From Myths to Mindfulness: How Breastfeeding Nurtures Mental Harmony in Mothers

Published on 5 Aug 2023 . 1 min read

motherhood, breastfeeding, mental health, nurturing a child, breastfeeding week, mothers mental health, support for mothers motherhood, breastfeeding, mental health, nurturing a child, breastfeeding week, mothers mental health, support for mothers

World Breastfeeding Week is globally observed from August 1st to 7th, dedicated to promoting infant health and advocating for breastfeeding. Along with nourishment, the endeavour also focuses on the mental well-being of new mothers. On August 7th 2023, the SHEROES community turns the spotlight on ‘Maintaining a Proper Diet While Breastfeeding’ in an upcoming Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. Curated by Anurupa Bose, Chief Nutritionist at Hera, also a fertility and maternal nutrition specialist, new mothers have an opportunity to get doubts cleared and gain knowledge. 

Research suggests breastfeeding is a unique experience that creates a close bond between a mother and her child while aiding in the child's development. However, numerous myths and doubts surround the emotional effects of breastfeeding. Awareness and education while dispelling misconceptions around breastfeeding hence play an important role in helping new mothers feel supported. 

Debunking Breastfeeding Myths


Myth 1: Breastfeeding Causes Postpartum Depression and Anxiety in Mothers

Fact Check: While it is true that some mothers may experience temporary feelings of sadness or overwhelm, attributing depression to breastfeeding itself is unfounded. Breastfeeding is in fact believed to trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone known for its positive impact on mood and bonding. Numerous studies have shown that breastfeeding mothers often experience reduced levels of stress and increased feelings of contentment due to the hormonal response. 


Myth 2: Breastfeeding Hinders Bonding with the Baby

Fact-Check: Breastfeeding fosters a unique and profound bond between mother and child. The intimate physical contact and the emotional connection established during breastfeeding promote attachment and emotional security


Myth 3: Breastfeeding is always painful

Fact-Check: While some women may experience discomfort initially, breastfeeding is not necessarily painful for all new mothers. Most mothers are able to overcome these challenges with professional guidance and support. Breastfeeding should be a comfortable and soothing experience for both mother and baby, promoting love and bonding through the natural release of happy hormones. If someone experiences persistent pain while breastfeeding, seek help from a lactation consultant or healthcare professional. 

The Crucial Role of a Support System

Breastfeeding thrives in a supportive environment. Here's how mothers within the SHEROES community have harnessed various supportive resources, generously sharing their insights and experiences of motherhood through firsthand accounts. 


Emotional Support:

Breastfeeding can bring up a range of emotions for mothers. A supportive partner, family, and friends can provide emotional support during highs and lows. This positive atmosphere can help mothers embrace their role with pride and purpose.

Shakun, a new mother from Gujarat, shares, “Breastfeeding should be a personal choice of mother & child, they can figure out if it works for them or not. Based on my recent experience, my honest opinion can move eyeballs, but it should not be a matter of discussion & certainly not done under any peer/societal pressure. It's often heard, "Ohh, you produce so less/much", directly impacting the self-worth of a new mommy. My partner came to the rescue to guard me against such comments when breastfeeding worked for me initially with the help of 'Genie' assigned to me at the hospital & failed by 1.5month age of the baby. I started producing only after seven days of birth, so my child had already tasted formula & could not let it go. After 1.5 months of trying to latch & breastfeed exclusively, to him crying and hungry, I decided to pump & give him a mix of formula & pumped milk. Nothing is easy, be it breastfeeding or pumping, as each of it has its own difficulties, but shaming a mommy for her choices & child for not being able to latch can just wreak havoc on the mental well-being of mom in those testing times - we as a society need to let go of it & mind our own business.”


Practical Assistance:

New mothers need practical help with breastfeeding, such as household chores and caring for siblings, to ease their burden and reinforce teamwork in the family.

Akanksha, a mother from Delhi, recounts, "The breastfeeding journey had a bumpy beginning for me. Despite a normal delivery, my milk supply faced an unexpected hurdle. It was quite stressful as I struggled to meet my baby's hunger needs. However, during those initial weeks, I found support from my mother. She assisted with the early morning feedings and burping and prepared 'Panjiri' to aid postpartum recovery and stimulate milk production. My parents also arranged for a nanny to help with the baby's full body massages, allowing me some much-needed relaxation. Interestingly, when I introduced formula alongside breastfeeding, it alleviated the pressure I felt. Strangely, this blend worked wonders as my milk supply found its balance. The consistent support from my maternal family transformed what felt like a daunting phase into something far more manageable."

Encouragement and Affirmation:

Breastfeeding moms need a supportive system to shield them from negativity and encourage them. Celebrating milestones, no matter how small, reinforces confidence and motivates them to continue.

Susmita, a mother from Mumbai, shares, "My personal experience of breastfeeding was full of learnings & surprises. My gynaecologist helped me understand the value & benefits of breastfeeding, including dos & don’ts. The nurse attending me in the hospital was instrumental in guiding me. The most vivid memory is getting a fever every now & then because my breasts turned stone with milk! Yes, if your mammary glands are overproducing milk & it’s not used, then chances are new mommies get a fever. So, that’s how I started to manage my breast milk by feeding & pumping. I feel new moms need support & guidance to understand breastfeeding, especially because not all bodies are the same & experiences differ from mommies to mommies.” 


Overcoming Challenges and Seeking Support

Breastfeeding can be challenging, but addressing these obstacles is key to success. Let's explore common challenges, practical tips, and resources for Indian mothers seeking support.

Breastfeeding Difficulties:

Challenge: Some mothers may encounter breastfeeding difficulties, such as latching problems, low milk supply, or nipple pain, especially during the initial days.


  • Seek professional guidance: Contact a lactation consultant who can provide personalised support, identify potential issues, and offer solutions.
  • Skin-to-skin contact: Practice skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately after birth and during breastfeeding sessions. This helps stimulate the instinct for breastfeeding and promotes a more robust latch.
  • Frequent nursing: Offer the breast frequently to stimulate milk production and ensure the baby receives enough nourishment.

Time Constraints:

Challenge: Modern lifestyles often present time constraints, making it challenging for mothers to dedicate sufficient time to breastfeeding, especially if they have work or other responsibilities.


  • Establish a feeding schedule: Create a breastfeeding schedule that fits your daily routine and allows regular nursing sessions.
  • Pumping: Consider using a breast pump to express milk and store it for times when direct breastfeeding is not possible. This enables you to maintain your milk supply and ensure your baby continues to receive breast milk.

Societal Pressures:

Challenge: Breastfeeding mothers may face societal pressures, including negative comments, lack of public breastfeeding spaces, or judgment from others.


  • Educate your support system: Share information about the benefits of breastfeeding with your family and friends to gain their understanding and support.
  • Advocate for breastfeeding-friendly spaces: Encourage the creation of breastfeeding-friendly environments in public places and workplaces. Speak up about the importance of normalising breastfeeding in society.

Emotional Support:

Challenge: Feelings of self-doubt or isolation may arise during breastfeeding, impacting a mother's confidence.


  • Join a breastfeeding peer group: Participate in local breastfeeding support groups where you can connect with other mothers facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences and seeking advice can be incredibly empowering.
  • Online forums and resources: Utilize online platforms and resources that offer expert guidance and allow you to connect with a broader community of breastfeeding mothers.

Mothers online also find support in the SHEROES Health and Parenting - Child Care communities through peer to peer learning and valuable discussions with experts. Nurturing maternal well-being during breastfeeding is a collective effort that benefits both mother and child. Don’t forget to get your doubts cleared and seek guidance around breastfeeding from specialist Anurupa Bose in our upcoming AMA on August 7th. Connect with our counsellors for mental well-being guidance through AskSHEROES, our free chat-based helpline. 


Valuable Resources for Breastfeeding Support in India:

  1. La Leche League India: An organisation offering breastfeeding support, information, and local groups across India.
  2. Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India: Provides resources, training, and advocacy for breastfeeding promotion in India. 
  3. Government Hospitals and Health Centers: Many healthcare facilities have lactation consultants and breastfeeding support programs.
  4. Private Lactation Consultants: Private lactation consultants are available for personalised assistance and support.


Vandana Das
Vandana is a full-time writer, blogger and content strategist. She loves travelling and making doodles and comic strips.

Share the Article :

Similar Articles You love
Download App

Get The App

Experience the best of SHEROES - Download the Free Mobile APP Now!