By the time you have read the books, attended the class, researched the forums and listened to your doctors, you know that breastfeeding is the best option for nourishing your baby. Making that happen, however, isn’t always as easy as it seems. Here are a few pieces of advice for moms wanting to breastfeed:
1. Check your expectations. It’s great to do your research and be prepared, but breastfeeding, like parenting in general, may not be exactly as you imagine. Breastfeeding can be challenging. It takes work, and that’s okay. Don’t be discouraged if your journey doesn’t start out looking the way you planned. After all, some of the best sights are seen on detours.
2. Get outside your bubble. Whether this is your first child or your seventh, the first few weeks as you start breastfeeding are grueling. Hours become days and days become lifetimes. You get stuck in a short-lived cycle where every little problem is the end of the world and breastfeeding becomes more and more stressful. Stop the insanity by taking a walk outside, talking to a friend or reaching out to a lactation specialist. It’s important to gain some perspective and realize that little problems are just that- little.
A few women can breastfeed without any problems, but it usually involves at least a little hard work and determination. Sometimes it is the simple things, like managing your expectations and stepping outside the baby bubble, that can make your experience that much easier.
3. Use your resources. You would think that giving birth would prevent most women from being shy, but so many moms struggle with breastfeeding in silence. It’s normal to hit a few bumps on the way, but you should know that most women can successfully breastfeed, even if it means getting some help. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends or family members for advice (watch out for outdated or dangerous suggestions, though!). Better yet, contact a free hotline, breastfeeding specialist, doctor or postpartum doula with all your questions and concerns. There are many people who want to be on your team, all you have to do is let them.