normal it will become in our society.
#4: You Can Return To Work And Breastfeed
Returning to work doesn’t have to mean the end to breastfeeding. There are many things you can do to make the process easier.
For more information see our article Returning To Work And Breastfeeding – 8 Tips To Help.
#5: Mothers With Different Shaped Nipples And Sized Breasts Can Breastfeed
Breastfeeding can occur regardless of the shape of mothers’ nipples or the size of their breasts.
Breast size has nothing to do with a mother’s ability to make milk; neither does the shape of her nipples.
Some mothers with inverted or very flat nipples might need some extra help initially, to get their babies attached, but most can eventually do this without difficulty.
These things should help put your mind more at ease about breastfeeding. If you experience any breastfeeding challenges, be sure to seek prompt help from a lactation consultant.