The joy of bringing a new life into the world is an overwhelming life change. Breastfeeding is part of that joy. The media blitz surrounding breastfeeding seems to convey it as a simple natural task that is a no-brainer. Once the child is born, mom is carrying the milk à la carte!
TheBump.com, a website that provides the inside scoop on pregnancy, states 10 reasons to breastfeed, ranging from far less anxiety for the mother to a smarter child by age eight. La Leche League International, an organization that promotes a better understanding of breastfeeding, states that mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural because mom and baby need to be together early to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.
What is not conveyed by the media and some breastfeeding education materials are the difficulties. Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience that can also have its challenges. The implication from the media is that it is not difficult. Once mother and baby are together what else do you need? The challenges are not discussed as openly as the joy and benefits.
Every mother and baby is unique and so are their bodies. Of course every person is not going to have the same breastfeeding experience. For example, one child had a receding jaw line and could not keep an adequate latch when breastfeeding. As her jaw grew, breastfeeding became possible. One new mother breastfed very well until the texture of her breast changed with an increase of milk. Her child reacted to the change of texture and needed a transition period to feed properly. Another new mother struggled with the pain that can sometimes occur when the child latches on to the breast. Often new mothers feel like failures when a challenge arises.
A few suggestions could help keep the joy of breastfeeding in its proper perspective. Sometimes breastfeeding can have challenges and it is beneficial to ask for help. Try not to take it personally; you are not alone. It may be helpful to find a breastfeeding support group to prevent isolation. A good support group will offer hope, helpful suggestions, and an experienced lactation consultant as a resource. If you are apprehensive about the group setting, you can seek out a lactation specialist to consult over the phone or in a visit. A lactation consultant is there to support you and your family’s wishes. Seek out a consultant who is aligned with your needs and desires.
In the Los Angeles area a hub for breastfeeding is The Pump Station, a Breastfeeding Resource Center with over 25 years of clinical experience. This company was started by RN mothers who specialized in maternal/newborn health and taught Lamaze. The Pump Station offers free online resources, classes, products, education, and professional assistance. Look for a superb understanding breastfeeding support group in your city and make breastfeeding a great experience for your family.