Five things these women didn't know about breastfeeding. Picture: motherhow.com

Annually, seven days of the year are set aside to educate and inform people about breastfeeding.

This year, in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 to 7),  this is what The Association for Dietetics in South Africa registered dietitians said they wish they knew about breastfeeding

Nasreen Jaffer

“I wish I knew that breastfeeding is a learned skill for mom and baby.  As first-time moms, we are expected to know exactly what to do. No matter how much you read, the practical experience of breastfeeding is learned, so expect it to be something new and not something you have to master from day 1.”

Vanessa Clarke

“As with everything in life, everyone’s story is different. From my university days I was very aware of the theory regarding breastfeeding.  However, I didn’t have any idea of the variables that existed. I really struggled to breastfeed my children and what made it even harder was seeing other mothers whose children latched beautifully, or they didn’t struggle with pain. I wish I had known that sometimes breastfeeding doesn't come naturally and that everyone’s story is different - and that is okay to struggle.

Maryke Gallagher

 “I never knew how much I would enjoy it and how much I would miss it once I stopped.  Being able to breastfeed your baby is such a great privilege and the wonderful quality time you have with your baby is priceless.  

"I also learnt that just because it was easy first time around, doesn't mean it is going to be easy the second or third time. Feeding my first and second child was relatively easy as they both loved breastfeeding. 

"When my third child arrived I just assumed she would latch easily and feed easily like the other two did. But this wasn't the case, although with perseverance I’m still breastfeeding 15 months later. My advice to new moms is to get help from a lactation consultant if you are struggling with breastfeeding. They are able to assess each situation individually and provide you with sound advice and support.”

Thembekile Dhlamini

 “I wish someone had warned me that I would not want to go to work at the end of my maternity leave because I wanted to keep breastfeeding. The pain of separation that I thought I would be ready for; well, when the time comes, it cannot be forgotten. 20 months later with my little one, I still struggle to separate.”

Chantell Witten  

“I never knew how important my mind-set would have to be, to truly engage and enjoy my breastfeeding journey. I learnt as a mom that breastfeeding is not a job or a task to complete. It is relationship you build and invest in; therefore it takes time.”