Dear Pregnant Mom and all other Moms,
Have you decided to breastfeed as soon as you give birth? If so, then good for you. If not, you might want to consider doing so. There are so many benefits you and your baby can get from breastfeeding.
Other than it being beneficial, it is also economical. You don’t even need to invest in bottles and pumps, nor buy nursing covers and clothes with boob-access!
But, it is not a walk in the park. It is not easy, I tell you. I do not intend to scare you. I know a lot of moms who gave up on the first month or two, and I don’t want you to, so I’m sharing you 5 essential things that you should have to be successful in your breastfeeding journey (other than your breasts, of course. :P).
It’s like deciding to marry your husband and signing the marriage contract, you have to stick to your decision, for better or worse. The road will be bumpy and there will be hurdles along the way – growth spurts, teething, colic, nipple-biting, stress, tantrums, post-partum depression, your plans not going your way, people telling you to stop, and much more – but stick to it. Never give up.
I’ve been there. There are so many moments when I would be so stressed and tired and emotional, that I would think about giving up and just give the bottle so I can have some space and peace. But, whenever I think about the negative effects of the bottle and the formula to my baby, I just carry on breastfeeding.
2. Correct Information
This will be your primary weapon against all the obstacles. There will be people telling you to stop, telling you not to feed when sad or exhausted (yes, you can), not eat certain food (yes, you can eat anything, in moderation), not to drink alcohol (yes, you can, in moderation), not to drink anything cold (yes, you can), not to take a bath at night (yes, you can), that your milk is not enough that you need to top up with formula (there is never a need), etc. There are much more wrong beliefs that I wanted to list down here, but I’ll leave that for another post.
I suggest you research about breastfeeding. Read as much as you can about it while you’re pregnant, so you are prepared. This is what I did when I was at home while waiting for the little one to come out. Do not just read, find a reliable source. There are blogs out there that are written by IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants), people who spent their precious time researching about breastfeeding and breastmilk and helping people understand it.
There will be times when you will be weak enough to just give up. This is when you need at least one to support you on your decision to breastfeed. Your chosen support will be the one to push you when you decide to give up, convince you when you yourself do not believe anymore, stand by you when all the others are telling you that you’re doing it wrong, guide you when you forget how to do it right, do things for you when all you do is breastfeed all day, and sometimes, take the baby away from you when you need some space to breathe.
Your support must be as informed about breastfeeding as you are. Bring them to your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant. Make them read the stuff you read. The more people who support you, the more successful you are in your breastfeeding journey.
You may also join groups and make friends with moms like you.
4. Expert Guidance
Believe it or not, there are still pediatricians who are not informed about breastfeeding and there are also doctors who still think that formula is better than breastmilk. If your doctor is not a breastfeeding advocate, you’ll find it hard to do it. You’ll have more doubts about your capability to breastfeed if the expert you are running to is not the expert you need.
How do you know if your doctor is not a breastfeeding advocate? Their quick solution to your breastfeeding problems is to switch to formula feeding instead of figuring out what makes it difficult for you and teaching you to do it better.
You will need a lot of this. There will be several growth spurts along the way, and it will make you think you do not have enough. There will be times when you won’t be able to do anything but breastfeed. There will be crying moments (you and baby). But, hang in there. You are not the only one. Just pack on a lot of patience and continue breastfeeding.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Let me know! 🙂