Breastfeeding your baby is the most amazing and joyous experience! There is nothing like holding your newborn infant, looking into their eyes, and knowing that you are the center of their universe. However, in the early days it doesn’t always feel amazing and joyous.
Why? You thought this was natural and easy? Well, riding a bike is easy, too – right? But, remember that time you fell off? And remember that time you skinned your knee? You forgot, I bet because it seems so easy now. Well, the truth is that riding a bike is a lot like breastfeeding. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, either. It took someone standing beside you, supporting you, practicing with you and before long you were taking off on your own – even riding without holding onto the handlebars.
Breastfeeding is like this, too! Some mothers can feel unsure and question their body’s ability to provide adequately to nourish their amazing baby. But, the truth is – most moms can do this! What can make the difference in why one mom succeeds and another mom doesn’t?
Will you be able to breastfeed?
When moms go into their delivery questioning whether they will be successful this is a prescription for failure. Feeling like you will give breastfeeding a try – but knowing that there is a bottle of formula readily available that you can quickly fall back on at the first sign of a challenge is where a lot of breastfeeding relationships break down. Distrusting the process works against you. Guess what! Formula companies know this! This is what their marketing relies on! They rely on being present at exactly the time when you are most vulnerable. Sending a pregnant mom a free gift of formula is exactly what you don’t need for success. Right when you are wondering if your baby is getting enough, wondering when your milk will come in and you are home alone, perhaps feeling insecure is where the formula companies HOPE that you will break down and try their product and then use it again and again and again.
What really help moms during this vulnerable time? What do you really need? What you need is unlimited access to help, positivity, and support that builds your confidence and helps you to feel that you CAN nourish, and continue to grow this little amazing person who your body perfectly and capably provided for before birth.
Preparing to breastfeeding with confidence
So, how can you be more prepared and boost your confidence before you deliver. Get as much information and education about breastfeeding as you can. Visit a breastfeeding support group, like The Village to actually see moms breastfeeding easily and enjoyably and talk with them and find out their tips for success. Take a Breastfeeding Basics Class where you can ask all your questions and get answers based on actual evidence-based info.
Don’t expect breastfeeding to feel “easy” necessarily in the beginning. Your baby and you need time to get to know each other. Staying connected as much as possible helps your baby to have unlimited access to you and helps to establish a robust milk supply. If you trust your baby’s ability to tell you what he/she needs they won’t let you down. Things slowly start to feel a lot easier as every week goes by. Starting off having little goals can make things feel easier as well. Start by saying -I’m going to stick with this at least until my “milk comes in” around day three. Your next goal might be sticking with it until two weeks when almost all babies will regain their birthweight. By now you will begin to be a believer. As you see what amazing things your body is capable of doing you will be amazed. You will start to realize you are this most amazing superwoman! Then once you make it to one month breastfeeding starts to really feel easy. You are no longer “thinking” about breastfeeding – you are simply doing it – or riding without holding onto the handlebars.
If you get started and are experiencing a challenge or difficulty – getting help early can be a lifesaver. An international board certified lactation consultant or IBCLC is the gold standard for helping to solve breastfeeding problems. Look for one by going to ILCA.com or better yet identify an IBCLC before you deliver so you have her number programmed into your phone when you are feeling insecure and need help.