Y’all, breastfeeding is so hard. It is hard for many reasons, and I don’t think that our American culture has quite caught up to this fact yet. When I was preparing for A-Nug to arrive, I had made up my mind that I would most certainly breastfeed. I was excited to start the journey and have my special time with my baby.
I read up on breastfeeding on Pinterest, blogs, talked to friends, and memorized “What to Expect”- so I figured I was more than prepared! I had all of the shallow confidence of a FTM who had never really been around babies. But, when A-Nug was born- I was in for a rough ride.
I am under no illusion that I was the first mother to have a bunch of problems breastfeeding. In fact, now that I have done it (successfully for 18+ months), I have talked to many moms and gotten very similar stories of the breastfeeding struggle!
They mention things like:
- Failure to latch properly
- Overactive letdown
- Supply issues
- Working jobs that are not compatible with pumping
- Lack of education regarding bf’ing
- Medical issues
- Milk Protein/Soy Protein intolerances and allergies
- Tongue and lip ties
- Family and friend pressures to quit
- Psychological/ sexual problems related to nursing
Although it can be straight up frustrating at times, and painful at others- I want to send you all a positive message about breastfeeding. After going though my share of struggles related to nursing, I will still look back on my experience with A- Nug as a pleasant experience. I wanted to ruminate on some reasons why I would encourage women to try to continue breastfeeding when they have had some issues. Many of these are conversations I have had with myself, or with others in my dark days.
Disclaimer: Please do not feel that breastfeeding is more important than your psychological health. Formula feeding is feeding- and that is what baby needs. Do what is best for you and your baby! I’m just offering help and suggestions for those undergoing rough patches in their nursing journeys.
10 reasons to keep breastfeeding
- Mother and baby get a chance to bond and continue that bond for an indefinite amount of time. That bond can be crucial for mothers suffering PPD/PPA. Some days, knowing I needed to slow down my anxieties, and feed my baby, made me continue.
- For SOME mothers, nursing can assist in losing any weight gained during the pregnancy. That is what is largely believed and I was sold on this. However, I gained weight breastfeeding. But I have several friends who lost all of their pregnancy weight. If this is appealing to you, certainly it CAN be a natural progression.
- Frankly, it’s super convenient for mom when on the go. I will never forget when I was going through some uncertainty about formula or continuing to breastfeeding. I was tired. My nipples were chapped (I have eczema!). And I had a trip to Hilton Head Island with A-Nug and family. The thought of packing bottles, water, formula, bottle wash brush etc. made me practically go insane. I was kind of relieved to just have to pop out a boob when A-Nug was hungry. No muss, no fuss.
- Breastfeeding is cheap y’all. Formula is like gold, it’s so expensive! When A- Nug was born, many family members offered, in a well meaning way, to pay for formula since we couldn’t. But I always hated that concept. Don’t get me wrong, both Hub and I were formula fed- but that wasn’t the choice I wanted. Plus, I’m a total cheapskate!
- For working mothers, it can be that longed for reconnection/ centering point for picking up baby. You get that sweet smile, and hear those noises of contentment and suddenly- everything is okay again.
- The often said, “It will get better after two weeks” concept has a grain of truth in it. However, I would amend that statement a bit. “It will get better after three months” is really more like it. I have to say, the first two weeks were absolute hell on earth. But once I found out A-Nug had a tongue tie, and reflux, and MSPI- it got better.
- Connecting with other mothers is important, and can be done through breastfeeding support groups. La Leche League and Kelly Mom are the GO TO sites to start for finding resources and support groups in your area. Please access any of the links below for help with nursing!
- Nursing your child to sleep is frigging Genius! Milk drunk babies can be put down just about anywhere. So much easier for already tired moms!
- Speaking of sleep, you want some right? You would do anything for some sleep, like people do shit for a Klondike bar? Well, guess what? When you co-sleep, you can get more sleep on average than those who formula feed. Just sleep with a boob out, and you can drift off without any problem. Baby wakes up, latches on and you continue sleeping my friend.
- With dedicated breastpumps like the Spectra (so amazing) or the Medela Freestyle, you can get a much needed break from time to time. Pump a bottle, and let your SO or caregiver give it a whirl for a bit. Go get a latte. Hell, go get a massage. Pumps are a MUST HAVE product, even just a manual pump!
So, the thing that you need to consider mommy is, “Am I really wanting to quit breastfeeding? Or am I undergoing hard times right now and I need some support?” There is no shame in asking for help. Hell, I went through every lactation consultant my local hospital had! Not to mention 24/7 lactation help lines. So, it’s all good mama. I got you. Please see the list of nursing resources below and comment below with ANY questions you may have!
La Leche League International: http://www.llli.org
Kelly Mom (a website for parenting and breastfeeding): http://kellymom.com
The CDC recommendations about breastfeeding can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/resources/guide.htm