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The image of breastfeeding we see in the media is usually of serenity and love; a smiling mother looking adoringly down at her baby, latched onto her breast naturally and comfortably.
But this idealised picture, much like many of the others we see of motherhood and pregnancy, often looks nothing like the reality.
Social media collective The Leaky Boob gained a social following of tens of thousands through their less-than-glamorous depictions of real life feeding, allowing their strong community of mums to reach out to other members and ask for help and advice.
One recent Instagram post has gained some serious attention for its honesty.
An un-named mother has taken to the community to share a candid snap of her bent over her baby, trying to feed using the ‘dangle feed’ position to nurse her little one.
‘These photos are not of a sacred, special #breastfeeding moment. They aren’t to celebrate my belly or even feeding my baby. These photos are of me trying to survive,’ the mum writes on the post.
She explains that she was suffering from mastitis after skipping a feed and wearing a poorly fitted bra, but that despite having five children this was only the second time she had experienced it.
‘The reason for feeding in this position was to attempt to drain the breast more fully,’ she continues. ‘It worked for me in combination with several other measures such as warm compress, frequent emptying of the breast, breast massage, fluids, and rest.
‘The dangle feed position – as hard as it is to hold when you’re fighting a raging fever and absolutely agony in your breast – helped turn things around for me. It’s not pretty, it’s not an inspiring breastfeeding moment captured in camera, but it’s real and it saved me.’
Commenters on the post were quick to reassure the mum.
‘Oh, yah! Been there, it sucks balls. Good work, Mama,’ said one encouraging commenter.
‘Mastitis is horrible, been there done that too many times. Bless your heart,’ said another, and a third simply called her a ‘Breastfeeding Warrior.’