Breastfeeding is a learned skill but there is an assumption that every new mum will be able to breastfeed with confidence as soon as their babe’s mouth hits their breast.
But it’s not always as simple and easy as it sounds! Some women find it difficult to breastfeed because of the shape of their nipples or because their baby is tongue tied. There are a number of factors that come into play when learning how to breastfeed with confidence. It also takes self-assurance to realize when it isn’t working and it’s time to start formula feeds.
The only way to breastfeed confidently is to practice as soon as your baby is born and to persevere if feeding issues arise.
If your perseverance doesn’t pay off and it’s putting you or your baby in an emotional state, all while your baby is hungry, it’s time to look at an alternative. The whole point of breastfeeding a baby is to feed him or her!
Argumentatively, breastfeeding is also great for bonding and building up your baby’s immune system, but you can still bond with your baby when you bottle feed and they will still be getting key nutrients from formula. I think you can be more attentive when you formula feed because you have no hands free to scroll down Facebook on your mobile phone.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was a little worried about whether I could breastfeed. I really wanted to breastfeed my baby, and when I found out I was to have a cesarean, my worry piqued further because based on statistics, there was a high chance that my baby wouldn’t latch on properly.
After having three babies via c-section, I had no issues that stopped me from breastfeeding. It took time for each of my girls to latch on properly to my breast and I had to learn the right technique to hold each babe as she fed. Even recently when I had my third baby, a midwife pulled me on up the way I was breastfeeding because I was slouched. Her advice made the world of difference to my back and made it easier for my daughter to latch on properly.
It’s important to remember that breastfeeding is a new skill for your baby too. It’s a team effort so if you’re a mummy who is having issues with feeding, it’s not a failure on either of you. The way you feed your baby doesn’t reflect on your ability to be a great mum or your child’s ability to be an obedient child. Ignore the hype and listen to your intuition as a mum.
After listening to girlfriends who have struggled to feed and have felt guilty or disheartened on missing out on this special time with their baby, I look at the positives of having a baby to feed in the first place. Breastfeeding can be a short or long season of your child’s life. Before you know it the next feeding hurdle will be trying to work out how to get your child to eat their veggies!
My only advice to new mums is to keep an open mind about breastfeeding and don’t put pressure on you or your baby if it doesn’t happen easily. There is plenty of help available, but there are also alternatives too and as long as your baby’s needs are being met, don’t stress over a short season of your child’s life.
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