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Episode 85: What Stops Women From Breastfeeding

October 5, 2022

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Welcome back to The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And today I’m gonna be talking about something that is really, oh gosh, really near and dear to my heart, because it’s something that you know, my team and I deal with on a daily basis. And it’s constantly coming to the forefront of our minds whenever we read certain news articles, or when we interact with our colleagues in professional forums, or whenever I answer comments or questions on Instagram, even when I’m seeing reviews for the podcast. Which by the way, we’ve been getting some incredible reviews on the podcast. So thank you.

For everyone who has taken the time to do that. I know that it’s not always easy, especially if you have a baby around to take the time to leave a review. So anytime that you do, I just honestly, I mean so much mean to see what you guys think of the podcast and also helps other people find the podcast and decide to listen to it. So I did want to just take a moment and share this one that came in from Kenzie shoe 20. And she said this podcast is phenomenal. It does a really great job presenting facts with confidence that make a nursing or pumping mama feel empowered and strong within their choice to provide breast milk to their child. The guest speakers are always so informative. Overall, this is definitely my most listen to podcasts when it comes to breastfeeding, highly recommend. Thank you so much for the review.

And that’s actually the perfect lead in to this episode. Because this episode is really mostly what this podcast is about in general. And it’s about trying to get people to continue breastfeeding when the odds are stacked against you. So we’ll be talking about some of the reasons why women don’t breastfeed. And I’m sure that some of you will be able to resonate with these. And these are things that have come up in all of the episodes, even with guest speakers like the recent one we had with Sarah from Populist and her talking about ending her nursing journeys quite short. And she talked about some of these reasons as well.

And of course, I think some of these are really obvious, but I’m going to dive into them. And so one of the first ones I’m going to talk about is societal norms. You know, it’s really interesting to me to see these conversations happen. And, you know, for being involved in moms groups and whatnot. For the past 10 years, I’ve seen things change over time, I’ve really tried to keep a good pulse on what’s happening, at least here in the US, obviously, I can’t speak for, you know, other countries and cultures around the world.

But there are some norms that are really getting in the way with breastfeeding. And as much as we’ve made progress, there’s still a lot more progress that needs to be made. And it’s so common just to hear things from people about how their baby is 789 10 months old, and they’re already getting pressure from friends and family from pediatricians to stop breastfeeding out a year old. It’s almost like they’re trying to be pressured to stop before a year old. And what I find really interesting about that is that for it’s been recommended at minimum to breastfeed for a year for a very long time now, and the American Academy of Pediatrics earlier this year finally got on board with the World Health Organization recommendation of a minimum of two years and beyond. Now, that doesn’t mean that you know, you have to breastfeed until your baby has to, or anything like that, obviously, there’s a bunch of circumstances that get in the way, which is what we’re gonna be talking about in this episode.

But it’s definitely interesting to me that there’s still pediatricians out there, even though their professional governing organization is telling them to recommend it until at least age two, saying to stop breastfeeding out of here. So there’s all these societal norms and some of its just society, some of its cultural, some of its just, you know, a lack of understanding and support, where moms are pressured to give up breastfeeding. And it’s not necessarily based on even a timestamp like a year. Sometimes whenever a mom expresses some sort of difficulty with breastfeeding, she’s often pressured to give up with no regard to how she really feels. I hear this example very often where moms will say, you know, gosh, breastfeeding is so painful and I’m using nipple shield. And some well-meaning person in her life will say, Well, why don’t you just switch to Form Neela I gave my baby formula and they’re fine.

And it’s so dismissive for the mom who is struggling, who is not having an easy go of this, who maybe wants to keep breastfeeding to hear that kind of advice, right, it’s not really the advice that she’s looking for. Right, she’s looking for a solution, she’s continuing on with breastfeeding, for whatever reason that she’s decided to do it. And to have someone just immediately dismiss everything she’s going through and tell her, you know, you can just quit, and that it doesn’t matter whether or not your baby receives breast milk or formula. Well, that’s, you know, kind of gaslighting in a bit of a way, right? When you hear something like that, because to you, maybe it is really important to you that your child receives breast milk. And maybe your child has a medical condition that, you know, receiving breast milk is much more important to you than it might be for an otherwise healthy baby without any complications. And we don’t know everybody’s story, it doesn’t really matter.

I think at the end of the day, it just matters what your goals are. I tell people all of this kind of stuff whenever I work with them as clients, and I say, you know, it really doesn’t matter to me what your breastfeeding goals are, because I’m here to support your goals. So if your goal is to get to six months of breastfeeding, then I’m going to design a care plan around you getting to that goal. If your goal is to nurse until your kids self weaned at age four or five, I will create a care plan around that, it’s totally up to you if your goal is to win, let’s set up a weaning consultation. And my goal will be to support you in that. So I never push any sort of breastfeeding goals on somebody, I just really genuinely like to know what their goals are to understand, you know, is nursing at the breast important to you? Is the amount of milk important to you? Do you want to pump? Do you not want to pump? Like what are your limits? What are you willing to do? What are you not willing to do? And then that’s how I create individual care plans for everybody.

That’s what my team and I do. So when we’re talking about societal norms, and that the odds are stacked against us as breastfeeding moms. Again, it’s usually people that mean, well, sometimes it’s not. But you know, nursing and public is still not readily accepted by everybody everywhere, there are still moms who are being told to cover up to go in a bathroom to, you know, that that’s disgusting, or that they’re trying to get attention or, you know, whatever it is, and when those things happen when you’re breastfeeding mom and you’re out and about, or you’re surrounding yourself with people that you should be able to trust that should love you and support you and accept you no matter what. And they’re pressuring you to change something about breastfeeding that you don’t want to change, and makes it really hard to keep going because you’re kind of alone on this island sometimes.

And it can feel very isolating. And if everybody around you is saying one thing, and you’re feeling a different way you can question your own beliefs, you can question your own goals and motivations. And you may give in, right, you may not feel supported, you may feel really tired of people saying certain things about you and breastfeeding. And you ultimately don’t go as long as you otherwise would have liked had you gotten support. So societal norms are still playing a really huge role in this. And I know it can be easy for some of us to just ignore what other people say and make our own choices and be really unapologetic about it. But that’s not the case for most people, right? Most people, you know, are taking other people’s opinions into account. We are social creatures.

After all, that’s pretty natural for us to do as humans. So I never tried to fault anybody. But it’s really sad when we get that kind of pressure. And it can be really hard in the moment to stand up to that or know how to respond without getting our emotions crazily involved. And, you know, breastfeeding is a very emotional thing for us. So I still see this being quite a huge problem, again, whether it’s, you know, something professional, or just, you know, interacting in day to day life, and it’s unfortunate, but these things do present a pretty large barrier to breastfeeding. Another one that I’d really like to talk about, which I covered on a previous podcast episode, a bit more in depth is perceived low milk supply. So true cases of low milk supply, meaning you have done everything, right. You’ve gotten all of the the correct support, you know, a physical exam, a skilled breastfeeding assessment, maybe even lab work, someone’s reviewed your health history and, you know, determined that no matter what, you’re always going to have a low milk supply.

Those are very, very rare cases that’s under 10% of people are dealing with that under 5% Most likely are dealing with that I would say three to 5%. Otherwise low milk supply is generally either created because there was poor lactation management in the beginning. And this is not necessarily the fault of the mom. It’s often the fault of the providers around her not getting her off to a good start not giving her great education on how to bring in a full milk supply how to maintain that. But then there’s also just perceived low milk supply where moms think they’re not making enough when in reality they are. And that’s for a number of different reasons, it could be that another caregiver is over feeding the baby, it could be the normalization of formula feeding. And that people are thinking that those amounts that formula fed babies need are the same amount that breastfed babies need, which they’re not. formula does require more and more volume over time where breast milk generally sort of taps out, and doesn’t need to change in terms of quantity or volume, just because the baby gets older, bigger. So there’s some differences like that. There’s also just a lot of types of things on social media where people are seeing, you know, really full bottles of milk when pumping, or milk storage bags that are full, or a freezer full of milk. And those things can make us feel less than adequate, especially if we’re a just a Nefer.

Or if we’re struggling with supply, or we’re just feeling unsure of ourselves. And so perceive low milk supply is actually a pretty big problem. I’ve seen it in my clients fairly often. And we’ll do a weighted feed with the baby. And I’ll be like, your baby just got four ounces, why do you think you’ll have a low milk supply? And you know, they’ll have some reason, right? So it’s not again, really the mom’s fault. If she doesn’t know, she doesn’t know someone didn’t provide her the correct education. And truthfully, for someone who’s, you know, having a baby going to regular visits with the pediatrician and whatnot, this should be something that they’re well aware of, they should be able to tell the difference between low milk supply and not. And when they’re not given the correct education and support, it’s easy to question yourself, I have been there, I’ve absolutely been there and my own personal breastfeeding journeys. So I totally get it. But I think it’s a huge barrier. Because if you start thinking to yourself, oh, no, I’m not making enough milk, and you’re trying all of these things, and you actually are making enough milk and then you don’t see an increase, then it’s, it just shoots your confidence down, right. And all of a sudden, you’re like, oh, man, I don’t know, if I can keep up with us. I can’t pump every two hours, you know, all of the time.

And I can’t constantly be, you know, buying all of these extra things, or whatever it is, and not seeing any results. And so that can feel really defeating. And you might decide, it’s just, it’s not worth it. I can’t keep doing this. It’s too stressful. It’s too much on my mental health. And, you know, I’m already giving formula. And so what if my baby just, you know, switches to Formula entirely. And these are some very common thought processes that moms go through, and it’s totally fine. Again, it’s fine, because it’s what you’re choosing. But if you’re choosing based on, you know, incorrect information, that’s a really big reason why moms give up breastfeeding too early. And it’s unfortunate, again, because I think that the primary thing that we want to focus on is whatever your goals are. And if you’re not able to meet your goals, because of lack of good information, lack of support, things of that nature, it just derails the journey along the way, you know, another one that I really want to highlight, too, is formula marketing. Now, this is not the same thing as formula. And I actually explained this in a previous episode, called, you know, baby formula, or infant formula isn’t bad.

And I talked about the difference between formula and formula marketing. So that’s a really important distinction to make, I would encourage you to check out that episode, if you want to learn more. But the way that baby formula is marketed is very, very predatory. And we really don’t have regulations on it like we should. And most countries, Europe is definitely more strict than the US. And there are some other countries that it’s just an absolute free for all. And the way that it’s positioned, is kind of this like, you know, saving grace, that formula is the answer to all of your problems. It’s the answer to your value as a mom, to your baby’s health to your feeling of acceptance as a mom. And I wish that breastfeeding was positioned that way. But, you know, breastfeeding isn’t something we can sell, you cannot buy breastfeeding, it is something you can do. It is an act that a human body does. And it just is not something that we can simply mark it. I mean, we can, you know, I guess maybe the CDC or somebody could come up with some sort of campaign to promote it. But breastfeeding is so multifaceted. You don’t go by it on a shelf, there’s various ways that you can go about doing it. So it’s not as cut and dry as something like formula.

And unfortunately, Formula companies you know, through sending free samples to you or your OB handing out one or the pediatrician handing out one. It’s just kind of always there in the background like Hey, it’s okay if breastfeeding doesn’t work out because you’ve got formula instead. And yes, technically it is okay. But it’s that kind of messaging that starts to plant this seed of doubt. That formula starts to sort of weave itself into your life through these various marketing techniques. And that can often derailed breastfeeding. And a reason why I say that is that for families that you know, maybe don’t know all the ins and outs of breastfeeding, which is most families, right again, through no fault of your own, the second you start supplementing with formula. Now you’re at a very high risk for stopping breastfeeding altogether. Because you have to maintain lactation, or improve or increase lactation while you’re supplementing with that formula, and then somehow come back and wean off of that formula back onto breast milk. That’s not an easy thing to do, unless you have really good professional support. So once formula begins, we’re looking at sort of a, you know, a stopwatch, a timer, that’s going to tick down and eventually, your baby is probably going to be exclusively on formula. Again, it’s really an uphill battle to go back to exclusive breastfeeding, or back to exclusive breast milk feeding, once you’ve kind of hopped on the formula train, and it is what it is, some babies absolutely need it.

And that was always going to be the way it was gonna go for them. But a lot of the other times that’s not the case. And so that’s another really big reason why breastfeeding gets disruptive. And again, I don’t want to say that, you know, there’s absolutely legitimate needs for formula, don’t get me wrong, I recommend it all the time to clients who need it. But it’s when it’s not needed, it’s when it’s pushed on you and your baby. Or it’s when maybe it was needed temporarily. But no one is helping support, you get back on to breast milk only. And so it’s just really difficult for you to tease that out on your own. That’s really, really hard. The other thing is looking at parental leave. This is huge in the US. And again, many other countries as well. But we’re definitely behind here in terms of employers and government support for this. So let’s say you do get your 12 weeks of FMLA leave, which is often not the case, your employer does not have to pay you for that time off. And so a lot of people are returning to work a lot earlier than that maybe they work at companies that are too small to qualify for family medical leave, maybe even your employer gives you something like short term disability, but you’re still only making two thirds of your salary. And so that’s not enough to sustain your family. Maybe the cost of daycare is also just a lot.

And between that and everything else that you’re doing. You know, it’s just really, really hard to maintain, you know, going back to the workplace and leaving your baby and relying on pumping to sustain your milk supply is really hard for a lot of people. Pumping is not just a matter of getting a breast pump and hooking yourself up to it. There are so many nuances to pumping, which again, I covered in a previous episode. So we can link those up for you in the show notes if you want to refer back to any of them. But there’s so many things about type of pump flange flit pump settings, replacing your pump parts, all these things that you have to take into account how often you pump how long you pump for every time, what you’re doing while you’re pumping, all those things matter if that’s not going well, and you’re relying on that to sustain your milk supply while you’re back at work and you’re away from your baby. Well, you can see very quickly how it can be really hard to maintain breastfeeding, right at some point, it just becomes not worth it.

Or you may have a job where it’s not very easy for you to get pumping breaks, maybe you’re on the road, maybe you travel a lot, maybe you’re a busy surgeon at a hospital and you do nine hour long surgeries. I mean, I’ve absolutely supported clients in those roles. And it can be really, really difficult to find those pumping breaks, if you don’t have some sort of just, you know, cubicle desk job, right, a lot of people don’t have that kind of a job. And even if you get to work from home these days, it’s not necessarily any better, because there’s this different expectation that you’re sort of always available, right? Or sometimes you’ll think that maybe you could nurse your baby instead of actually pumping. But then trying to re separate yourself from your baby again, can be so emotionally painful. Sometimes it’s just easier to pump. There’s so many reasons. But just given the fact that moms are returning to work, especially in the US very, very early on, in lactation, you know, often before their milk supplies to fully regulated. And so it’s no wonder that they’re not able to maintain breastfeeding. Or maybe, you know, once they go back to work, the baby gets used to bottles and the baby doesn’t want to nurse at the breast anymore. And mom’s heartbroken and pumping sucks for her. And she’s like, why am I even doing this? I made it to six months now we’re starting solids, let’s just make the switch. What so what I’m trying to say is I totally get it. I totally get because you have so much stacked against you. And I don’t want you to be listening to this episode thinking, oh my gosh, how am I ever going to make it? That’s not what I want you to think because there is a light at the end of the tunnel here. But I’m also trying to empathize and say I totally get it. These things aren’t easy. I mean, I could give you numerous scenarios.

I’m sure you can think of some of your own right And I’m just kind of trying to give some generalized things that I think could apply to a lot of people that listen to this. But really the last point that I wanted to make about why moms don’t end up breastfeeding, don’t do it for nearly as long as they would have hoped, is because of lack of support in the healthcare system. You know, is your OB talking to you about lactation during your prenatal visits? or your midwife? Are they doing a breast exam to see how your breasts are developing during pregnancy to prepare for lactation? Are they assessing your glandular tissue? Are they reviewing your health history to see if there’s any red flags for you to potentially make enough milk? Have they walked you through that? Probably not. I am shocked at the number of people that don’t get a single breast exam during their pregnancy. That is crazytown. To me, honestly, they should be doing it just to check for breast cancer anyway. But so many are not actually doing hands on assessments of the breast, it’s wild that that’s not happening. But then let’s talk about postpartum. You know, depending on where you give birth, most people are giving birth and hops hospital, some are doing, you know, home birth, some are doing birth centers. And if you are lucky enough to get an actual ibclc, not just a quote unquote, lactation nurse, which by the way is not a thing, maybe a title within the hospital system. But it’s not like an actual credential or doesn’t make somebody a lactation consultant. So if you’re lucky enough to get an ibclc, a lot of the time, they are not able to spend much time with you, they are not able to give you the skills that you need, once you go home. Sometimes their advice is very outdated. Sometimes they have a specific goal, which is just to get the baby on the boob, they don’t care how it’s done, they’ll just shove that baby on there for you and walk away. Because they get to check off a box, right. And so then you go home and you’re like, I can’t do this, I can’t recreate what she was doing. And I don’t know what I’m doing. They didn’t give you any tools beyond your hospital stay. That’s very common. It’s not all of the time.

And I definitely don’t fault my colleagues who work in the hospital, I think sometimes they’re really restrained by a lot of rules and policies and procedures and limits to number of hours, they can work and all of that. But there are definitely some who just don’t care to listen to the patients who are a bit more aggressive, who just aren’t as respectful as maybe someone like me in private practice would be. And so that’s really, really hard. You know, I try to tell my clients to when they don’t get referrals and whatnot, some hospitals don’t allow their lactation consultants to make outside referrals. It’s just against their hospital policy, which is crazy to me, because it’s not like someone like me is in competition with your local hospital, I can’t help you give birth, all I can do is help you with breastfeeding. And if they don’t have an outpatient program, they absolutely shouldn’t be referring you to somebody who does. So you know, even then you go to the pediatrician, right? A lot of times, there’s really poor breastfeeding advice and support there, your OB is generally not that knowledgeable, you’re having a hard time finding a lactation consultant in your area, maybe really need insurance to cover it in order for you to see one and they’re giving you pushback or a hard time or you don’t know how to navigate that system, or they just flat out won’t cover it. So there’s so many obstacles within the healthcare system and around that, that make it so hard for people to get really good support. And everyone is different, right? There are some lactation consultants out there who are incredible, and there are others who are not so great.

And if you get paired with one that’s not so great, and you’re on your last legs, and you don’t get help to continue going with breastfeeding. Well, you’re probably not going to keep going with it. And then there’s the other, you know, Wild Wild West of social media and moms groups and YouTube and Google and all of that. And it’s often very confusing. Moms don’t know where to go to find information that they can trust, they try one thing, maybe it doesn’t work, or, you know, it wasn’t the right thing for them to do to begin with. Who knows, right? There’s so many different things out there, we’re overwhelmed. We’re usually anxious, right? Whether you have full on anxiety, or just you know, some feelings of anxiousness here and there. And it’s a lot to handle, you just had a baby. Great, and all these big life changes are happening. And now you’re trying to feed this baby and if breastfeeding isn’t going well, and you’re not getting the support you need from all of these different places. All of these different prongs, you know, society, understanding, you know, what’s normal formula marketing, you know, you don’t have good parental leave, and then the lack of hair health care support. You are up against a lot. Now again, I don’t want this to sound like oh, it’s just impossible. It’s like this mountain that nobody can ever climb.

Obviously, people do persevere, they overcome. Maybe you got lucky. Maybe you had an excellent ibclc in the hospital. Have you had great prenatal care, maybe you just have not had any problems breastfeeding, I would say, I’m so excited for you, and you are definitely the exception. Now, obviously, you know, we tend to see people in my world that have problems. So oftentimes, I’m not hearing from people where breastfeeding is going exceptionally well for them. But when I’m out and about day to day life, and maybe I’m having a conversation about what I do for work, people love to tell me their stories. And most of the time, their sad stories, I would say, maybe there’s probably been three chance encounters where I’ve just met people, strangers, and they’ve said, Oh, breastfeeding was the best thing I ever did. And I nursed for three years, and it was just so great. That’s a really rare thing for me to hear. Most of the time, people have very personal stories, very sad stories about how they wanted to do it, but they got mastitis or their milk just dried up, or they told the baby to go on formula, and they didn’t know they needed to pump or whatever it was, right. Those are more common stories that I generally hear. And again, my main point that I want to make is that it’s not your fault. Know, if you don’t know what you don’t know. And if you don’t get good information, if you don’t get good support, then I can easily see how you don’t keep breastfeeding. I totally understand this. I see it all the time. And so I’m not here to say you should breastfeed despite all of those things.

But I’m here to say, if you’re struggling with breastfeeding, it’s easy to see why. And I hope that by knowing all of the things that are possibly stacked against you, and you can probably name some specific scenarios in your own mind, or, you know, even other things that I didn’t mention. Right, you can go Yeah, you know, obviously, though, that’s making things harder for me than it should be. And that might even give you a sense of relief, because you’re like, hey, you know, I’m doing great, despite not having great support. That’s really, really hard to even admit that sometimes. So I’m here to say, It’s hard out there. It’s really hard, it makes my job hard. Because oftentimes, I’m telling people, things that they’ve never heard before. And by the time they finally find us, by the time they get to us, and they make an appointment and what have you, you know, it’s a little bit later down the road, most of the time, and they’ll say, oh, gosh, I wish I had known this sooner. I’m like, Yes, I need to, you know, I wish that, you know, everybody could just have great advice from the get-go and know exactly what they’re doing and have support in place anytime they needed it. That is the dream. That’s a dream, folks. I don’t know if we’ll ever get there. I’m always trying to improve that, of course, which kind of leads me to something that I wanted to chat to you guys about because I became a lactation consultants because I kept searching for answers.

And I had to piece so many things together. And I had to navigate this territory of knowing how to determine which information was trustworthy and helpful, and which was not. And then even once I did find information that was trustworthy, I had to then decide whether or not it applied to me. Because not everything does. It’s it’s sort of like, you know, do I have low milk supply? Or is it just that my baby’s overfeeding? Do I have thrush? Or is it just that my baby has a bad latch, and that’s why my nipples are on fire. And when you have to tease that out on your own, it can be really hard to know what’s up and what’s down. It’s a lot of trial and error, even oftentimes, with our clients things are trial and error, where I’ll think something can improve their journey. And we try it. And very quickly, we realize that’s probably not the right thing for you. Let’s try something else. So you know, nothing is an absolute. And I think that’s one of the things that makes breastfeeding so hard, is that it’s not necessarily process oriented. There’s a lot going on all at once. It doesn’t just involve you, it also involves your baby. And when we’re having two people that are in a relationship with one another, and there’s so many different circumstances surrounding them.

And there’s so many different ways that we could go about doing things, it can be really hard to narrow that down and figure out how to apply something to ourselves to our own journeys. And so I would say that I feel really passionate about, we need to individualize breastfeeding, right? There are no blanket rules. As much as I would love to say there are some general rules and things and there are there are no absolutes. There are variations of normal. You can breastfeed imperfectly and still breastfeed and still enjoy it. And I think that that’s a message that more moms need to hear. There are some basic principles that we really do want to try to work towards like a Babies should ideally have a good latch. But what does that mean? And what is their capability? And what is your breast tissue anatomy like, and there’s just all these variations, what is a good latch? That’s pretty subjective a lot of the time. And so knowing that, how do you decide when you’ve reached a state of good breastfeeding? How do you measure that? I personally generally measure that on the baby is gaining weight well, and you are enjoying breastfeeding, for the most part, they’re gonna have your moments, right, you’re gonna have your moments where you’re like, I’m so touched out today. No, thank you.

But if you’re generally going about breastfeeding, pretty problem free, and it’s something that is adding value to your life, then I would say you’re doing pretty well. And I’m less concerned about things like the latch, or how you hold your baby, or whatever else I could be looking at if I’m going to assess breastfeeding, because as long as your baby is healthy and growing well, and you are healthy and enjoying breastfeeding, that’s kind of the standard, right. So that’s a lot. And I feel like I’m saying contradictory things. But I also would say that it’s just complex, right? There’s this web, so to speak of information that we get to pick and choose what works for us. And then we can leave the rest. And that’s true for all things parenting, quite honestly, breastfeeding is really just, I would say breastfeeding is less about infant feeding. And it’s more about parenting, because it’s a mechanical thing that you do with your baby’s body and with your body. But it’s a relationship with yourself, it’s a relationship between you and your baby. And I think that that’s really more of the center stage than it is about the milk and the feeding. And anybody who’s breastfed more than a few weeks, definitely, if you’ve reached like a few months and beyond, would usually agree with that assessment as well. For some people, if you’re just exclusive pumping, you know very much might be more about a feeding journey. But I think there’s like a personal perseverance, there’s a personal stamina that you have to have to continue to exclusively pump. That is honestly something you should be really proud of.

Because exclusive pumping is really hard, you don’t have the same connection with your baby, as if they weren’t nursing directly at the breast, whether or not you choose to exclusively pump, I still think that it’s something to be admired. I even tell people a lot of the time. Although I’m very passionate about breastfeeding. I’ve obviously breastfed two kids. I’m a lactation consultant, I do all these things to support women and breastfeeding. I don’t know that I would make it to a year of exclusive pumping. I’d like to think that I would, but I honestly have never had to be in that position. I don’t know. I don’t know it is really not easy. There’s so much that can go wrong along the way. That I think you have to have a real level of resiliency and a real belief in yourself to keep going with something like that. And you know, it’s not just about having a positive attitude. It’s about also having that support in your life, and feeling like you’re making the best decision for yourself and your baby. Those are all very subjective things. It’s not something that’s really easy to measure. So all of that to say that when I hear from people that breastfeeding is hard, and they’re experiencing challenges and they’re struggling. But you know what, they still want to do it anyway. They want to improve things, they want to keep going. They want to breastfeed, even though they’re going to be breastfeeding imperfectly. And I say, I support you. And I want you to have access to the most helpful information that you could possibly have. And so that’s why I am inviting you to join something really special. And I don’t even know really how to describe it. In some ways. I’m starting to get more articulate about this, because it’s not just one thing.

But that’s our community called the nurture collective. But it’s so much more than a community because inside lives a course but it’s not a course where you have to go from like, Lesson One to lesson 10. It’s a pick and choose your own adventure. It’s like it’s here when you need it. It’s this library of resources, where you can watch videos and read guides and interact with various things that we’ve got there for you inside the program to support you at every single stage of breastfeeding. Whether you’re pregnant. You have a three-day-old, you have a three-week-old, a three-month-old or a three-year-olds. We’ve got a section in there for you. And then there’s our community where we have weekly live coffee chats. These are topic based These are times to connect with us but more importantly, Who remembers other moms who are going through the same things you are, or maybe they’ve been there, and they’re looking to support other moms who are not quite as far ahead as they are. Or maybe you’re just starting out, and you have no idea what to think about all of this breastfeeding stuff, and you just want a trustworthy, safe space to start.

That’s what the nurture Collective is for. We bring in monthly guest experts, they talk about topics that are complementary to breastfeeding. So that’s infant sleep, maternal mental health, parenting, solid foods, speech, all of the things. And so we want to make it this, you know, really well-rounded community. And it has become such a delight. Like, every time when I log in there, and somebody is struggling, right, they’re struggling really hard. It’s so exciting to not just support that person as somebody who is a lactation consultant, but also to see how our members, our community is supporting that person, and really lifting them up and being there for them. So it’s a really powerful place to be, I would love for you to check it out. I’ve got the link here in the show notes. But you can go to the nurture That’s dot co slash subscribe, and go check it out for yourself. I’ve got a little video preview of what our community looks like, I break down every section of it. So you can see what’s included, you can sign up for just the resource library and kind of the course if you aren’t interested in having the community. So you just want to have access to the knowledge and the resources, you can sign up for that you can get lifetime access, or you can join the community. It’s a monthly membership. So I would highly encourage you to check it out.

To help kind of navigate breastfeeding have a trusted place you can go to get information to feel supported to be able to grow that confidence and breastfeeding as you keep going on your journey to prepare if you’re thinking about breastfeeding, and just getting started with it. So I would cordially invite you, I would love to see you there and support you along your breastfeeding journey. And when it’s time for that journey to end, we would love to send you off with a very lovely goodbye. We’ve had some members who have sort of graduated, if you will. And when they leave, it’s so bittersweet, and we look forward to them coming back if they ever have any other babies. But there’s absolutely no judgement, we’ve really made this a safe space for you to get information that you can trust, talk things through, get support and have a community to come to. So if you don’t have support at home, you haven’t had support professionally. You don’t have support in your workplace come to the nurture collective. We would love to welcome you see you there.

In this episode, Jacqueline reviews some common reasons that keep women from breastfeeding. Moms are feeling an immense amount of pressure from society to breastfeed, but there’s a huge lack of support and knowledge around the topic. Even formula marketing pushes new moms to supplement when not needed.

Jacqueline addresses these issues head-on and provides some amazing insight on how to battle these obstacles and where to seek support.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

● How societal norms are causing more and more women to not breastfeed

● Differences between actual low milk supply and perceived low milk supply

● Why the healthcare system is failing new moms

● Why it’s so hard for working moms to keep up their supply

A glance at this episode:

● [2:47] How society norms are getting in the way of breastfeeding past one year

● [4:37] When a mom expresses difficulty with breastfeeding, she’s often pressured to give up with no regard to how she feels

● [9:03] The difference between perceived low milk supply and an actual low milk supply

● [10:16] Some reasons why a mom would think she had low milk supply

● [11:50] How perceived low milk supply can mentally ruin your supply

● [13:00] Jacqueline talks about the effects of formula marketing for breastfeeding mothers

● [16:35] Parental leave is causing women to go back to work sooner making it really hard for them to manage a good pumping schedule and supply

● [20:07] There are numerous obstacles in and around the healthcare system that make it almost impossible for a new mother to meet her breastfeeding goals

● [27:47] Jacqueline’s advice and words of encouragement

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