Breastfeed, they said. It’ll be easy, they said.
And like a sucker I believed it…the part where they said it’d be easy.
I read here and there that breastfeeding is hard. But I always thought, not for me! I’m going to breastfeed my kids effortlessly! That was my attitude.
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I didn’t even give breastfeeding a second thought. I mean, I had witnessed nearly all of the women in my family breastfeed their kids.
Surely I could do it, right?
Even though I had no prior experience, I was determined to exclusively breastfeed my baby for as long as I could.
When my daughter was finally born, she was plopped onto my chest and immediately she started to root for my nipple. She wanted to do what all newborns do, eat.
I Had Little Help With Breastfeeding
During our 24-hour hospital stay, I remember the nurses never being satisfied with her latch, so they sent in a Lactation Consultant to see me. From the moment I met her, to the time we were discharged, she was also never satisfied with my daughter’s latch.
No one actually took the time to really guide me. No one told me anything that was helpful.
I even attended a breastfeeding class before we went home. Still, that wasn’t enough.
To make things worse, my daughter would scream at the top of her little lungs literally minutes after I fed her.
Surely they were right. Surely everything I was doing was wrong.
I was so fed up with the entire thing that every time my newborn “hungry cried” my stomach would get all knotty and I’d get a lump in my throat.
My breasts were incredibly sore, and my nipple were angry. I was exhausted and I was annoyed. I wanted to give up badly.
I kept swatting away my thoughts which were screaming, BREASTFEEDING IS HARD.
During one of my daughter’s hangry cry sessions, the nurse actually suggested I give her formula. I was going to say no but at this point, I was already done. I didn’t want my baby to starve so I gave in.
To my surprise, my daughter emptied her bottle as if she’d never had a drink.
To say that I felt like a failure at that point is an understatement.
Breastfeeding is Hard
When that thought came into my mind again, I accepted it for what it was. Because it was the truth for me at that time.
It was then that I made the decision that I was going to pump for as long as I could so she could still benefit from all the good stuff in my liquid gold.
I managed to do it for about 4 months, until I could no longer take it. I then very happily went on to give her formula.
Fast forward 15 months later, I gave birth to my son. This time, I had a midwife who was very much aware of my prior struggle with breastfeeding.
She always made it a point to let me know that she would support me 100% in whatever I chose to do for my son in terms of feeding.
Four Words That Changed Breastfeeding
Once my son was born, my sweet midwife told me, “Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. As you keep practicing, you’ll learn how to nurse him, and he’ll learn how to nurse. It’s a learning process.”
Right then and there I heard the four encouraging words that would help me.
It’s a learning process.
Those four words changed the game for me. These are the words that empowered me to exclusively breastfeed my son until he was 9 months old.
How I wish someone had told me this when I first had my daughter. I know that I would’ve been more patient with myself and with my baby girl.
My midwife is the only person to have told me this and I’m grateful for her. These are words that I will carry with me forever.
To any mom reading this who has decided to breastfeed, and to any mom reading this who is thinking BREASTFEEDING IS HARD, and is about to throw in the towel, remember these words: Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. As you keep practicing, you’ll learn how to nurse baby, and your baby will learn how to nurse. It’s a learning process.
And please remember that regardless of how you decide (or not) to feed your baby, know that you are not a failure but a heck of a winner, your baby is nothing short of perfect, and your journey is beautiful and unique.
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