When it comes to breastfeeding, I find that women in my generation are often in a double bind. We hear all around us the message that Breast is Best. We are encouraged to breastfeed our children, and given lists of the benefits of nursing our babies. But we are often not given the practical information we need to accomplish this task.
In many cases, our mothers and grandmothers used formula to feed their children. The medical professionals we go to are uninformed about the nitty gritty details of nursing a baby. We worry about telling women who are pregnant with their first child about the early ordeals involved in breastfeeding, so as not to scare them away, and we worry about preaching to and pressuring our friends with new babies, so as not to make those early weeks more difficult. We don't want to pressure our friends and family on this delicate, sometimes controversial subject, so we don't give them the information they need to succeed.
There are several things I have heard women say over and over, "I wish someone had told me about this. My early experiences would have been so different." I have especially heard this from women who were frustrated, and eventually gave up nursing before they wanted to due to latch problems or lack of milk supply, only to discover that one or two key pieces of information would have helped them through. So, I thought that over the next week or so I would let you in on some information you need to know before you start breastfeeding. I hope these posts can help someone have less troubles in those early weeks with their new baby.