“I remember when I was still pregnant, I would talk about how one of my goals was to breastfeed.
I remember people telling me ‘it’s really hard to stick to’ and ‘always keep formula on hand if you decide one night you just can’t do it’.
Although I understood it was coming from a place of help and advice giving, it didn’t sit right with me.
Not once did I have someone tell me, ‘Just push through! You’ve got this.’ It was always ‘I wasn’t able to either, just give her formula.’
Now let me just clarify, there is NOTHING wrong with formula. Some women need it, some women aren’t able to produce, and some women just don’t want to breastfeed. That’s their personal choice and there is nothing wrong with it. We, as mothers, do what we think is best for our babies… and it doesn’t have to be the same for everyone.
BUT, that’s not what I wanted for me and my baby.
Going into breastfeeding, I was scared. I never once had someone tell me, ‘You are gonna do great! It’s so worth it!’ It was always ‘Get ready for no sleep, cracked nipples and excruciating pain’ I understand that those are realities for many women who breastfeed, but more than anything I feel like people around me were trying to push me away from breastfeeding, or make the idea of breastfeeding one that I was scared of.
But mamas-to-be, it’s not always like that. Yes, breastfeeding is tiring. Breastfeeding takes a lot of perseverance and patience. But it’s not the horror stories you will hear in the weeks before your baby arrives. Yes, there is a chance for cracked nipples. There is a chance for thrush, mastitis, latching issues, and so many more things. But those are the risks we take to give our babies the biological “best”. That liquid gold that is formulated especially for our baby.
But it’s not always horrible.
I never once had cracked nipples.
My daughter has a lip tie that I didn’t get revised, because her latch didn’t struggle. I did have sore nipples for a while, but it’s not always that bring you to your knees type of pain that I heard it would be. All along, I was so scared. I never heard good things- no one ever told me the incredible bond I would share with my daughter. No one told me all the amazing things breastmilk was good for. No one told me that not only could I give my daughter what was best for her, but that I could also donate my milk to mamas in need whose babies belly sensitivities aligned with my daughters.
Support and education should be more readily available to women who want to breastfeed.
I’ve had friends of mine come to me for advice when breastfeeding, and I’m always sure to let them know how incredible they’re doing. And encourage them to keep pushing forward.
When I’ve had new moms come to me about breastfeeding, I’ve told them some of the realities, but I’ve also told them the encouraging parts- I’ve told them that it’s not bad for everyone.
A lot of moms don’t know it’s normal for their baby to lose some weight, so they give baby formula immediately.
A lot of moms don’t know that colostrum is enough in the first couple of days because their babies’ bellies are so tiny.
A lot of moms don’t know that it does take time for milk to come in- and that’s totally normal. The placenta detaching signals the body to make milk, and it’s typical to take 2-5 days.
A lot of moms think the pain lasts forever, that they will never sleep again, and that it’s ‘not worth it’.
It’s a lot easier to give up when you have people around you are telling you that you should. Or that breastfeeding is ‘too hard’, and to keep formula on hand for your eventual failure to reach your goal.
We need more uplifting in the breastfeeding community. We need more of the good parts and less of the fear mongering.
If you or a mama you know is struggling, here’s this…
Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. It doesn’t always work for everyone. If it doesn’t work for you- there is nothing to be ashamed of. We are mamas, and we are humans. We do what we believe is best.
If you have reached your limit, that’s okay.
If your breastfeeding journey hasn’t begun yet or has just started… it’s going to be okay. It’s going to get better.
Don’t be scared that you’ll never sleep again. Don’t think that someone else’s horror story will be your reality. Perseverance and patience are very important. But you are a mama and are a special form of warrior.”
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