Your mom, your friends, multiple hospital nurses, your midwife, your pediatrician, your obstetrician…..Why does everyone tell you something different about breastfeeding?
The reason is actually very complicated and exposes the underlying historical sexism and misogyny in the fields of science and medicine. Simply: breastfeeding has historically been a “women’s health issue” and, until pretty recently, no one actually cared enough about women’s health to invest time and money into proper research.
If you do a PubMed or EBSCO search for scientific research articles about breastfeeding, you will find that there were virtually none until about 1950. Even then, the research is very sparse and dismal until it started to skyrocket around 2010. Isn’t this crazy? Breastfeeding is a basic biological function and yet we knew nearly nothing about it until 10 or so years ago?!
The lack of scientific knowledge helps to explain the huge amount of conflicting advice out there. Many people rely on their personal experiences when doling out “advice”. Others rely on “something they read somewhere”. In addition, our exposure to SO MUCH online “information” contributes to many myths and inaccuracies.
Lastly, many breastfeeding issues simply don’t have a “one size fits all” solution. Most of these issues are the result of many factors and require individualized strategies, education, planning, and care. It is also why most breastfeeding issues take TIME to solve. There is no magic pill, there is no special fairy dust. There ARE, however, some amazing IBCLCs, nurses, midwives, doctors, and other care professionals out there who are committed to lifelong learning, investigating, consulting, and supporting you in your breastfeeding journey!