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You know meal trains? The thing that friends do for mamas when they’ve just had a baby? Well, some of my dearest friends live thousands of miles across the world from me, but still wanted to help out while our family goes through the transition of adding another baby to our home.
So, they’ve done a ‘guest post train’ and I couldn’t be more thankful! It has given me the ability to take some maternity leave while still having the blog updated regularly.
Emily’s post today is about the challenges that she has overcome while breastfeeding. I so appreciate the advice and encouragement that she shares here.
If you’re interested in my breastfeeding journey, you can read all about it in this post –> Why I Chose Formula Over Breastfeeding
However, keep reading for all the great tips Emily has for you!
So often breastfeeding is made out to be something that will come naturally, easily and be a smooth process. However, that is rarely the case. Breastfeeding is most often not easy. It doesn’t come naturally. And it’s anything but a smooth process.
Many moms plan to breastfeed but then quickly switch to formula when they meet hurdles. They are expecting it to be easy and when it’s not they then assume something is wrong with them.
Being a new mom has so many stresses and worries and feeding your baby shouldn’t have to be one of them.
Feel like you’re ready to call it quits with breastfeeding? Then this post is for you. It’s for the mom who feels like they just can’t get it right. The mom who wants to breastfeed but cries every time it’s time to feed your baby because you dread the pain. Dread the frustration. Dread feeling like a failure.
Here is what to do before you give up on breastfeeding:
1) Vent to Someone Who Supports You
Get the feelings OUT.
Those feelings of exhaustion mixed with frustration can only lead to feeling worse and worse unless you talk it out. Vent to your husband. Your mom. A trusted friend. Anyone who will support you and remind you that YOU ARE A GREAT MOM.
Cry, yell, punch something. Just get those emotions out of your system.
When choosing who to vent to, it’s important to consider who you choose. Be sure it’s someone who knows your desire to breastfeed. As a husband, friend, or parent it’s very likely they will see you hurting and push you to switch to bottle feeding. They love you and seeing you in pain hurts them so they just want to help. But if breastfeeding is something that you want to do, you need to be surrounded by people who support that decision and will help cheer you on.
2) Focus ONLY on Breastfeeding
I know this is easier said than done. But it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the things that the nursing can just push us over the edge. Doing laundry? Cooking meals? Cleaning house? STOP.
Everyone loves cuddling a baby. Call in the troops and SLEEP. Commit to at least 3 days of your ONLY tasks being SLEEPING and NURSING. You need rest and getting rest allows your body to recover and better be able to handle the physical demands of feeding a baby. Make sure the caregiver knows to WAKE you so you can feed your baby!
3) Nurse, Nurse, Nurse
When we feel at our wits end is tempting to pump bottles and get a BREAK. It’s tempting to supplement so we can get more solid sleep rather than having to be the one to feed the baby every single time.
However, the more you nurse…the easier it will get. Having the baby get their nourishment directly from you is the BEST way to regulate your supply as well as get in the groove of meeting the baby’s needs. You need time to get to know each other and learn each other!
4) Switch Up Positions
There are many different ways to nurse a baby. Getting a good latch is crucial and trying out different positions can make a HUGE difference.
Be sure you have plenty of support when sitting (pillows are your friend!). Look up images of the variety of nursing positions and try every one multiple times, even switching up during a feeding to help find the most comfortable placement for you and your baby.
Some moms are more comfortable nursing in bed, some have to sit in a chair every feeding. Figure out what best works for YOU.
Often a bad latch can cause painful, cracked, bleeding nipples. The best thing to do is to let them air dry as much as possible and to load them up on with a nipple cream to soothe and heal.
5) Have Someone Watch and Assist
Yes, that sounds silly but when making sure you have a good latch it’s often hard to SEE from the angle as the person feeding the baby. Watch videos, meet with a lactation consultant, have a friend who has nursed come over. Even have your husband watch some videos with you to see what proper latch looks like and have him help guide (my husband is a PRO at this point!).
Having someone see what little changes you can make helps remind you that the struggles you are having CAN get better. Small changes and alterations can make the entire process smoother. Plus having someone with you while you’re feeding is a reminder of their support and love and an opportunity for them to keep cheering you on and reminding you that you’ve got this!
6) Give it One Day at a Time
Yes, we all have goals. And having a long-term goal is GREAT! Do you want to nurse your baby for the first year of their life? Awesome! But when you’re on the first week of their life and it’s miserable? 51 more weeks can feel like an eternity.
One Day. Nurse TODAY.
Don’t even worry about what you’re going to do tomorrow. Make it through THIS day. THIS feeding. And when you do? Feel proud! You did it! You met your goal!
Don’t think too far into the future, focus on the now and you will be shocked how quickly one day turns into another and another and before you know it you’ve met that long-term goal.
7) Be Encouraged
Even when it seems impossible. Even when you’re facing every breastfeeding issue under the sun. It will get better.
Each day is an opportunity to fine tune and tweak things to help ease your pains and allow for an enjoyable experience.
If breastfeeding is something you want to do, then keep reminding yourself of that. It will get better. You will meet those goals. You CAN do this!!!
Looking for more breastfeeding tips? Here are my posts on this topic:
- Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
- 5 Tips for Increasing Supply While Breastfeeding
- Pumping, storing and using Breastmilk
- Breastfeeding Issue: Battling Thrush
- My Favorite Breastfeeding Items