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!
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.