Most women, especially mums, have heard about the benefits of breastfeeding. The magical milk that come from a mum provides all the vitamins and nutrients a baby needs in the first 6 months of life. It’s been scientifically proven to be a baby’s best first food. Most women can imagine themselves breastfeeding their future babies, but it’s a different story when you actually have your first baby. Breastfeeding is one of the hardest challenges for a new mum but also possibly the most rewarding.
Let’s start by saying that fed is always best. Whatever way you decide to feed your baby, breast or bottle, the most important thing is that he receives the sustenance he needs to live and thrive. If a mum decides that she does want to breastfeed, here are a few tips to help make it a little easier:
Again, we need to say that breastfeeding is hard! For some lucky women, it comes easily and naturally but for most, nursing a baby takes a while getting used to. Make sure you talk to your doctor or midwife about it, read up about breastfeeding online, and get a lactation consultant if possible. Talk to friends who have done it before or are also currently nursing. Having your partner on board and supporting you in this noble endeavor will also give you better chances of having a successful breastfeeding journey.
Take the time and effort to learn about the benefits of breastfeeding – how it helps your child battle all sorts of diseases in childhood and even adulthood, how it lowers the risk of ovarian and breast cancer for the mother, how it helps creates a special bond between mother and child, and the list goes on and on. Research on different breastfeeding positions and how much breastmilk a baby needs in the first few weeks of life (it’s not that much!). Once you learn all this, you will more likely want to put more effort into breastfeeding your baby.
There’s a saying that breastmilk is produced by the mind, not the breast. Breastfeeding is a mental game. You have to prepare yourself for the challenges ahead and accept that it won’t be an easy ride, but you also need to think positive! Thinking you can do it, and also wanting to do it, will help you have a successful breastfeeding journey. Try not to give up too quickly and give it a few tries. There’s a learning curve when it comes to direct feeding. Both mum and baby need to learn the proper latch and nursing positions. When a mum manages her expectations about breastfeeding, it’s easier to be patient and work through the initial difficulties.
With support from your family and community, learning the right information, and with a positive attitude, you can also have a happy breastfeeding experience. Remember, any length of time you are able to breastfeed or pump breast milk, is better than none at all. So, whether its 2 months or 2 years, your baby will benefit from your milk. When your child is older and you can look back at breastfeeding knowing you did your best, then you can confidently say your breastfeeding journey was a success.