It can take determination, patience and a long term vision- but it’s worth it.
How many new mothers breastfeed their baby? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, back in 2004, (some of the most recent data), government statistics reported that about 70 percent of new moms in the U.S had tried it.
As time goes on however, that number drops considerably. Many moms have to return to work and pumping breast milk is a never-ending chore. It can simply be too time consuming and impractical, depending on your lifestyle.
Not sure breastfeeding is for you? Here are some things you might consider when you start.
1) It Can Take Persistence
Sometimes breastfeeding is so easy. And sometimes it isn’t. Your baby may latch on naturally- or they may have trouble getting it. (And so may you, as a new mom). This is natural.
If you really want to breastfeed, see it as a learning process and don’t give up. You need a team to help you.
If you’re not sure it’s working properly and that your child is getting enough to eat, seek out immediate help through a lactation consultant, your pediatrician, or a breast feeding clinic. It will ease your worries, and help you move forward.
Have a ‘breastfeeding expert’ watch you feed your baby. They can give helpful feedback and coach you in the right direction. They can also see if your child is struggling to get enough milk, or if they’re doing fine.
2) Be Ready to Face Those Public Glares
Sad but true, someone is going to stare at you as you breastfeed in public. And they might offer their own negative comments on the situation. Be ready to ignore them.
They don’t know what’s best for your child, They’re speaking from a place of insecurity. You’re doing the right thing, and they aren’t worth your attention, frankly.
3) Believe in Your Choice
However you choose to feed your child is what’s best for your family (within reason, obviously). Experts insist that nursing your child for about 1 year after their birth is best for their overall health. And if you can go longer, all the better.
A mother’s body produces less milk in your child’s second year, but the level of antibodies present in the milk rises. Your child’s immune system will see the benefit.
4) Remember: It Gets Easier!
Ok, some people will say that parenting just “gets different” and there’s some truth in that. But really, the baby stages can be some of the most challenging time. Nature puts you to the test right away. This kid is literally in your arms for what feels like 24/7, and often crying, needing your full attention.
It can be lovely, but it can suck. Yes, it can feel downright awful!
Remember this: it really does get easier. This child will sleep through the night, one day. Someday rather soon, they’ll put on their own t-shirt…and walk out the door.
Every baby stage is just that, a stage. When the going gets tough, vent to a friend and tell yourself: this too soon shall pass. And then look at that cute little face! It’s worth it!