If you’re a future parent searching for advice on breastfeeding or a new mom scrolling through social media during feeding sessions, chances are you’ve come across a multitude of information. While social media can empower you, provide education and connect you with others who are going through a similar situation, it can also set unrealistic expectations — simultaneously creating both a platform for great content and misinformation.
So how can you know which trends are based on clinical best practices and which you should ignore? Since lactation consultants hear all the latest social media trends for breastfeeding, we asked two of ProMedica’s own to help you cut through the noise.
1. “Breast is Best” or “Fed is Best” Mantras
You may have seen “breast is best” to promote breastfeeding or “fed is best” to take the pressure off. But those ideas may be too limiting for breastfeeding parents and their babies.
“We think educated is best,” says Megan Schlachter, MSN, RN-IBCLC and Megan Whitacre, MSN, RN-IBCLC, lactation consultants and parent instructors. “Every family and baby are different.”
Breastfeeding has amazing benefits, including boosting your baby’s immune system. But it’s not all-or-nothing. In reality, there’s no perfect breastfeeding experience. Any breast milk is beneficial to your baby. At ProMedica, we consider it our job is to make sure your baby is getting fed, and it’s working for both Mom and baby.
2. “The Freezer Stash of Breast Milk”
If you’ve searched the internet for information on breastfeeding, you’ve likely seen pictures of giant freezer stashes of breast milk. But according to our consultants, parents shouldn’t feel the pressure to save this much milk.
Breastfeeding parents often work, so it’s important to have some milk available. But people often panic and want a big stash before they go back to work. Keep in mind you’ll also be pumping while you’re away from your baby. So as long as you’ve saved up a little, you’ll have enough.
Trying to drastically increase your milk supply to create a stash can be both mentally and physically stressful. And sometimes, oversupply of breast milk can cause medical issues for parent and baby.
3. The “Experts”
For the qualified experts, social media is a great tool that helps them share their professional knowledge. But not everyone is an expert.
Whitacre recommends going the old-fashioned route and getting books by qualified experts or taking breastfeeding classes at your local hospital. She also notes that it’s always appropriate bring questions to your physician or lactation consultant.
“There’s a lot of information on the internet to navigate. Instead, talk to an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). We’re here to help with the pros, the cons, and how to make it possible.”
4. Breastfeeding Selfies that Make It Look Effortless
You already know that social media is often filled with carefully curated images. People often choose to present only their best sides online. This is true for breastfeeding too.
“I hear all the time, ‘I thought this was supposed to be natural,’” says Schlachter. “And by natural, they mean effortless and easy. I try to remind new moms that childbirth is also natural. But that doesn’t mean it comes without challenges.”
It’s OK if your breastfeeding journey doesn’t go as expected. It’s actually a learned skill for both you and your baby. Allow yourself time and grace as you work through the learning curve.
We’re Here When You Need Help
Whitacre sums it up well: “Breastfeeding. Motherhood. It’s all a journey.”
It’s our goal at ProMedica to be by your side for every twist and turn. If you have questions or would like to schedule a lactation appointment, call ProMedica’s breastfeeding WARMLINE at 419-291-4577.