After nursing three children I am confident in three things. 1) It’s not always easy, 2) Your experience is very specific to you and your baby and 3) It’s not for everyone.
If you decide not to breastfeed, for whatever reason, you have chosen the best option for you and your baby. Breastfed or not, be perfectly at peace knowing your baby is getting everything he or she needs from the nourishment you’re providing.
If nursing is for you, as you embark on this journey of breastfeeding know that there are many factors that contribute to the experience. Hormones, nutrition, and how quickly your baby learns to nurse are just a few.
In my opinion, the most important thing to consider is the health and happiness of yourself and your baby. I’ve come up with the 3 P’s to help you achieve both.
Regardless of how long or how briefly you nurse your baby, be proud of the fact that you did it! I was so adamant with my first baby that I was going to exclusively nurse, and because of factors that were out of my control I was unable to do so. Because I was so set that it was the only option, I was really hard on myself over not being able to do so for more than eight weeks.
Looking back, I realize I should have been proud of nursing my baby for those eight weeks despite the circumstances my body was facing. And looking back, stopping was without a doubt best for both us. Whether you nurse for two days or two years, be proud of yourself for the nourishment you’ve provided your baby.
You and your baby are learning something very new to both of you, so be patient. As you will quickly learn there are a lot of breastfeeding positions, schedule suggestions, opinions, and phases involved with breastfeeding an infant. Be patient as you try them and get a feel for what works best for the two of you. Be patient with your body as it allows itself to be comfortable with breastfeeding. Be patient with your baby as he or she settles into a life full of milk, sleep, and dirty diapers.
Lastly, be patient with all of the advice, suggestions, and opinions you receive. Everyone has their own experience and what worked best for them and they mean well sharing that with you, but it can be overwhelming, so don’t feel like you have to try everything you hear.
Let’s be honest, in some ways this will come naturally, but in all seriousness don’t let this experience get you down. It can be one of the most difficult yet rewarding journeys for a new Mom.
Talk with your significant other or support person about what you need (like ice water, you will be so thirsty when nursing), don’t be shy (about your needs or your body), and let your significant other help (whether that’s with supplementing one feeding a day or pumping and allowing them to feed the baby) so that you can have a minute to do something for yourself to help you feel like yourself and not just a milk factory. If you’re feeling down, don’t be afraid to bring it up, it is common to experience this postpartum and there are lots of ways your support system can help! Enjoy this time with your baby and hang in there, Momma. You’re doing great!
If you are caring for an infant, toddler, child or teenager and need some assistance and guidance, a Cariloop Care Coach would love to support you and your family through the caregiving journey. Become a member or call 1-844-790-5667 to get started.