Why do women struggle with breastfeeding?

Why do women struggle with breastfeeding? - Transcript

I’ve met a lot of pregnant women who are concerned about whether they can actually breastfeed and many, many of you will have, maybe known somebody who struggled with breastfeeding, maybe someone who just found it the most horrendous experience of their life, and really encountered lots of difficulties and I can understand that it’s very easy to begin to think negatively about breastfeeding and some women actually don’t even want to give it a go because of that reason.

This, I feel is really understandable, and especially in our country historically we haven’t had a lot of breastfeeding education for midwives and health visitors. And you can imagine if your health professional doesn’t have that knowledge to help you when you encounter a difficulty, then you do stand very little chance of being able to go forward.

But the great news is that breastfeeding education is now firmly on the agenda for health professionals, and it is a slow process, but gradually midwives and health visitors are gaining that knowledge that they need to be able to support mothers, and there are so many avenues of support that historically we didn’t see.

And so, health professionals and mothers now are beginning to be much better equipped to be able to understand how breastfeeding works, how to get it off to a good start, and also to be able to identify problems and how to rectify them.

But I do want to say that it doesn’t mean you won’t get conflicting advice, and this is the problem we have at the moment where a breastfeeding mother will go and speak to a doctor or a health visitor or a midwife or a peer supporter or breastfeeding counsellor and, you know, you can line up for a number of people and get different ideas, and many women are actually googling as well and trying to find out information on the Internet. So there is conflicting information out there and it’s really because we’re in a transitional time, I feel, where we’ve got old ideas mixed in with the new, and a whole lot of myths on top. So it is difficult for mothers that’s why it’s good to learn as much as you can about breastfeeding.

But I certainly want to encourage you that there are trained individuals, whether it’s a midwife or health visitor or breastfeeding counsellor or lactation consultants like myself, who do have information for you and do have help and support. And that’s one of the reasons why I’ve put together this whole series of videos to combat a lot of the myths and to put everything in one place.

One of the best things you can do is to gain as much understanding of breastfeeding as you can before the birth, have a good look at the videos that I’ve put together in this package, and book-in to an antenatal class with your local midwives because you will get a good lot of information there, and you may want to bob along to one of your local breastfeeding drop-ins, have a good chat to breastfeeding mothers there as well.

And I do want to stress that although breastfeeding is a natural thing, you and your baby are hardwired to do it, but there is a learning element to it in the first few weeks; You and your baby will be learning together. So it’s good to get all that information around positioning, and ways to know that your baby is getting enough milk. These are all reasons why women struggle particularly and that information will really help you to go forward with breastfeeding.

And please understand that your baby’s pattern of feeding will change over the days and weeks and months, and there would be many other hurdles that you’ll come across, and breastfeeding is often blamed for a lot of these things, but knowing that information, getting that information and the skilled support as well is a powerful combination to help you overcome any struggle that you might have.

Review dates, references & further resources

Review Dates

V1 published June 2017. Next review date: April 2020

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