There are a flurry of emotions and hormones when you give birth; and it's all amplified when you breastfeed. Breastfeeding is magical, terrifying, wonderful, worrisome, and amazing. It really is all those things sometimes and we also know it's best for baby. And sure is easier on mom than preparing formula ... once you get the hang of it.
Breastfeeding can be awkward and challenging at first, which is why this list of 10 things every breastfeeding mom needs to hear can be so helpful.
- Breastfeeding might feel weird. Almost nothing can prepare you for the feeling the first time your baby is put to breast. It's ... weird. It's a whole new sensation of motherly love and baby bonding mixed with oh my gosh is this even working. How am I going to do this? This feels weird. Not all moms enter motherhood with a halo of flowers and zero breastfeeding issues. It might feel weird, and that's okay.
- Baby needs to learn how to latch. Just like you need to learn how to breastfeed, your baby is also learning how to latch onto your breast. Sure, she knows how to suck, but this is the first time she's meeting your nipple and she may need a little time to figure out how to properly get it in her mouth to nurse. Just like you do. The best way to work it all out is to ask for help from a lactation consultant so you both can figure it out.
- You're doing a great job! Simple statement, but oh so true.
- Breastfeeding might hurt at first and that's okay. The first week or two is the hardest and you may experience some pain while breastfeeding. Baby is figuring out how to latch; your nipples are getting used to the new sensation and you may get a little sore. I'm not talking about excruciating pain, but some pain. You will get through it and could end up with that halo of flowers and zero breastfeeding issues in no time.
- You might feels like you're doing it wrong and you're the only mom in the world doing it wrong and you need to know that you are wrong about that. So many of us have some issues with breastfeeding. You are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you. But again, if you need help, ask, get help from a professional.
- You're doing a great job! This needs to be repeated. Keep up the good work, mama!
- You might feel like your baby is doing it wrong and you got the one baby who is doing it wrong but you need to know that you are wrong about that. If baby (or you) has an issue with breastfeeding, a good lactation consultant will help you with that. Remember, this is new for both you and baby and practice makes perfect.
- Breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. Supplementing a little bit doesn't make you a bad mom or a breastfeeding "imposter." Some moms just have to and that's okay. I'm not saying to give up trying to breastfeed and go straight to formula. I'm talking about the moms who have definite supply issues or another complication that warrants some outside help. Consult a lactation educator first. Any bit of breast milk you can give your baby is so good for your baby's health, and yours. Keep trying!
- Pumping can be complicated. The pump is both your best friend and your enemy and just because you don't have it down yet, doesn't make you a loser. You will figure it out. I promise.
- You're doing a great job! Yes, you are. A really great job. Be proud of yourself.
What other things would you add to this list that would be helpful for breastfeeding moms to hear?
Image via Daniel Lobo/Flickr