Let’s talk about the harsh truth about breastfeeding. It is hard! There are so many reasons why breastfeeding can be hard for a new mama. First off it just doesn’t come naturally to most women and then add on top of that everyone has a very strong opinion about how you should feed your baby and then there are the emotional and physical pains that can be associated with breastfeeding. It just means that not every breastfeeding journey starts out as this beautiful bond with your baby. This is why I created the Mama Mindset, because it takes a mindset shift to come to realization that no matter what your breastfeeding journey looks like it is a success. There is no reason to think that just because you breastfeed your baby once that you weren’t successful. Even one time of breastfeeding gives your baby something that no one else can give it.
Why breastfeeding doesn’t come natural
Women have been breastfeeding babies for thousands of years. Once upon a time there was no other choice but to breastfeed your baby. So why is it that breastfeeding doesn’t come natural. One theory on why breastfeeding doesn’t come natural to moms anymore is because we just don’t see it! Especially in America breastfeeding just isn’t something that people do in public or see. I am a breastfeeding mom and the only other person that I have ever seen breastfeed is my sister and even then it was very covered up. Why is this? Why is it that something so natural needs to be done behind closed doors.
Well the simple answer is that it doesn’t! I encourage you to be that person who breastfeeds in public to lead the way for other breastfeeding women. If every woman grew up around breastfeeding and saw it happen frequently there is a good chance that women would feel more comfortable when it was their turn to breastfeed their child. I encourage you to watch lots of videos while pregnant and immerse yourself in this world so that you feel more comfortable when your baby is born.
What to do when everyone has an opinion
Ughhhh. The opinions. Why is it that everyone else is so opinionated about how I raise my baby? Did they grow this baby in their stomach for 9 months, did they push 7 pounds of baby out of their vagina? I don’t think so! All I have to say is that no one else gets an opinion but the baby’s daddy.
When someone has unsolicited advice about what I should do with my baby I lean into the book “The Positive Power of Saying No” In summary a positive no has a yes, a no and then another yes. So for instance I would say to someone who offered unsolicited advice to me “Wow that is great that is how you chose to feed your child, this is how I am choosing to feed my child, I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me” This way you are firm in your stance that you are saying no to their advice but they feel good about what they said. Sometimes that is all it takes to make someone change the subject. They want to feel good about themselves and for whatever reason they feel they get to weigh in on your life, so tell them I am not choosing to do that but that you appreciate their time means the conversation doesn’t have to end awkwardly or with hurt feelings. Of course if it is the lady in the grocery store who has no business inputting her advice then tell her whatever feels best at the moment. Who knows if she caught you on a good day or not.
What if breastfeeding doesn’t work out
Oh the pain you feel after having this beautiful plan to breastfeed your child till they are 3 and then fate takes a different turn. All I have to say is that you are going to do what is best for your baby and what is best for you and if that turns out to not be breastfeeding then know that you did everything right for your situation and your family. There are so many reasons that breastfeeding can not work out, but I am here to tell you that most women that want to breastfeed can, so if you are pregnant there is no reason to keep yourself up at night or have nightmares about not feeding your child. Most women will be able to and if you can’t then their are other options.
I do have a workshop in my Breastfeeding Mama Mindset ebook that walks you through a mindset shift so that you can feel comfortable with whatever happens and you can see your journey of breastfeeding as a success no matter what happens.
I feel so lonely when I am breastfeeding
Some people will feel lonely while they are breastfeeding. It can be a lot to take on the whole load of feeding your child. You just carried this child in you for 9 months and the responsibility does not end there! If that wasn’t bad enough some people then on top of that feel guilty about feeling lonely because they have wanted this baby more than they ever wanted anything and now that they are here they aren’t feeling what they expected or what they should be feeling.
Let me just tell you this, all of these feelings are normal! It is a huge responsibility and if you don’t realize your feelings and keep them in line then they can become more of a burden. Realize that this “should statement” is a cognitive distortion (read more about these in the book “Feeling Good”) and that there is no “should” with how you feel after having a baby. Every emotion you feel after having a baby is totally valid. Of course if you are dealing with thoughts of harming yourself or your baby you should seek immediate medical care, but for MOST people the thoughts that you are having are totally valid and there is no “should” when it comes to healing from the birthing process and learning this new life and baby that you have.
Of course on top of all of these emotional pains there can be physical pains. From mastitis to engorgement to sore and cracked nipples. If you are having any physical pain at all then I encourage you to seek out medical help either from baby’s pediatrician, an IBCLC, or your midwife or OBGYN. Breastfeeding should be relatively pain free especially after you get past the first week (there can be some soreness the first week as your nipples get used to a baby sucking on them for hours a day)
Alright mama, I hope that your feelings have been validated and you feel totally comfortable going forward knowing that your feelings are valid and no matter what you are feeling now that doesn’t make you a bad mom, bad at breastfeeding or anything in between. You are the perfect mama for this perfect baby and you are going to do everything in your power to take care of this baby, because you are superwoman and you are using your superpower for good!