Breastfeeding is natural, so it must be easy, right?! While some breastfeeding parents – the lucky ones – seem to latch their baby from day 1 with ease, for most parents, breastfeeding takes work. I have found that most moms describe their breastfeeding experience as a mixed bag of emotions. They feel it is rewarding and beautiful, but, at the same time, hard and a commitment.
So while I agree that breastfeeding is technically natural – in most cases, I also believe that calling breastfeeding “natural” can mislead parents to think that it will come naturally. However, breastfeeding, like many things in life, is a skill that needs to be learned through practice and often with additional help and support.
So you know that breastfeeding is most likely going to take some work, but you are willing to put in the effort. What now?
If you are struggling with breastfeeding, it can feel frustrating, overwhelming, and upsetting. There are many people that cannot breastfeed or struggle with breastfeeding for a variety of reasons, including medical conditions that affect breastfeeding, improper latch, tongue & lip ties, and prematurity – just to name a few.
Start by reaching out to your local IBCLC for support and guidance. They will be able to watch a breastfeeding session, assess how everything is going, and provide recommendations for next steps. If it is determined that you cannot breastfeed, know that you are entitled to your feelings and you can still give your child all of the nourishment they need to grow and thrive. You also can still enjoy all the warmth and comfort by bonding with your little one during bottle-feeding sessions, snuggle times, babywearing, skin-to-skin, and daily activities. And most importantly, you are still a great parent!
If you are looking for more breastfeeding support, schedule a prenatal or postpartum lactation appointment today at www.milestonesnutrition.com. You also can purchase our online, on-demand course, Breastfeeding Basics, to help you prepare for breastfeeding.
Kerry Lett, MPH, RDN, LDN is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Public Health who is passionate about helping growing families navigate life and achieve all of their milestones along the way. She works with women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum and children to help manage medical conditions, tackle picky eating, and establish a good family relationship with food. With an overload of nutrition information available, Kerry understands how difficult it can be to know which foods are best for you and your family. Kerry owns a private practice called Milestones Pediatric & Maternal Nutrition.
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