But wait wait a minute...aren't we each thinking individuals? Don't we think for ourselves? Can't we go out and find information? In this day and age, isn't there endless information to help us find our way to everything?
Today I'm giving the doctors, nurses, Lactation Consultants a break and I"m challenging women to take ownership of their health care. This goes for birth choices, medication choices, health care choices, and breastfeeding CHOICES. It's all in the choices! When I got pregnant I made a conscious CHOICE to have a natural waterbirth and to breastfeed my babies. Do things happen along the way during a birth? Yes, but we are not powerless to the system...we choose our care providers, we can learn and research, seek out supportive care givers and prepare ourselves mentally and physically for birth. That's no guarantee that it will turn out as we want, but it's better than saying "i want to try to have a natural birth" and waiting to see what happens. You wouldn't say "I hope I win this football game" and then never learn how to play, birth is the same! So is breastfeeding!
You can't just say "I'm going to try to breastfeed my baby." It doesn't work that way in our society. Your mother probably didn't breastfeed, you may not have sisters or friends who have breastfeed, you don't know a lot about breastfeeding...until you make the choice to learn. The internet is a POWERFUL tool. You can find information by tapping a few keys on your keyboard. A simple search on google will turn up several reputable sources of breastfeeding information such as Kelly Mom and Dr. Jack Newman. You can even find local support! You can even take classes.
Sure, some information is better than other information, some classes are better than others, but I think most people have the intellectual capacity to tell the difference between a good class and a bad class. If the class is telling you about breastfeeding, and giving you formula samples, coupons, or trying to sell you any kind of product (nipple shields, formula, bottles, pacifiers, "must have" breastfeeding accessories, etc) chances are, it's not a good class! It's just like going to a weight loss class and being sent home with donut samples...you would NEVER go again, and you would know that the information you were given is suspect. I'm of the opinion that any information that any information on the internet not from a reputable source should be double checked, and yes, you should always verify what you read here and understand that we are NOT medical professionals. Moms responding to posts on facebook or breastfeeding forums are NOT medical professionals either and are usually NOT breastfeeding experts so most of that information is anecdotal and experiential and, while useful, may not help YOU in YOUR situation.
Just like that football game, you need to prepare ahead of time. Moms should find a good class, connect with their local La Leche League group, read strongly recommended books on the topic and GET FAMILIAR with the mechanics of breastfeeding!
With all of these resources at our fingertips...how can mothers STILL blame ONLY their care providers when they throw in the towel? As women we MUST be in charge of our own health. As mothers we must be in charge of our children's health. So while our care providers are continually failing us, women are also failing. They are failing to take ownership of breastfeeding, to learn it, to do the research so that they know where to find information and help when they need it. It's NOT that hard. So if you are struggling, and you don't go find the support you need if it is not your care provider...then it's on you. Like Mother Hen said...don't even tell me you tried if you didn't. The information is there, the resources exist, help is readily available. SO WHAT if your care provider is an out dated, misinformed nut job...YOU are an adult, a woman, and a mother. There's no reason you can't FIND what you need to succeed.
Make your choices. Inform yourself. Arm yourself. Most of all, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. We are not helpless.