I have breastfed for a total of 2 1/2 years and #2 is still going. I am also a CLC (Certified Lactation Consultant) who works with moms all across the board. Some over produce, some under produce, some produce just enough. Some only feed at the breast and some only pump and bottle feed. Some breastfeed for as long as they can and supplement with formula and others alternate breastmilk and formula throughout the day. All are great moms!!!
Unfortunately, with social media being so prevalent in our society, most feel inadequate. Moms are seeing daily images of fully stocked freezers and freezer chests bought specifically for breastmilk storage. They are seeing images of other mom's pumping stash and asking themselves what am I doing wrong. Why can't I pump that much and putting pressure on themselves to create a stash that leaves no room for other things in the freezer?
All of this pressure put on ourselves for something our bodies were not necessarily designed to do. Our bodies are designed to feed our babies according to their need. They are designed to produce what is consumed. With the invention of the pump, we have started to trick our bodies into thinking that our baby needs more so we can pump to have a stash to pull from later.
As a working mom myself I completely understand the need for pumping and I, at one time bought into the notion that I needed a large stash to pull from too. I stressed over the oz in my freezer compared to the oz in the images that others were posting. What I forgot was that I only really need enough to feed my baby and for the next feeding. It's nice to have a small stash to pull from for a night out or to leave for a few hours but it's not usually necessary to have days, weeks or even months worth.
Moms are starting to pump earlier and earlier in their breastfeeding journeys to make sure they have a freezer full of pumped milk. They are so stressed about a feeding and pumping schedule to fill out a stash and they don't take the time to truly relax and enjoy the journey.
For those moms that are blessed/cursed with over supply and easily fill out a freezer stash, good on ya! But most moms struggle.
So the next time you go to post that photo of your stocked freezer of your Facebook page or Instagram account, take a minute to think about it. Think how you would feel if you were struggling to simply produce enough to feed your baby or if you were in the position to have to breastfeed and formula feed because no matter how hard you try, you are never able to produce enough.
I'm not asking you to not be proud, I'm simply asking you to be kind.
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