Breastfeeding Moms Can Benefit From Social Media, But Should Avoid Shaming Or Costly Fads
Marybeth Milton, RN
Lactation Consultant, Telfair BirthPlace
Smart Living: Social media outlets such as Facebook are full of opinions on just about any topic—and that includes breastfeeding. Should new moms who are trying to breastfeed follow social media advice or avoid it?
Marybeth Milton: Women have needed and received breastfeeding support long before social media came around. They had family and friends that they leaned on. Today, some of that does come from social media, and it is both wonderful and necessary to have that support and encouragement. But if a woman has an actual issue or problem with breastfeeding, they should consult a professional.
Social media can also be a place for guilt and what’s known as mom-shaming, where moms are made to feel bad because they haven’t done this or that. That’s not true support and I hope women can avoid that kind of advice.
Many evidence-based studies have shown the advantages of breastfeeding over formula feeding, so unless there is a rare medical reason for not doing so, we want to help moms breastfeed. But we would never try to make a mother feel guilty about struggling with it or needing help, or if they choose not to breastfeed.
SL: What about trends that pop up on social media? One recent example is eating lactation cookies to increase milk production.
MM: If something helps ease your mind about breastfeeding, there’s usually no harm in having it. This is our perspective on some herbal supplements, too. Lactation cookies are made with ingredients like oatmeal and flaxseed which are good for a new mom’s diet, but there’s no data that supports the idea that they increase production. Still, there’s no harm unless you eat too many. The store-bought kind can be expensive, so I advise women to make their own. There are tons of recipes on the internet.
This also reiterates the benefit of consulting a professional when you have a problem—or a perceived problem. Women have always been concerned about their production because they can’t see the volume that their baby is taking in. But if the baby is gaining weight, having wet and poopy diapers, and is progressing normally, we have the confidence to say that the mom is making enough milk.
We are always ready to be part of your support system, whether your question is about production or other common challenges with latching or pain when breastfeeding. Many times, we can troubleshoot and provide solutions over the phone. But private consultations are also available by appointment to assist you with prenatal breastfeeding questions or postpartum breastfeeding support. Please call our Breastfeeding Warm-Line at 912-819-8231.