Every mom who has tried or is trying to breastfeed knows how difficult it actually is. More than the late nights, the waking up every 2 hours to feed, the bottomless hunger, and the pain (oh, the pain!) that is involved in the process, what else contributes to making breastfeeding hard on moms? There’s the high expectations, the pressure, and most especially the guilt.
Today, if you’re a mom who has been trying her best to succeed at breastfeeding but feels like giving up or you’re a mom who has been curling her feet during every feed–trying to be strong for her baby–then I’m talking to you.
Breastfeeding is hard and you’re not just making it up. It is difficult and the defeat that you’re feeling is real. Let’s try to make the burden a little bit lighter by talking about the common statements that usually weigh moms down.
Yes, breastfeeding is natural and instinctual, but it’s not automatic. Many people think that after a woman gives birth, she instantly receives a box of “mom superpowers” that will allow her to do everything perfectly. While every mom has the natural instinct to care for her child, she also needs time to discover and hone it. It’s a steep learning curve that includes trial and error and a whole lot of patience and endurance.
Tip: Read as much as you can about breastfeeding before you give birth. Talk to other moms about their own experiences as well, but open yourself up to learning and going at your own pace.
Breastfeeding is a way of caring for your baby, but it doesn’t mean that you love your baby any less if you fail to do so. The societal pressure of feeding from the breast, plus the mom-guilt that goes with it, makes a mom feel deflated if she fails. It’s important to understand that there are conditions that prevent some moms from successfully breastfeeding–having an infectious disease or taking contraindicated medication–or maybe the baby needs special medical attention. Do these circumstances make a mom’s love any less? Of course not! Remember, every mom does what’s best for her child, breastfeeding or not.
Tip: Read more about conditions that may prevent you from breastfeeding so you can avoid it from happening
Self-doubt is the best friend of mom-guilt. You question yourself even if you know the real answer to it already. You’ll hear other people tell you that you just need to toughen it up, but this doesn’t mean that you should deny the fact that what you’re going through is really painful and difficult. Accept the pain and the experience so you can power through it. The pain, too, shall pass and once it does, you’ll just chuckle at it and say, “yup, it was painful but I got over it.”
Tip: Prepare items that will help you deal with breastfeeding pain. From pillows to creams, make them available to you at arms-reach.