Whether a woman wants to breastfeed or not obviously is her own decision which she may base on several different factors and personal choices, but then there are those women who are unable to breast feed in spite of their best intentions and attempts.
Women are looking forward to the bonding experience with their baby from the activity of breastfeeding, who have done everything such as eating right during the pregnancy and even taken classes and spoken to a lactation consultant, but are unable to do so.
Doctors will usually tell you that the milk will take some time coming in, that you should persist with trying, and not give up on trying to breast feed, that it is natural and easy, that breasts “were made for it” but sometimes there is just no milk or there isn’t enough to sustain a baby. There are many reasons:
- Some women with high BMI may be unable to breastfeed or may be able to breast feed for a shorter time and this has been observed by a study carried out on obese and overweight women
- Some women may be on medications that may make it impossible for them to breast feed their children because of the fear that the medication may find its way to the child through the milk
- Some babies are not able to latch on properly and have to be taught to do so and in spite of it may be unable to effectively breast feed. Sometimes the milk coming in may cause engorgement and the breast may seem uncomfortably tight, making breast feeding even more difficult for the tiny infant. Then milk may have to be expressed to empty the breast a bit before the baby can latch on effectively
- Some women have inverted nipples that make it difficult or impossible to breast feed.
- Sometimes the baby may have been kept in isolation or neonatal intensive care and so by the time the baby returns to the mother, her milk may have dried up.
- Being tense about breast feeding can actually impede the milk
So if a woman is keen to breastfeed, she needs to make sure that she is in the best shape that it is possible for her to be in, maintain the best health possible, learn everything possible about breast feeding, eat right during and after pregnancy, keep fit by exercise and keep a positive frame of mind. It is important to keep positive and also relaxed.
Also remember that if you are not making enough milk to sustain baby, never mind! Even if you are producing a little milk and are supplementing with formula, your baby is still getting a lot of the benefits of breast feeding!