When breastfeeding doesn’t work out
Throughout time there have always been mothers who’s bodies cannot produce enough milk for their baby’s needs or for other reasons breastfeeding has just not worked. When experience has failed to meet expectations the situation can result in a grave personal sense of loss for the new mother. Emotions can include guilt, grief, frustration, sadness, disappointment, anger, resentment, loneliness, isolation and self-recrimination.
The loss of a breastfeeding relationship is not well recognised in our society.
So society often fails to provide adequate support in this situation and the new mother is left isolated to grieve this loss all on her own. Family, friends and others around may not realise how devastating, “heart wrenching” and “soul destroying” this situation can be.
It can help if feelings are expressed so the new mother can be helped to move through the grieving process.
It is important to recognize that sometimes there are cases where breastfeeding difficulties cannot be solved and that they are not the fault of the mother.
As a society we need to support and help these mothers work through their grieving process
Acknowledging that for some breastfeeding doesn’t work. Experiencing, expressing and accepting these feelings are an important part of the healing process.
It is reassuring in these cases to recognise that any breastfeeding or any amount of breastmilk, how ever small it might be, is very valuable for both mother and baby. Helping her with closure on this issue by reflecting that she did everything possible and put in a huge effort is really important.
It’s love that is the most important thing for a new baby!
Seeking assistance from an experienced lactation consultant can help with any breastfeeding problems.