Monday, November 30, 2015

10 thoughts | for those who struggle with breastfeeding

For those who struggle with breastfeeding, I am truly sorry. I am one of those women, and I understand from the bottom of my heart how difficult it is when you and your baby have a hard time breastfeeding.

Before I get started with this post, let me first say that I in no way shame those who formula feed for one reason or another. I’ve been there, and there is no judgement here. For those of you who judge moms that formula feed, here’s to sticking my tongue out at you and saying “Shame on you.” You have no idea what another mom may be going through in her breastfeeding experience.
Okay, anyway. 

Even before I became pregnant with L, I always knew that if I had kids, I wanted to breastfeed them. It was just what I felt was going to be best for me/my children. That didn’t change throughout my whole pregnancy with L. 
I wanted to breastfeed L. That was it.

Haha. If only it were that easy.

Now, for some moms, breastfeeding is that easy. I wish I could say that I am one of those moms.

So as one of the moms that do struggle with breastfeeding, here are 10 thoughts for you to hopefully help you in your experience.

1. It's your choice. If you choose to breastfeed, then that is your choice. If you choose to pump and feed your baby breastmilk, then that is your choice. If you choose to give your baby some breastmilk and some formula, then that is your choice. If you choose to give your baby formula, then that is your choice. Whatever your choice, you are doing what is best for your baby, and that is all that matters.

2. Some days will be harder than others. With L, we have some days where I’m like, “This is it! It’s working! I love breastfeeding!” and then others where I go cry in the bathroom and yell at my boobs. (Really though.) You will get through it.

3. Don’t listen to those who don’t understand. I can’t even tell you the number of times where I’ve had a mom say, “You need to breastfeed because anything else is horrible for your baby.” No. For one, as long as you are feeding your baby, then you are doing what’s best for your baby. Two, your situation is just that. YOURS. It’s no one else’s place to judge you, and if they are, they don’t need to be a part of your experience.

4. Breastfeeding isn’t all or nothing. I’ve had this said to me so many times. Even if you give your baby one drop of breastmilk, you are giving him/her one drop of your goal! You are working towards your goal, one drop at a time!

5. Lactation consultants are incredibly helpful. L and I go to a breastfeeding support class every week that is guided by lactation consultants and it’s one of the best parts of my week because I can just relax, get help with any problem we are having, and work closer and closer to our goal. Seriously, look into seeing one. They are awesome.

6. But, you don’t have to stick with just one (lactation consultant). I saw 3 lactation consultants before I found Michelle. Michelle and I instantly clicked and I trust her with all of our breastfeeding endeavors after that. Not all lactation consultants are the one for you, so don’t settle. Find the one that you want to help you through your journey. You may be with them for a year at least, so again, don’t settle.

7. Don’t compare your experience to that of others. I haven’t met one woman yet that has had the exact experience that I have with breastfeeding. Similar, yes. Exact, no. It can be helpful to swap stories and advice, but don’t get so upset that it isn’t going how it went with “her”. Your experience is special to you and your baby. It wouldn’t be as special if everyone had the same experience.

8. Don’t beat yourself up. I need to take my own advice on this one. I’ve sat and cried, so angry with myself, thinking it was my fault that we have had the problems that we’ve had with breastfeeding. It is no ones fault, and it definitely isn’t your fault! Some people just struggle with it. Just like some people struggle with cooking. Some do and some don’t. That’s all it is! It will get better. And just like with cooking, practice makes perfect progress.

9. Don’t set expectations. If you don’t set expectations, then you won’t get your hopes up to just have them beat back down by a bad day. I go into my day saying, “If we have a good breastfeeding day, then that’s great! If not, we will try again tomorrow."

10. This too shall pass. That bad day, or bad week, will pass. You will get to that point where it will work out in one way or another and you can take a huge breath and say, “We did it.” 

{I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. -2 Timothy 4:7}

xoxo, Brandi

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