We've heard it all before
"Breastfeeding is so natural"
"It shouldn't be painful"
"Breast is best."
Breastfeeding may be 'natural', but it is NOT easy! And sometimes it IS painful. REALLY painful, and anyone who says otherwise has probably never breastfed. While we're being honest, breastfeeding isn't always the best choice for every mother and child.
Fortunately there has been a rise in support and encouragement given to new mothers desiring to breastfeed. We need to ensure all new mothers are made aware of the vast support network available to them. Lactation consultants and breastfeeding support groups are available in almost all of our area hospitals, and there are several independent lactation professionals as well.
Often the first people an expectant mother will turn to for advice and experience, are her female family members, specifically her mother. Many of my generation were not breastfed exclusively, if at all. Newborn and infant feeding recommendations have changed significantly in the last few years, so even relatives with older children may have been following different standards.
One of the best resources for up to date, real life experience in breastfeeding is other breastfeeding moms! Whether you're looking for the face to face connection of a local La Leche League meeting or prefer the relative anonymity of the internet and social media, there is a support group for you! Ask questions- but be prepared for REAL answers. Mothers are almost always willing to share their joys, perils and realities of motherhood.
"Nursing is painful! Between the raw nipples, engorged breasts and uterine afterpains, I don't know why anyone does it. And then I look at my son peacefully asleep on my breast and I remember why." -Lisa
"There can be extreme highs and lows. Just when you are in tears because you feel like your baby is starving, you get that one good feeding in, and suddenly you feel like Superwoman!" -Brandi
"When my baby was feeding constantly, I was convinced I was starving her. Finally it was explained that my body will produce what she needs and I was able to do a weigh, feed, weigh to ease my concerns" -Jess
"Not only did I appreciate the breastfeeding support, but also just being around other new moms and swapping stories and tips for everything baby related." -Alexandra
"Everyone says you loose the baby weight quickly when breastfeeding. Not me! I'm always hungry and gained more breastfeeding than I did pregnant!" -Emily
Reach out, accept help and most of all, give yourself a break- literally! The hormones, exhaustion and physical recovery from pregnancy and childbirth, take a toll on your body. Add sustaining another human life to your list of to-do and it can be overwhelming. Try to make time for yourself, even if it's just showering, having a cup of tea or taking a walk.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week Superwoman!
Local Breastfeeding Resources