We’ve all seen the TV commercials showing the loving mother with baby gently and sweetly nestled on her breast, surrounded by white silk. It’s an image we see over again in the media, but as many new mom’s find out, it can be far from the reality of breastfeeding. During pre-natal classes and in the plethora of breastfeeding pamphlets that are handed out, mom’s are told what a wonderful, natural, bonding experience breastfeeding is. And for many mothers, breastfeeding eventually is, a lovely bonding experience with baby. The problem however, is that in the beginning, breastfeeding your newborn can be a terribly stressful, painful and traumatic experience for many mothers.
It can often take several weeks or even months for a baby to learn to latch on properly first attempt and continue feeding until they’re full. In the beginning it can be very difficult to get baby into the right position and keep them there. The truth is that there are a million and one things that can and will go wrong. Your milk may take longer than usual to come in, there may not be enough milk to satisfy baby, you may have problems getting them to latch on. Some baby’s never take to the breast at all.
All this stress can lead mothers to question what they’re doing wrong and sometimes experience extreme guilt that they’re not doing what they should, or that they’re baby isn’t getting what they need. With the birth of my first child I went through all of the problems above and more. I had this beautiful picture in my head of how everything would work and when things didn’t pan out that way I was left stressed, tired and depressed. I even suffered extreme bouts of guilt, believing that I was doing something wrong, and listening to my son’s cries were a horrible burden to bare.
At the hospital we had a different midwife every 6 hours and they all seemed to have conflicting advice on what to do so at the end of our stay I was left even more confused and upset. It wasn’t until I did my own research in books and on the internet and figured out what worked best for me that I really started to find a rhythm and baby and I both started to really enjoy breastfeeding.
The fact is that there is a lot of conflicting advice and beliefs about breastfeeding out there. But it really comes down to each individual situation as to what will work and what won’t. If you’re having trouble breastfeeding your child then by all means, seek help from professionals but at the end of the day every baby is different and every mother is different, so try a few things out. Stick with what works and discard what doesn’t. But most of all, be patient and don’t let it stress you out. Just keep going and before you know it, you’ll both be experts.
If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, or if you want to learn more about it then I highly recommend Breastfeeding Simply by Pinky McKay; an internationally certified lactation consultant , a breast feeding specialist consultant for the best selling baby magazines in Australia (Practical Parenting) and New Zealand (Littlies), and author . Her books have helped mothers all over the world, and this one is available in e-book format so you don’t have to wait for delivery. Click here to read about it.