The capability of people with breasts to feed their children is amazing, and many parents have rightfully been celebrating it. But it's equally important to know its potential risks. As Instagrammer MamaClog has discovered, it's not always a positive experience. Now, she's speaking out about a breastfeeding condition called mastitis, Pop Sugar reports.
Mastitis is usually caused by bacteria that infects the breast via the nipple. Those with it experience breast inflammation when they nurse. However, they can treat it with medication and continue nursing if they want to.
MamaClog didn't know any of this when she first developed the infection. "I have never felt such pain," she recalled. "I dreaded every feed, but persisted with tears in my eyes until I was healed. (Nobody taught me that breastfeeding could be painful, nobody taught me what a good latch looked like.)" She would shake and sweat while nursing, and she started feeling feverish and vomiting. She's now recovered and continues to breastfeed, but not without a struggle. When she went to the hospital, the nurses didn't even have the pump she needed to drain her breasts.
After reflecting on this experience, MamaClog came to an important realization: She was in the dark about her condition for so long because we learn very little about breasts outside their depiction as sexual objects. One mom she met at the hospital, she recalled, gave up on nursing because she had no idea it was normal for the milk not to come out right away. So now, she's calling for more widespread education about the challenges of breastfeeding.
"Women are not expected to give birth alone, but somehow today they are expected to breastfeed alone, and not share their experience with others, and this is why so many breastfeeding relationships end before they've even really started," she wrote. "Breastfeeding is HARD. It needs to be taught and it needs to be learned. Just like walking, talking, reading and writing — it may be natural, but it does not always come naturally."