Breastfeeding has always been important to me. I knew I was going to breastfeed the second I found out I was pregnant. I watched tons of videos on how to get a great latch, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. In the final weeks of my pregnancy, I felt comfortable with my decision to nurse my baby.
When Walter was born he latched within seconds and nursed for around thirty minutes. Natural I thought we were off to a good start. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. We struggled A LOT in the beginning. In fact, we still struggle every day. However, I am pleased to say we’ve made it to nine months, and we have no plans on stopping anytime soon.
If you’re a breastfeeding mama, and you’re struggling, I hope this post helps you in some way. Remember to take one day at a time, and don’t be so hard on yourself.
STRUGGLING IN THE BEGINNING
In the beginning, I dealt with a lot of nipple pain. For the first two weeks or so I would cry every single time he latched. Literally every single time. The pain was so bad I honestly considered giving up and formula feeding. I’m very thankful that I have a loving, supportive partner who wouldn’t let me give up. Without his support and kind words, I wouldn’t have made it.
I want to take the time to say pain is not normal. It’s a sign that your baby isn’t latched correctly. This could be due to a lot of things, but the most common are a lip or tongue tie. My son has a lip tie, and unfortunately, we didn’t discover it until a few weeks ago. If you suspect your little one might have a lip or tongue tie make sure you bring it up with you pediatrician.
DEALING WITH NEGATIVITY
I struggled with this a lot in the beginning of my breastfeeding journey. For some reason, a lot of people feel the need to comment of things that either has nothing to do with them or things they know nothing about. It can be hard to tune these things out, especially if you’re a new mom. I know I always hated hearing people say I should have formula at home “just in case”, or having people tell me to cover up while nursing in public. Unfortunately, it seems like people always have something negative to say to breastfeeding moms. My advice is to let it go in one ear and out the other, and if that doesn’t work don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself!
LOW MILK SUPPLY
This is something that most new moms are concerned with. Honestly, it’s incredibly rare for a woman to not produce enough milk for her baby. Most of the time low milk supply is caused by a lack of knowledge and support. However, in some cases, low milk supply can happen with ample knowledge and support.
If you work outside of the home like me, you might experience a dip in supply when you return to work. If this happens to you, make sure you do everything you can to increase your supply before it’s too late.
Low supply is something I’ve faced since returning to work. I’m very lucky, and with the help of some amazing women, I’ve been able to supplement my son with donated breast milk. I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am to the ladies that have helped me feed my son. I will be forever grateful, I can only hope someday I’ll be able to return the kindness.
Feeling stressed or overwhelmed is something I still struggle with every day. Being the only person who can feed a tiny human being can feel like a lot of weight on your shoulders. I’m very lucky that my son was willing to take a bottle of expressed breast milk every now and then. If I wasn’t able to get these tiny little breaks, especially in the beginning, I might have pulled all of my hair out!
Nursing my son has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but the most rewarding. The bond we have is like nothing I’ve ever experienced and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Every mom deserves to feel the amazing bond and love that comes with nursing a child, and every baby deserves the food nature intended for them.