I breastfed my daughter for 2 weeks. I had great support in hospital to breastfeed but it didn’t continue once I left. I saw a GP who I thought was going to be supportive and it ended my breastfeeding relationship.
I should have fought harder, I should have sought a second opinion. But I didn’t. The buck stops with me, it is my fault my daughter was denied her right to breastmilk.
But this post isn’t about that.
Many first time mums struggle with breastfeeding. Before we give birth it seems we’re either of the impression that it’s natural so it will work OR that it’s really hard and super painful.
We aren’t told the truth. The reality is this;
Breastfeeding is a learnt skill.
It’s not hard it’s just different from how the media portrays babies being fed, which is via the bottle, and takes a little extra effort in the beginning.
We no longer have a breastfeeding culture, girls aren’t seeing babies being breastfed by their mothers, aunts, sisters, and cousins. Breastfeeding is barely shown on television if at all and you are bound to see a billion bottles at any mainstream baby shower.
Yet we know breast is the best choice. We say that breastfeeding reduces the risk of cancer for both mother and baby but the reality is by not breastfeeding, by not doing what our bodies are designed to do we increase our risk and our babies risk of cancer. And obesity. And a whole range of conditions and illnesses.
If you don’t have the support of someone who has successfully fed her children then I highly recommend seeing a lactation consultant as soon as possible, even before your baby is born. $200 may seem like a lot of money, but you’ll shell out a lot more in formula if breastfeeding doesn’t work out.
How can I make it work if it didn’t work the first time?
First, find out what the issue was the first time and see of there were any ways you come have remedied it. This isn’t about laying blame for not succeeding, it’s safeguarding your next breastfeeding relationship.
Then, read read read and research. Kellymom has a great list of resources, especially regarding common breastfeeding concerns.
When preparing to breastfeed my second child I read books by Pinky McKay and Breastfeeding Real Mums Tell You How. Now that book did have stuff about Bottlefeeding however it have me great strategies for managing problems if they came up.
I made a breastfeeing plan and formula just was not an option. When I was feeding my first I always said I would formula feed if I had to. It was always in the back of my mind. If I had to then I would formula feed. I even bought bottles just in case. I shouldn’t have. So I didn’t the second time around. I was going to breastfeed and that was that. I forced myself to work through any issues instead of just giving up. And I did, and we’ve been breastfeeding 1 year on Tuesday.
Finally, I found support. My birth attendant and I made a breastfeeding plan, in NICU I stuck to my guns and said no bottles allowed, even after we moved interstate I asked my breastfeeding questions via Joyous Birth or looked for information at the Australian Breastfeeding Association or called their hotline on 1800 mum2mum.
Breastfeeding is what our bodies are designed to do, and just like a VBAC is totally possible after a csection when the body is left to do what it is suppose to do and given the support has no hidden agenda, you can breastfeed a second child it you didn’t breastfeed your first.
Of course not everyone can breastfeed, in those cases the WHO recommend expressed milk from the mother, nursing from another woman, donated breastmilk with formula as a last option. If you are looking for donor milk Human Milk 4 Human Babies is a global network linking pumping mums with mums in need of breastmilk.
Good luck, I know you can do it, I did.