Hi there mamas, Alyssa here! Today I am talking about a few things that I believe are an absolute must for all first-time breastfeeders. When I had my first baby, I got hit in the face with some struggles when it came to breastfeeding. I could fill multiple pages sharing my feelings and woes in those first few weeks and months, but we’ll just summarize it with me saying that I felt like such an inadequate failure of a mom.
However, as I opened up to family members, friends, and even some acquaintances, I found that I wasn’t alone. More often than not, people had the same (or similar) struggles that I was having. Discovering that offered me so much comfort, and courage to press forward! It also kind of made me mad. I can’t tell you how many times I said “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THAT BEFORE?? WHY DIDN’T YOU WARN ME?!” and so on.
Turns out, it seems to be somewhat taboo to talk about breastfeeding struggles. What mom wants to talk about their struggles with or their inability to nurse their baby when we have been told our whole lives it is our natural duty? Not many. So, that is why I am here sharing with you all today! If I can help even one person feel more confident and less alone while they sit in their rocking chair in the wee hours of the morning, then I will consider my mission accomplished!
So, here are four things for you first timers that I wish I would have done or known before I jumped in!
It might not be smooth sailing, but you are not aloneIt literally never crossed my mind that breastfeeding might not be as easy as just holding your baby up to your boob. I could have just been especially naïve about it, but no one ever warned me either! So here I am telling you. It might not be smooth sailing BUT you are strong and you can do it! And if it is hard, know that there are hundreds of other mamas out there struggling just like you! It DOES NOT make you any less of a mom!
Ask women in your life questionsIf there are moms in your life that wouldn’t mind sharing their experiences, ask them about it! I never even asked my own mother. Not one single question!! When I did start to ask questions (after I had labeled myself a total failure), I discovered that multiple ladies in my life struggled with everything I was going through. It sure would have saved me buckets of tears (and my poor sweet husband his sanity) if I had known that BEFOREHAND. Just ask!! Also on the flip side of this, if you have been asking and everyone you know or are related to seems to have had zero complications with breastfeeding, don't assume it will be that way for you. I have a very close friend that had that background, three sisters and a mom that were just rockstar breastfeeders from day one. My sweet friend did not have it smooth and easy, so she especially felt like she was failing. If that is your experience, don't you dare get down on yourself!!
Get a breastfeeding education
The whole time I was pregnant, I followed an Instagram account of a registered IBCLC Lactation Specialist. She offered in-person and online breastfeeding classes. I intended to buy those classes before the baby came, but just didn’t make it a priority and never got around to it. (Insert me thinking that breastfeeding was easier than a walk in the park for everyone. HA)
The night before we were discharged and sent home with our sweet bundle, I couldn’t sleep because I was so terrified to take a baby home that I couldn’t even feed. So, at 2:00 a.m., I got online and bought an online class. Within the first five minutes of watching it, I was kicking myself for not educating myself before my babe came! Seriously…DO NOT HESITATE! JUST EDUCATE!! If you just take a little bit of time, you can surely find classes and groups in your area to attend! It was worth the money for the class ten times over for me!