Many of us struggled with breastfeeding and can understand how hard it can be. I managed to breastfeed both of my children, but a combination of paranoid, misinformed nurses and a general lack of preparedness almost derailed my plan on several occasions. Breastfeeding is hard — especially since there isn’t an overwhelming amount of accessible support and information. You’d think there would be more support for something that so many people consider to be the healthiest start to an infant’s life. Instead, there’s a little information and a lot of assumption that a woman will just know what she’s doing.
Recently, a mother shared her own anecdote of struggle with breastfeeding her first child in The Guardian. For a variety of reasons, Elisa Albert really wanted to breastfeed her infant. She had a hard time, her child was losing weight, and she was terrified. From her essay:
“100 years of aggressive formula marketing has effectively erased the tradition of women helping each other in this way. I had never heard of anyone I knew nursing another woman’s child, or having her child nursed by another woman, and I had never wondered why. I sat in the rocking chair that night, nipples on fire, inconsolable shrunken baby looking more and more like a plucked chicken in my arms, and a terrible new panic hit me: we were in very serious trouble and could not go on this way.”
She reached out to a friend– who seemed to have a very easy time breastfeeding her own child — for help. Her friend nursed her baby for a brief stint and also supplied her with frozen bags of breast milk, giving Albert the extra time she needed to negotiate some things that made it easier for her to breastfeed as well: a hospital grade nursing pump, a lactation consultant, and some breathing room.