Preparing for Motherhood: Planning to Breastfeed

Guest post by Myra from My Blessed Life

When my son was born, I had academic knowledge of the breastfeeding “how-tos” crammed in my brain, but like so many other life experiences, I was lacking just that – experience.

I firmly believe that breastfeeding is an art. Some babies are born with a natural ability to successfully latch on the first try. Others are born lacking the “on the first try” ability. My baby was in the latter category.

We struggled for days and weeks. It was a huge learning curve for us both. Apparently we finally figured it out because at 14 months my baby is still nursing “part-time.” I never thought I would still be breastfeeding. Never say never!

Because of the difficulties I had starting out, helping women who are facing breastfeeding, or dealing with frustration has become a passion of mine. Two months ago, I posted several practical breastfeeding tips that worked for me. The response was fantastic and the comments were very helpful.

So how can expectant moms prepare to breastfeed?

Have reasonable expectations.

Realize that every baby is different. Some latch on right away, and others are slower. Prepare yourself mentally that just because your baby is hungry and you have milk doesn’t equal an instantly fabulous equation!

Stay calm.

Babies have amazing perceptive abilities! When you get stressed or frustrated because your baby isn’t “getting it” he or she will pick up on it right away. If you can stay calm, breathe deeply and know that everything will be okay. In normal situations the baby will (eventually) nurse, and everything will look brighter.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help.

The hospital where I delivered had a magnificent lactation consultant. She was wonderful, encouraging and supportive. A lot of nursery nurses are also lactation consultants, so if you are struggling in the middle of the night when a LC may not be there, ask for a nursery nurse to come talk to you. It’s one thing to talk, vent and cry to your husband, but it is SO helpful to talk to another woman who knows what you are talking about.

Determine your support group before the birth.

I’m so thankful that my mom, my sister, my mother-in-law and a dear friend gave me the womanly support that I desperately needed in those early weeks. If you don’t have a group of supportive women (that you feel comfortable around), be sure to contact the La Leche League. You can go to meetings prior to having your baby to meet other like-minded women. If you have questions or need support the LLL has trained women available.

Breastfeeding is sometimes a controversial subject, so decide where you stand on the issue and don’t let anything anyone says hurt your feelings or change your decision.

Prepare for Mommy Guilt.

Recognize that it is real. The thoughts and feelings that precede “mommy guilt” are inherent in us. God brilliantly created women this way. We are elated at the birth of our baby, but then when things aren’t “perfect” to us, we worry. We worry about the number of wet or dirty diapers, that our baby isn’t getting enough milk or that something might be wrong and on and on.

This is a downward spiral you want to avoid. Believe me, I’ve been there.

As moms, we are not perfect. We make mistakes. Some moms can breastfeed, some moms can’t.

Breastfeeding is a natural choice, but it’s not an honor badge that makes one mom superior to another.

You have to do what is best for you and for your baby. It’s doesn’t matter what Grandma or Great-Aunt Sarah think. You have to deal, by God’s grace, with the demons of “mommy-guilt” and make the best decision for you and your baby.


Myra enjoys her days as a SAHM and wife to her childhood sweetheart. She blogs at My Blessed Life about various topics to inspire your heart and your home.

8 Replies to “Preparing for Motherhood: Planning to Breastfeed”

  1. Good one, Myra. I totally thought it would come naturally for me. I bawled for a week, but we got through it… I hurt for 3 weeks… but we got through it… I was FINALLY comfortably nursing at 6 weeks, and loving every minute of it.

    My biggest advice? Nursing happens on supply and demand. If your baby acts hungry, latch him on. (Even if that is 18 hours of the day for a while. I know! Exhausting.) Do NOT resort to formula, because of the whole supply/demand thing. You don’t nurse the baby? You don’t produce as much milk. Plain and simple.

  2. My problem was that I was so determined to get baby on a schedule. Doesn’t happen while nursing for a while! I had no support except from my husband and unfortunately I only nursed for 3 weeks. Till this day I still have the mommy guilt trip for it. I absolutely loved nursing and wish I had some HELP! Next time though, God willing!

  3. Thank you for this post! I am a breastfeeding mom to a 6 month old. We are STILL constantly trying to figure this out. I was blessed that he was able to latch on immediately, but there have been many times where he doesn’t eat like he “should” or he wants to nurse “ALL THE TIME”. Up until he was 4 months old, he was nursing every 1.5 hours! This is a huge task for any mom. I felt like I was CONSTANTLY nursing, and I was. My son doesn’t take a bottle at all and the only formula he has ever taken was in the first 2 weeks because he was severely jaundiced. Since those early few weeks, he rejects a bottle or formula. It has been hard because none of my friends or family have been breast-feeding mommies and so the support group is non-existent for me. My wonderful husband supports my decision and has been a great cheerleader for me, but it is hard for him because he doesn’t understand the frustration and the HUGE commitment that this has been. I wouldn’t change anything at this point. My son and I have bonded beautifully. But it has not been easy. You just have to mother with your heart and really try not to let everyone’s advice get to you. I relied (and still do) on the La Leche League website for questions and I have a wonderful book “The Nursing Mothers Companion” that I received while taking a breastfeeding class prior to my son’s birth.

  4. What a wonderful post. I think many new mothers are dismayed by the amount of practice nursing takes sometimes and too-high expectations leave a lot of room for mommy guilt.

    However, my one frustration with all the advice and the literature out there is that no one tells you that sometimes it just doesn’t work and that’s ok too. My son latched great – he was a pro. My body simply didn’t produce enough milk – ever. And after herbal supplements, nasty nasty tea and even prescription medication, my lactation consultant finally advised me to supplement with formula and nurse as long as we were both happy with it. We went about three months, and while I’m disappointed that it didn’t really work out for us, I am satisfied that I tried everything I could possibly try to make it work.

  5. I wanted to share the 5.00 deal on for nursing bras. The soft cup bras were the only ones that were in stock in my area, but you may have more of a selection where you live and depending on where your local sears store is. Jump on these in the clearance/maternity if you need to stock up. Other baby items for 2.99 but everything is going super fast.

  6. I just wrote about breastfeeding on my blog the other day! It’s been on my mind, too!
    My baby latched great and has NEVER had a problem eating! I am blessed!
    But I did get mastitis when she was just a few weeks old. I didn’t expect that! I probably ignored that topic when it came up thinking that it wouldn’t happen. It did, and it was painful. I don’t have family or many friends around, but I have my husband and I had a wonderful lactation consultant who came out to the house and helped me! She was wonderful!
    I loved nursing, and while I’m sad it’s over, I’m also grateful that she nursed for 15 months. I know it benefited both of us!

  7. I too thought that my little one would just latch on right away and that the whole process would just be so natural, but it turned out to be really hard work. I pumped and syringe fed my baby for several days until my milk came in – exhausting! Then he went back and forth between feeding non-stop and going on nursing strikes, which along with a bad latch gave me an infection very quickly. I never knew that this could happen and was completely caught off guard by being stuck in bed for 6 days! Thanks to the support of my own mom, nursing friends, and an amazing lactation consultant, I have been successfully BFing for 7 months, and plan to continue as long as I can. I agree Myra – have a support group, and don’t expect perfection.

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