Breastfeeding like a ‘Natural’

As it is now a cultural norm that breastfeeding be hidden from the public eye, it is also the norm to expect women to bear the burden of motherhood alone. Added to this is the unrealistic pressure to get our babies into a routine and get sleeping through the night from birth, which only sets us up for disappointment and feelings of failure.

What if instead of being told “you need to get your baby into a routine”, “your baby will never be able to fall asleep without the breast”, “your baby should be sleeping through the night by now” or “you just need to let your baby cry it out”, you were told “babies don’t understand routines”, it’s OK to breastfeed your baby to sleep”, “it’s essential for your baby’s growth that they wake throughout the night”, “it’s normal for your baby to need you at night”, and “it’s OK for you to comfort your baby as much as you like”. Can you imagine the difference women would feel about motherhood if this is what was truly believed? What if instead of thinking “i will breastfeed if I can”, we simply thought “I CAN”.

We could let go of the doubt, let go of the guilt, and trust our instincts and ability to nurture our babies with confidence.

Although breastfeeding is a natural part of motherhood, it is also a learned skill. And just like any new skill, it is very normal for it to take some practice, perseverance and patience to get it just right. By assuming that we need to pretend that natural = easy, we greatly underestimate the strength, resilience and determination of women everywhere. Just like so many aspects of motherhood and life in general, the key to success is self-confidence and support.

Emily Brittingham is a mother of 3 beautiful children and a Volunteer Breastfeeding Counsellor (ABA). You can find her on Instagram or visit her website

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