Breastfeeding history and myths
History of breastfeeding
This was once well accepted and the only logical way that a mother would feed their baby. Not only did it provide an excellent source of nutrition, it also provided an opportunity for mother and baby to bond. Until the 19th century almost all babies were breastfed. For mothers that could not breastfeed they would hire a wet nurse, who was another mother who was lactating to feed their baby.
It was the industrial revolution that promoted artificial feeding because women were entering factories. It was the time of the second world war when the bottle became popular with middle class women. This change was ranked the biggest change in feeding practices since the invention of cooking. The popularity was due to bottle-feeding being regarded as a modern scientific process. By the 1960's only 18% of women breastfed, but it would rarely be carried on after leaving the hospital, when ideally a women should breast feed for at least the first three months.
In the last 20 years there has been an increase with breastfeeding due to a realisation that it is superior to bottle-feeding. More women are putting in the energy and time to breast feed.
Breast feeding myths
I don't have enough milk: This is only because breast feeding has not been established. Usually all mothers will produce enough milk.
It makes me too tired: However there is more preparation with bottle feeding. You will have to give your baby more attention but once you have established a rhythm there should be a break of four to six hours between feeds. The tiredness is usually associated with the extra responsibility.
It is painful: Once breast feeding is established some mothers describe feeding as pleasurable. Often the let down reflex may not work but this is usually due to stress.
Breast feeding ruins your figure: This is not true, in fact it may facilitate the fat metabolism required to dispel extra weight gained during pregnancy, around the hips and waist. This may be due to our cultures inclination to associate breasts with sexuality rather than nourishment. Your body's shape will change after your first pregnancy whether you breastfeed or not. These changes are dependent on factors such as genes and age.
Be aware that it is beneficial to have a supportive bra when breastfeeding for support, as your breasts will be carrying extra weight.