One thing that always blows my mind about motherhood is the passing of judgment that comes along with it. It starts the day you get a positive pregnancy test…. There are those who scoff over the amount of caffeine you drink in a given day or the amount of weight you gain. Then it’s on to the “epidural or no epidural” question or the “dangerous” home birth discussion… then to breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding…. The list goes on and on and continues until your child graduates college. Truthfully, I think it is all a little exhausting. I think Katie Cox said it best:
Whether you are nursing your child at a restaurant or you are shaking up a bottle of formula at the mall, we are all mothers. Mothers who are feeding our babies the best way we know how to. We are mothers that love our babies… and that is what is important.
Katie’s words can apply to so many things beyond how you feed your baby… but this week we are focused on breastfeeding!
So, while I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding… I am not anti-bottle feeding. I am actually PRO making the decision that is right for you and your baby.
I want to encourage those who plan to breastfeed to stick with it and offer some tips that helped me!
It’s all about the latch. Seriously. Get the latch right and it will save you from sore and cracked nipples. My girls were both EXCELLENT latchers (LOL)!! Bowen on the other hand had to be trained. I think he was 3 months old before I could breastfeed without some level of pain. Here is a link to La Leche League’s resources on positioning and latch.
Before you feed your baby take a couple deep breaths, relax your shoulders and calm yourself. If you are anxious about feeding your baby, chances are your baby can sense it. I remember being in a panic trying to feed my baby quickly so I could be on time to this or that…. My milk would always seem to take forever to drop. The beauty of having a newborn is most people understand your tardiness without you having to make an excuse.
If you are having trouble with your milk letting down, try envisioning your milk coming down. My friend Ally and I always talked about our visions…. It was always something to do with milk streaming down a mountain or a waterfall of milk. It sounds super weirdo-ish, but it truly helped me whenever my milk wasn’t letting down right away. And it can be especially helpful if you have an aggressive, impatient eater!
Schedule vs. Free feed
I was a scheduled free-feeder. LOL. Or maybe just wishy-washy on the subject. I liked feeding my babies every 2-3 hours, but I liked feeding them for comfort, too. I think as long as your baby is growing and thriving, there is no right or wrong way to do it.
This word makes me cringe. Seriously, I hate the process of weaning! My babies were always easy to wean, but I was never ready to be done. I have some serious regret about not nursing them longer. I weaned each of them around 14-15 months… mostly because that’s what all my friends did. I really wish I would have researched it more and nursed each of them longer.
I still feel like breastfeeding is one of the hardest yet most incredible things I have ever done in my life: hard because it is demanding (especially in the beginning) and incredible because my body alone provided all the nutrients my tiny babe needed. Seriously, the female body never ceases to amaze me! Bottom line for weaning: make sure you are ready.