by Robyn Jones – B.Sc. (Psych), NSW, Australia
Having a new baby is a precious and delicate time. We have this new tiny human we need to make loving and caring choices for. One of these choices is how we feed and nourish them, and we can start to consider this choice when we are pregnant, maybe even earlier for some women.
Throughout this 3-part series we have established the responsibility we all have, as women, in knowing ourselves from the inside out in order to not get caught up in the myths about breastfeeding that are floating around – myths that can potentially affect us detrimentally, both physically and psychologically.
And this is the case with anything that is not true, isn’t it? Lies and myths can hurt, and the effects of these can be felt not just by us, but also by our families and beyond.
This places a great importance on exploring and discussing myths, deconstructing them and the damage they can do, and revealing what the truth really is.
Myth 1 – Breastfeeding is the ‘best’ way to feed and nourish baby
- Breastfeeding is not always what is ‘best’ for some women and babies.
- As women, we have the choice of what feeding option is most supportive and the best for us and our babies.
Myth 2 – Breastfeeding is the strongest way to bond with baby
- Connecting and bonding with our baby comes from our heart, not our breasts.
- We bond with our babies through connecting with them – heart to heart, not from the method we choose to feed them.
Myth 3 – Breastfeeding will be ‘easy’ because it is natural
- Breastfeeding is natural, but it is certainly not always ‘easy’.
- There can be many challenges experienced while breastfeeding.
Myth 4 – Breastfeeding will help with losing weight
- Weight loss comes down to our relationship with ourselves as women, not simply breastfeeding.
So, we now come to two myths that have the potential to cause a significant amount of harm to us, our relationship with ourselves as women, and our families.
Myth 5 – Breastfeeding is a form of contraception
Wow, this myth is a doozy, and has caught out many women with the falseness of it. Breastfeeding is NOT a form of contraception.
There are many, MANY of us who ovulate while we are breastfeeding, and many who fall pregnant way before we are ready to, simply by thinking that because we are breastfeeding we are ‘protected’ and won’t fall pregnant. This is absolutely NOT THE CASE!
There are also those who think breastfeeding is the cause of infertility. Well, the same rules apply here. Breastfeeding is not a form of contraception, so it also makes sense that it is not the reason for infertility.
There is an enormous amount that happens when we have a baby, not just physically, but psychologically. The body needs space to adjust to all the changes it has gone through. We, as women, need space to adjust to all the changes we go through when we have a baby. There is so much more than we can ever imagine happening at this time that to narrow our view to impose the cause of our infertility on breastfeeding is a slap in our naturally intelligent faces.
We are smarter than that and we need to expose the absurdity of this myth and all it comes with, so we can get on with looking after ourselves in a much greater way. A way that is based on truly supporting ourselves and our future decisions about adding to our family or not, and when this might be the right time or not. Plus allowing ourselves the space to investigate what may really be at play if we do experience infertility after already having giving birth.
Myth 6 – Breastfeeding is the reason for not resuming periods
This is a very popular myth that many of us use to explain the delay in us re-commencing our period cycle. The truth is that there are many women who resume their period cycles immediately after, or very soon after, the post birth bleed finishes – while exclusively breastfeeding. So let’s look into this further:
As women, our period cycle is a very important part of being a woman. It is a time where we are given the opportunity to let go of, through bleeding, any unhealthy momentums we may have gotten into during our monthly cycle, and start a new cycle freshly cleansed.
So when we are unable to return to our regular cycle after giving birth (whilst breastfeeding or not) there has to be a reason for this. The most common is because of how we relate to being a mother. It is very common for us, as women, to forget we are in fact a woman first – to nurture and love ourselves – and instead we get drawn into being a mother 24 hours a day with no off button.
Knowing that we were women before we became mothers is an important part of our monthly period cycles returning and not whether we are breastfeeding or not, or for how long.
Six breastfeeding myths exposed
It is hoped that by exposing these six breastfeeding myths in this 3-part series, along with the fact that we all have a choice in how we feed our children, that as women we now understand more about ourselves and our bodies, as well as the importance of taking responsibility for ourselves over and above what we hear or are told. Because as women we have a divine right to know ourselves from the inside out, to know ourselves as the naturally intelligent beings we are, and to connect to the wisdom we all hold within our hearts that is there to guide us through our lives and experiences as women who have children. This is why it is important to debunk the lies and myths that can trap us in harmful cycles, ideals and beliefs, that can affect our sense of well being and our mental health for many years.
What are your thoughts and feelings on what has been discussed in this article and the myths that have been exposed? Please share in the comments below.
Original article was published on the Mouths of Mums website on June 28, 2016.