All women know that breasts were anatomically created to feed and nurture their babies. New moms often expect the process of breastfeeding to be relatively simple and hassle-free as it is what nature intended them to do, right? Wrong. Many women go into motherhood with many expectations but not enough education and awareness about the realities of raising a baby, which extends to breastfeeding. For instance, they assume that they will be able to breastfeed all of their children for at least the first year of their lives. And although they might have been forewarned about experiencing some pain, they expect the process to be seamless and easy as no one has indicated that it can be otherwise. But this perfect picture is often not the case. Numerous women find breastfeeding to be stressful and tiresome as their babies do not take to it easily. They stumble upon a multitude of problems that can leave them feeling restless, incompetent, and like they are a bad mom. This is not true. Facing issues while breastfeeding is common.
Here are 5 things you should know about the struggles of breastfeeding:-
1. Focus On Your Personal Journey
New moms have a slew of people sending unsolicited advice their way. Although the intention may be good, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and constantly compare your experience with everyone else’s. Try to steer clear of this and, instead, direct your energy towards you and your baby. After all, all women are different, and we all have different experiences. For example, some women take to breastfeeding easily and don’t encounter any painful symptoms. On the other hand, some women have an extremely hard time trying to breastfeed their newborn, even for the initial months. This is because several factors affect your success with breastfeeding, such as milk supply, latching techniques, nursing positions, the arch of your baby’s palate, and so on. So focus on your journey with your baby and stay positive.
2. Take A Breastfeeding Class Before Giving Birth
There are a lot of specific details to learn and keep in mind as you attempt to breastfeed your baby, and taking a class will help you feel more prepared for what’s to come. It will allow you to learn about different latching techniques, nursing positions, and tips for maintaining supply. In addition, there are many issues that you may encounter that you should be made aware of, such as low or oversupply, breast engorgement, fast letdown, mastitis, and clogged ducts. Overall, it is best to educate yourself and be prepared for any scenario instead of being taken by surprise at the last minute.
3. Have A Breastfeeding Support Team On Standby
Hire a lactation consultant if you can. This will enable you to get help specifically tailored to you and your baby to make breastfeeding a better process for both of you. It is also a good idea to surround yourself with people who are going through the same challenges as you to support one another. Joining a breastfeeding support group for new moms will help you feel less alone and isolated. Most of these groups also do weighted feeds to gauge if your baby is getting enough to eat, so it is a great experience for your baby and you.
4. Remember That Breastfeeding Can Be Hard
It is okay if it never gets better for you. Know that breastfeeding is a struggle and an unpleasant experience for some mothers, and that’s okay. A few mothers may experience an uphill battle with breastfeeding where it gradually gets better with time, but this is not always the case. Sometimes the process doesn’t get much easier, even after trying every trick in the book. It is important to acknowledge that you are doing your best regardless of the issues you are facing.
5. Accept When You Need To Stop
As hard as it may be to admit, sometimes breastfeeding is too painful and difficult to continue. There are various reasons to stop breastfeeding, such as latching issues, low milk supply, or mental health issues. It is important to know when to stop in the best interest of you and your baby. Don’t strain yourself simply because breastfeeding isn’t for you. There are multiple formulas that work well to give your baby the nutrients they need. Putting your foot down is not compromising on your baby’s health, but quite the opposite. The healthier and happier you are, the more attuned you will be to cater to the needs of your little one.
Things don’t always pan out the way we picture it, especially when it comes to motherhood. So, be kind and patient with yourself as you navigate through tricky situations while breastfeeding. Know when to ask for help and additional support and when to stop. The most important thing to ensure is that you and your baby are happy and healthy.