8 Breastfeeding Myths That Make Me Want to Scream

7 Breastfeeding Myths That Make Me Want to Scream

Happy Breastfeeding Awareness month everybody! In honor of this important topic, I’d like to share some of the breastfeeding myths that make me want to shake people and yell, “What?! No!!!! That’s just not true!”

1)   Breastfeeding is sexual

Um, excuse me but while our culture has sexualized breasts, their original and primary function is to FEED BABIES.  Yes, breastfeeding feels good, but it’s definitely not sexual, and nursing in public is certainly not displaying our breasts to be ogled or even an overt attempt to make you uncomfortable.

If my baby needs to eat, I will feed her. Period. It’s not about you. It’s about meeting my baby’s needs as best I can so that she can learn to trust that the world is a benevolent place and know on a fundamental level that she is deeply cared for. I’m not trying to make you uncomfortable by nursing in public, but I will do it and hope that others will too until it just becomes normal and no longer makes people cringe, blush, or turn away.

2)   Nursing in public is immodest

OK, so what about this group of people who claim that breastfeeding in public is fine, as long as it’s hidden under a cover or in a bathroom stall. I’m sorry but I don’t like eating with a blanket over my head and neither does my baby. And don’t try pulling that “nipples are obscene” crap either, men’s nipples are shown ALL THE TIME and nobody makes a fuss. Get over it.

3)   Formula supplementation is necessary

The truth is that formula supplementation can lead to a reduction in milk supply which leads to more formula supplementation and before you know it and despite your best intentions, you end up giving up on nursing entirely.

Yes, there are some instances where babies need formula supplementation, like when they are unable to digest protein and need medical intervention. But what bothers me is how often nurses and hospital staff freak parents out with percentages of weight loss and then push formula supplementation on them in the early days of their baby’s life when the nursing relationship is still so new and newly developing.

My milk didn’t come in until day 9 and the doctors were concerned about my baby losing so much weight. So I did supplement, but I did it with donated breast milk using a tube so that my daughter was sucking at the breast while she received the donated milk. That helped stimulate my milk production and gave her the benefits of breast milk, even before mine came in.

I guess I just want new moms to know that there are other options and they don’t HAVE to use formula if they don’t want to. And I think hospital staff tend to downplay the potential long term effects on your milk supply, so please consider the decision carefully before you decide to supplement with formula.

4)   Toddlers and preschoolers are too old to nurse

Oh this one really pisses me off. Anthropologically, it’s believed that humans have nursed until ages 3-5yo for most of human evolution. We nurse until we’re ready to give it up, until our needs for comfort transform into hugs and snuggles, and until most of our caloric needs are met by solid foods. The age at which these milestones happen can be different for different kids. And sure, the mom also has a say in how long she’s willing or able to nurse. But this idea that once they’re talking they’re too old for their “milky” is just ridiculous. That’s a personal decision to be made between mother and child. It’s actually not anyone else’s business, so take those judgments elsewhere please.

5)   You should pump so that others can feed your baby

Excuse me but someone else’s desire to feed my baby is not a good enough reason for me to attach myself to a machine for half an hour to get a couple of ounces of milk out. If you like pumping, more power to you Mama, but for me, it was a hassle, I never got much milk, and I MUCH preferred the experience of snuggling up with my baby to hanging out with that machine.

I worked hard to arrange my life so that I would be able to work from home, nurse my baby for 2 years, and spend time bonding with her. Yes, it required a big commitment to be available to her for about half an hour AT LEAST every 3 hours (and often for shorter nursing sessions much more frequently), for 2 years but it worked well for us. I guess I just want you to know that if you don’t want to pump and store extra milk so that others can feed your baby, you don’t have to. Even though you might get some pressure to do so, you should only do what works for you and your baby. Everyone else will adjust, and before you know it your sweet baby will be weaned and on to new adventures.

6)   Breastfeeding takes too much effort

Unfortunately, our society is not based on what’s best for children and families. Instead, the almighty dollar seems to determine our fate far more than we’d like. But there are some things that are worth pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and brainstorming new solutions.

Yes, nursing in public can be uncomfortable, especially when you get dirty looks or nasty comments from passers by. Yes, you’re required to be near your baby more frequently and can only have small windows of time away from him. But have you SEEN all the new studies showing what a huge benefit breastmilk is to your baby? Better immunity, better emotional security, and even a higher IQ? I think breasfeeding is well worth the effort.

Oh, and when I see parents shushing their screaming infants while trying to mix powder and water as quickly as humanly possible, I think, “Wow! That looks like a lot of effort. All I have to do is pull down my shirt and I have instant access to the most nutritious food my baby could want!”

7)    Breastfeeding doesn’t hurt

It’s a nice idea and all, and maybe for some women breastfeeding never hurts a bit. But most of the women I talked to said it hurt a LOT for the first couple of weeks and then settled down after that. Unfortunately for me, the pain didn’t cease and since all I heard was, “it shouldn’t hurt” I didn’t realize that I had Raynaud’s phenomenon of the nipple until my daughter was 9 months old.

Although it was once considered rare, new studies estimate that up to 20% of women may suffer from Raynaud’s, many of whom are misdiagnosed with thrush, and given antibiotics unnecessarily. Often, not understanding the cause of their pain, women stop breastfeeding because it’s so incredibly painful to continue. But there are herbal solutions (like red pepper) and there’s a medication that can bring relief of these symptoms and help moms continue to breastfeed, even if they have Raynaud’s.

8)   Advocating for breastfeeding means I think you’re a bad parent if you formula feed

I do want to acknowledge the fact that not everyone is able to breastfeed. If you’ve tried hard to nurse your baby and still weren’t able to breastfeed, please know that I support and appreciate your efforts. And I don’t think your baby’s immune system will be drastically compromised or that formula will make your baby stupid.

Your care and attention have a far greater impact than the milk your baby consumes. There’s no shame in being unable to breastfeed. I just wish our society was set up in such a way that we could help each other out, nurse each other’s babies and tell formula companies to go take a hike.

So what are the breastfeeding myths that most bother you? I would love to learn even more about breastfeeding this week, so don’t be shy, please share your thoughts, ideas, articles and resources with the rest of us by leaving a comment.

And have a wonderful week, Shelly

 

 

 

20 comments
Mama01
Mama01

I love the idea of your article, however like so many breastfeeding blogs I strikes me as very judgmental to women who choose a different path than yours. I totally agree that breast is best, and I'm pumping while I write this. But how long you breastfeed your child is not some badge of honor making one woman a better mother than another. What a woman chooses to do with her breasts is a very personal decision, and one that they should not have to defend to anyone, whether they choose not to breastfeed at all, choose to stop at 6 months, or 2 years. SO many factors go into creating a healthy and happy child, and yet we choose to focus on breastfeeding as if it's some metering stick to measure each other, make ourselves feel superior for how hard we struggled to breastfeed, or put each other down. I see Breastfeeding Awareness month as an opportunity to build women up, to empower them to make whatever choice that fits them and their family, not an opportunity to make them feel guilty for how they choose to mother. I like your blog normally, but I really wish your tone in this blog was different. Far too many women are made to feel guilty about how they feed their children. And with postpartum depression at such high rates, we don't need more help. 

JenYork
JenYork

I think your article hits the spot in most of the "myths". However, #7 "Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt" is a tad misleading. Yes, breastfeeding for some does hurt but it shouldn't. If it is painful there is an underlaying issues that needs to be addressed, as in your case, discovering you have Raynauds. As you mentioned, you can find relief for this. My point is, if breastfeeding does hurt, get to the cause. Sometimes it's as simple as baby's position causing a shallow latch. If breastfeeding is painful, seek help. 

AndreaNease
AndreaNease

This isn't really a myth, but one of the comments that bothers me the most was actually made in this article. And that is:

"Yes, it required a big commitment to be available to her every 3 hours, for 2 years but it worked well for us."

It may not have been your intention, but you have just made many women believe that they only need to nurse their babies every 3 hours. This can lead to low milk supply, and ultimately breastfeeding failure for many women.

The same anthropological research you refer to that supports it's normal for toddlers to nurse is the the same research that says babies are designed to nurse up to several times per hour. There are also other studies that have followed women in traditional cultures that have observed that women nurse their newborns on average every 24 minutes, and their 3 year olds every 1.5 hours.  Babies need to be nursed often. When women do not understand this, they can think something is wrong just because their baby wants to nurse more ("I must not be making enough milk..."), or their bodies actually can't make enough because its not stimulated enough by baby.

So please please be careful with that you say about this. Yes, some mothers (and babies) are fine nursing that little, but it is honestly really rare. They can get by, but often it's not what the baby really needs. I know first hand because I held my oldest son off for hours when he was little until I learned to truly nurse on demand. Most of his fussiness and all of his thumbsucking immediately disappeared after nursing on demand.

I was just glad I was able to persevere and make it, but see how so many women can't when they follow the "3 hour rule". Many LC"s will tell women they should nurse every 3 hours, instead of telling women they shouldn't be going LONGER than 3 hours. Many LC's dont communicate this effectively, or women make that leap on their own, making 3 hours a goal, and end up failing.

AwakeShelly
AwakeShelly moderator

@Mama01 Thank you so much for your comment and for speaking up for what you believe. It was not my intention to disparage anyone for their decision to breastfeed or not, I was approaching this article from my own personal experience. But I'm curious, was there a specific part that most bothered you?

I agree that this month should be about empowering and encouraging women. I'm sad that my article hasn't had that effect for you. And I'm open to more feedback about exactly what would have made a difference for you. Thanks too for your kind words about liking my blog normally. :)

While I don't think I'm better than other mothers, I do feel proud of my choice, my dedication, and my ability to overcome my personal challenges and breastfeed for a full two years. I think that each of us has a responsibility to be our best selves and I strive for that for myself on a daily basis. But I certainly don't think that anyone else has the same challenges and goals that I do. 

Being our best is extremely individual. And I'm not interested in hiding my personal triumphs so that others won't feel bad that they haven't achieved the same things. Instead, my goal is to be my best and share my story in an honest, open, and authentic way so that others can strive to be their best too in their own unique ways.

AndreaNease
AndreaNease

@Mama01

“But how long you breastfeed your child is not some badge of honor making one woman a better mother than another. What a woman chooses to do with her breasts is a very personal decision, and one that they should not have to defend to anyone, whether they choose not to breastfeed at all, choose to stop at 6 months, or 2 years. SO many factors go into creating a healthy and happy child, and yet we choose to focus on breastfeeding as if it's some metering stick to measure each other, make ourselves feel superior for how hard we struggled to breastfeed, or put each other down.”

Many benefits of breastfeeding increase with duration. So while you agree breast is best, you should also acknowledge that longer breastfeeding is also best (excluding extenuating circumstances).

Every single decision a person makes is a person decision. I really dislike when people use that phase to excuse or explain any behavior. Just because a person has a right or the freedom to do something, does make it every decision a person makes right.

I do believe parents have a responsibility- an obligation- to do what’s in the best interest of the children. In some rare instances that can mean not breastfeeding. But as a general rule, breastfeeding is best. When a parent makes a choice to do something that can negatively affect their child without just cause…how is that not wrong? I don’t see how it couldn’t be.

Now, our society has a problem with relativism. Relativism is basically the idea that there isn’t right or wrong, but everything is up to the person to decide for themselves. I don’t agree with this mentality, and feel it has hurt our society.People get upset because people should be “judging” them. Now, there is a distinct difference between acknowledging/telling a person they are doing something wrong versus actually looking down on a person because of it. It is wrong to look down on other people, but it is not wrong to tell someone they are doing something wrong. This is admonishing, not judging. I do things that are wrong all the time. Sometimes I don’t realize and would only hope that someone would bring it to my attention. I have also told people I love they were doing something wrong. I didn’t love them any less or thing any less of them- but wanted them to realize so they could start doing the right thing and improve their life. It’s the same when people encourage others to breastfeed (or should be- I realize there are some women who do look down on others and that’s wrong).

Breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily make or break a person as a mother. There can be mothers who breastfeed that overall are bad mothers, and mothers who don’t breastfeed who are overall good mothers. The great thing about breastfeeding is that it can help the mother grow, learn, mature in a way that bottle feeding doesn’t offer.

Now, many mothers do not understand this. Even mothers who breastfeed themselves. The reason is that these mothers haven’t truly learned the importance of breastfeeding and bonding, even though they do it. Our mind and perceptions, and what we *want* to believe or feel can sometimes interfere with things. I know mothers who breastfeed who say there is really no difference between bottle feeding and nursing. Now, these mothers that I know who have said this breastfeed in a “cultural” way familiar to Americans. What this means is that these women often interfere with the natural nursing relationship. They do not breastfeeding on demand (which is up to several times per hour for newborns). They usually do not allow “comfort nursing” but nurse only for nutrition. They often pump their milk and feed via bottle, often having other people feed the baby. They use pacifiers, night wean, etc.

In the unadulterated form of breastfeeding- where a mother is continually available to their child and let their babies nurse unrestricted- the mother can STILL struggle with appreciating nursing. This is because the mother tends to focus on the “burden” of nursing. How much it requires of them- and they aren’t happy to give themselves to their child. Sometimes the bonding isn’t there for the MOM during nursing. She’s not allowing it. But if mom looks closely at her baby, she will most likely see that the bonding is there for her baby. If she starts to understand and realize that it’s better to give than receive, and not just think of herself and her own feelings- but that of her child, she may change her mind and start to learn many life lessons from the simple act of nursing and come to better appreciate it. These lessons can make her grow both as a mother and as a person. If a mother in our culture has been lucky enough to have learned this valuable lesson, she KNOWS and has NO DOUBT that nursing is best and important and that moms who choose not to have only done themselves and their families a disservice in the long run (again, generally speaking- I realize that it’s not always possible or best in every situation).

I believe mothers in general try to do what’s best for their children. Unfortunately, they sometimes don’t understand things fully to make an informed decision, or come up with excuses to justify their decision not to breastfeed (or to only breastfeed part time, or only 6 months, etc.) They aren’t consciously trying to do something wrong, they just don’t understand.

I breastfed for an entire year hating it. Absolutely hating it.I didn’t want to enjoy it because I wasn’t ready to. I wasn’t ready to make that sacrifice for my child. I almost weaned before I even started to enjoy it and see its benefits. Had I gone through with weaning, I probably wouldn’t have even nursed my next child, and I probably would have been one of the women making statements that breastfeeding isn’t any better than bottle feeding. It took me a long time to realize the importance of nursing.

But once I understood, I realized that it’s doubtful I would have ever grown to where I am today without it. Not that I don’t have plenty room left to grow, but I’ve made drastic improvements in many areas of my life. I don’t think I’m superior over other people. I lack in many areas of my mothering and life. I don’t look down on mother’s who don’t breastfeed- I just hope that I can help them come to appreciate it for themselves- for their own benefit- not mine. But the truth is that bottle feeding is easier. I wanted to throw in the towel so many times. It’s easier, so moms do it, and then they justify their decision. No one can make someone else feel guilt. Guilt comes when we know we’ve done something that doesn’t align with our morals. Or, our conscious is poorly formed- at which point we form it properly and realize we had no reason to feel guilty in the first place. So if someone is feeling guilt, it’s should be a huge red flag to evaluate yourself and why you’re feeling that way. If a woman knows that breastfeeding truly was not in the best interest of her family, or she absolutely could not because of certain circumstances- she should not be dealing with any guilt, because she didn’t do anything wrong. And breastfeeding also helps with PPD.

AwakeShelly
AwakeShelly moderator

Hey @JenYork, I hear you, and I agree that women suffering with breastfeeding pain should seek help however "breastfeeding shouldn't hurt" is exactly the message I got from breastfeeding experts and since it DID hurt, that led to my belief that there was no possible solution to my breastfeeding pain.  I didn't have a yeast infection and my baby's latch was perfect so none of the experts I consulted realized what the problem was. :( My title is actually "breastfeeding doesn't hurt" though, and for many, it just does, especially if they're experiencing a problem and don't know what it is yet. I just wanted to make sure that the women out there who are suffering like I did know that they're not alone and instead of just giving up hope of pain free breastfeeding, they should investigate further. I guess I could make the "seek help" message a bit more clear here. Thanks so much for your comment!

AwakeShelly
AwakeShelly moderator

@AndreaNease You're so right! My mistake. We did nurse on demand, except for when I was working and although my daughter could go 3 hours, she often didn't want to. We also used nursing for comfort, not just for feeding, so if I really think about it, she often nursed many more times a day than "every three hours." Thank you SO MUCH for pointing this out. I'll consider revising this for sure!

StephaniePass
StephaniePass

@AndreaNease I definitely see this with new nursing mothers.  Breastfeeding education handed down from women in your family is really gone in society now, and most new mamas have no idea that nursing on demand is what you need to do.  I have heard so many stories from other nursing moms who thought because their baby wanted to nurse every 30 minutes that they weren't getting enough milk or they had low supply so they went down the road to supplementation which, of course, screwed their milk supply.  I hate that misinformation.  

If you have a link to the study, I'd love to read it.  I'm always on the hunt for good breastfeeding research to pull out of my bag of tricks when someone is wanting information.  

I do think this has some good points though.  There are just so many  bad myths about nursing.  I always enjoy the strange looks when people see me nursing my 3 year old in public.  LOL

Mama01
Mama01

@AwakeShelly @Mama01  Thanks for your response. I appreciate what you're saying about not wanting to downplay your successes. I think what bothers me most is that the intent behind this post seems to be "you can create a breastfeeding relationship that works for YOU and ignore what others say." But then your tone has me feeling guilty if my choices weren't the same as yours as I created my breastfeeding relationship. Your tone seems contrary to your intent. Unless I'm completely wrong, and your intent is to shame women into breastfeeding the exact way you did (ie on demand, no pumping, no one else feeding baby, and until 2 years old). Both the blog post and the position of AndreaNease rub me the same way, they ignore the possibility that different people have different experiences of the same thing. 

Note that I do take responsibility for my sensitivity to this topic. I know so many women who have chosen to stop breastfeeding for one reason or another and who have been riddled with guilt and shame. But you asked why I felt your tone was judgmental, so I'm honestly saying why, although my perception is obviously colored by these experiences.  

If the goal of breastfeeding activists is to get more women to breastfeed longer, then I don't think it's good to guilt or shame women about straying from the ideal breastfeeding relationship (ie nursing only, no pumping, no supplementation). It's great that you had the opportunity to work from home for 2 years, but not every women has the opportunities that you did. And if women feel that they must live up to this ideal breastfeeding relationship, I believe it pushes them to give up altogether much sooner, instead of actually working to create a breastfeeding relationship that works for them. 

For example, just because you didn't want to let others feed your baby does not mean it may not be a life saver for another mom. Having my husband feed the baby once in the night with a bottle was the only way I didn't fall into a hole of sleep-deprived depression during the first 6 weeks. Had I not had that option, I actually may have quit breastfeeding. 

And your advice about no supplementation also strikes me, because it seems to advise women to go against a pediatrician's recommendation. My milk also did not come in quickly, and on day 4 my baby became lethargic from lack of food. We couldn't get her to cry or wake up. It was the scariest moment of my life! Hospital staff "freak" women out for a reason, because it's dangerous for the baby! The goal here is a healthy baby. I feel like many breastfeeding advocates forget that. 

We were home, not at the hospital. We had no feeding tube or donated breast milk like you did. We gave her formula and her eyes opened and she perked right up. We supplemented with formula for a few days until my milk came in, per our doctor's recommendation, then I started to pump to get her extra milk for each feeding. We fed her with breast and bottle at each feeding until she gained enough weight and I could return to nursing only. And she had no nipple confusion, and my supply did not fall off.  Breast is not best in every situation. 

I guess what I am saying is that breastfeeding is really hard, both on the body, and emotionally. And I agree that it's best for babies if more women stick with it. But sticking with it may look very different for some women than it looked for you, and that's ok. Some breastmilk is better than no breastmilk. 

I'm exclusively pumping now because my supply dropped off so much that my baby was crying at the breast during every feeding because I did not make enough for her. And yes I tried fenugreek, letting her nurse for 1.5 hours or more, drinking more water, power pumping, all of it. I had to supplement, but I'm proud that I'm continuing to offer her at least some milk, even if it's not 100%.  Perfect is the enemy of the good here. That's why I was bothered by your post. 

Thanks for asking for my feedback. I do enjoy your blog and plan to continue to read it! 




AwakeShelly
AwakeShelly moderator

@AndreaNease @Mama01 Personally, I try to avoid telling people that they are "wrong" or "bad" in any way, even if I disagree with their decisions. In general, I don't find it useful to point out the things that bother me. Instead, I try to focus on the positive things that inspire me whenever possible. I'm struggling with the balance between having compassion for others and taking a stand on things I believe strongly in. It seems tricky to do both at the same time and when I've tried to take a strong stand, I've definitely ruffled some feathers. That in turn sends me back into peace and compassion for all, but then I no longer feel like I'm advocating for children as strongly as I'd like...

JenYork
JenYork

Wow Shelly, that was an awesome response!. Your situation is exactly the reason I'm working towards being a IBCLC. My heart aches for mothers that are ill informed. I so often hear from women, "I tried to breastfeed but....." And so often, had these mothers had a support group or was well advised AND wanted to breastfed, they could have been successful. I'm so passionate about breastfeeding because I feel it's one more way to connect with your child, not the only way, but an extra way. It's a disservice that we educate new mothers about all the potential problems of birthing a baby but not the potential problems of nursing their baby.

AndreaNease
AndreaNease

@StephaniePass @AndreaNease Absolutely, great article overall, I just caught that little hiccup. I will look up that research and get back to you. I know one article is on Kathy Dettwyler's website, another is referenced in a book I own. Hopefully  will get back and post later tonight :)

AwakeShelly
AwakeShelly moderator

@Mama01 Thank you so much for sharing all of this! I hear you and I certainly didn't mean to imply that my way is the only way. My intent was to empower women who feel pressured to do things like pump or supplement with other possibilities, but I certainly didn't mean to imply that pumping is not a valid choice or that there's NEVER a need for formula supplementation. I just wish you (and other moms in your situation) were given the option to choose donor milk. I lucked out on that one because my midwife knew someone who had a stockpile of milk.

I also completely structured my life around working from home so that I could breastfeed, I didn't just happen into that situation, but I hear you, not everyone gets to work from home, even if they want to.

I'm super glad you spoke up about your experience and I'm grateful that you've acknowledged your own tenderness on this issue. It sounds like you've been super dedicated to creating a breastfeeding relationship with works well for you.

Pumping never worked for me. I didn't get much milk out, I couldn't relax, and I just didn't like it. But I felt some pressure to do it anyway so that others could have the opportunity to feed my baby. I think anytime we're making choices based on what someone else thinks is best, we're setting ourselves up for frustration and disappointment. What's really important is that we're true to ourselves, especially when we're engaged in a breastfeeding relationship.

Anyway, thank you again for speaking up. And BTW, I'm totally jealous that you got to birth at home. I REALLY wanted a home birth and birthed at home for about 10 hours, but I ended up at the hospital with high blood pressure :(

I agree with you, regarding birth AND breastfeeding. A healthy baby is the most important thing. How we each get there is up to us. Sending you warm hugs, Shelly

AndreaNease
AndreaNease

@AwakeShelly It is difficult. For me I feel that honesty is always the best policy, but try to spread the truth with love and charity. There are benefits to breastfeeding and these are facts- they are not subjective. Sometimes you can say something in a very nice way and some people will still get offended no matter how hard you try. But I have also learned that it's not a complete fail if someone gets upset. Sometimes getting upset can make the person think about and evaluate things and actually turn into something productive. On the other hand, some people get so upset that they are turned off and you can actually ruin relationships. I've learned the hard way that it's only my job to plant seeds. After that, people have free will to do whatever they want with the information. Sometimes, with certain people, it's better not to say anything but to lead by example and let them come to you. Remember that not only are you advocating for the children with this particular issue, but also the women. Women benefit too. How many women can we save from breast cancer by telling the truth about full term nursing? I think our cultures sense of "independence" makes it hard to talk to people. Now days everyone expects people to "mind their own business". This is often times just an easy way for the person to continue doing what they want to do, even when they know it's wrong. I rather promote interdependence, where we learn from each other and depend on one another, and help each other grow as people. What's going on at the family level effects the whole community and society as a whole, so really it is people's business. Telling the people truth (with good intentions) is actually an act of charity and shouldn't be viewed as an intrusion on privacy.

It's easier to read people in person and make judgement calls on how to approach things. It's a little more difficult online, where we often don't know people, and our words can be "read" and "heard" in ways we never intended.

AwakeShelly
AwakeShelly moderator

@JenYork Hooray! We need more breastfeeding experts who can support mothers who want to breastfeed and have trouble. I am so glad I was successful, even though I struggled with pain. I did have a lot of support from my local La Leche League, I only wish I'd discovered what the real problem was MUCH sooner! I'm glad you'll be out there educating women about how they can enjoy a successful and pain free breastfeeding relationship with their child. Big hugs, Shelly

AwakeShelly
AwakeShelly moderator

@StephaniePass @AndreaNease Fascinating stuff! I posted that article to my FB page too. I love learning even more about breastfeeding :) Oh, and I did revise the article. What do you think now?

StephaniePass
StephaniePass

@AndreaNease Thanks so much for finding that information.  I can't wait to get a minute to delve into it.  I've read case studies about the !Kung before in anthro classes in college.  

AndreaNease
AndreaNease

@StephaniePassOkay here is the one that mentions its normal to nurse several times per hour. http://kathydettwyler.org/detfreq.html

The research done on traditional women:

"...James Wood, a research scientist at the University of Michigan's Population Studies Center. His subjects were a New Guinea people, the Gainj, whose breastfeeding episodes are short and frequent.

...Dr. Wood and his team carefully recorded the frequency of nursings and the intervals between nursing sessions. With their infants, the Gainj mothers averaged 24 minute intervals; with their three-year-olds, they averaged about 80 minutes between nursings.

...The !Kung tribe of Kalahari Desert in southern Africa has mothering and breastfeeding frequency patterns similar to those of the Gainj people. ...!Kung babies nursed several times an hour for just a few minutes each time."

-taken from The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor by Sheila Kippley, pg. 46.

I will add that with my second child (when I had a better start and more knowledge to breastfeeding), I noticed he nursed about every 20 minutes as well naturally (I watched the clock out of curiosity one day when he was a couple week old).