Breastfeeding has a huge number of health benefits for mother (and baby) but it doesn’t always magically work as planned (or as it looks in photos). Even if you really want to breastfeed, there can be a range of reasons you just don’t enjoy the experience at all. Here are five real, treatable and common reasons women hate the breastfeeding experience.
1. D-Mer (Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex) – A breastfeeding mother who has this condition experiences a brief dysphoria just prior to the milk ejection reflex. In other words, a very real and overpowering negative feeling when your baby feeds. It’s a real medical issues and there are ways to treat it – check out D-MER.org for support.
2. Breastfeeding Pain – Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, but there are a range of reasons it might, especially in the first 2-6 weeks after birth. Baby having a tongue or lip tie or a bad latch are two of the most common reasons. Our two best tips are to see an IBCLC and do some laid back breastfeeding.
3. Not Enough Sleep – Unfortunately, there’s a very common idea that babies should start sleeping through the night at a very young age. In reality, many babies don’t learn to sleep through till up to 2 years of age. Luckily, there are a range of things you can do to make sure you and baby get as much sleep as possible. Two of our favorites include safe co-sleeping (which regulates baby’s breathing, heartrate and temp and helps them sleep longer) and dream feeding (feeding baby before you go to bed, while they’re still asleep, so they will continue to sleep longer.)
4. Postnatal Depression – It’s normal to feel blue for a few days after birth as your hormones change, but if you continue to feel sad or numb for no obvious reason, you may just be suffering from postnatal depression. Very common and very treatable, as long as you see a medical professional who can offer you the right support.
5. You Do Nothing But Feed – Newborns stomachs start out at the size of a cherry or marble – which means they can feed a LOT. It can get exhausting, especially when baby is going through a growth spurt or cluster feeding. We can’t offer much advice on this other than than that it’s normal, feeds will get shorter as baby gets better at drawing milk out and feeds will get further apart as baby begins to interact more with the world.
Warning: Pediatricians, obstetricians, midwives and general practitioners get very little lactation training. If you are experiencing a breastfeeding issue, they are quite likely to give inaccurate advice. Most breastfeeding issues can be resolved with the right support which is usually an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant).