Common Breastfeeding Experiences
With August being National Breastfeeding Month and this being World Breastfeeding Week, I couldn't think of a better opportunity to talk about what people experience while breastfeeding their newborn. Narrowing down the topic of breastfeeding to points that I could fit into a small blog post while still doing justice to the topic proved more difficult than anticipated. I decided to focus on three experiences that appear to be relatively common.
1. Nipple pain
Nipple pain is common but that does not make it normal. Breastfeeding, with time, should become a comfortable, enjoyable experience. In the first couple days of breastfeeding a newborn it won’t be comfortable right away. Both you and baby are still learning and some soreness is to be expected. But if after the first few days you are experiencing pain please consult with your local lactation consultant. Nipple pain can sometimes be relieved with just a position change to achieve a deeper latch but in other situations further interventions/changes may be necessary. While doulas can help with the positioning aspect of breastfeeding that is not guidance I can provide from afar over a blog post as the full benefit of this comes from real-time assistance. Real-time assistance allows doulas to help with positioning in the moment and provides the opportunity to refer you to a local lactation consultant for further issues. Lactation consultants have the expertise to help you resolve issues so that you can enjoy your breastfeeding experience.
2. Feeling frustrated with breastfeeding
It is okay to feel frustrated during breastfeeding! I have seen many moms want to give up on breastfeeding because they are struggling and social media has a way of making it look as though it should be such a simple process. And I know I am even guilty of just saying above that it should be an enjoyable experience. While it should become enjoyable most of the time after some practice and finding what works for you, it doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel discouraged or frustrated. All of those feelings are valid. Maybe you’ve struggled to get a good latch or to find a comfortable position. Or maybe you‘re stressed that you can’t see how much milk your baby is getting or you’ve been struggling to produce. Maybe your baby needs to nurse frequently or has been comfort nursing and you need a break. All of these things are hard and if you are feeling frustrated please know that there are plenty of other moms, including some of the ones who make it look so easy online, feeling the exact same way you are. You are doing great!
3. Comfort nursing
A lot of times during developmental leaps, or when baby is scared, tired or ill the baby will comfort nurse. This is not necessarily nursing to eat but rather to calm themselves. While they will get a little milk during this it does not equate to a full feeding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting your baby comfort nurse. All of the reasons a baby may want to comfort nurse are valid reasons to let them. They will feel soothed and comforted which helps the two of you bond and in turn creates a secure attachment.
Be sure to “like” and “follow” my Facebook and Instagram pages for more fun breastfeeding posts the whole month of August. Every Friday there will be a fun breastfeeding fact and every Tuesday there will be an easy nutritious meal or snack for all the breastfeeding mamas!