The other day a mother said to me that she wished someone had told her that it would take time to get breastfeeding “right”. She’d done lots of research prior to having her baby – read books, spent time on google, talked to people – but she didn’t recall anyone telling her that it would take time.
The thing is, for some people it doesn’t feel as though it takes very long for breastfeeding to feel natural, and “right”. Others feel that it takes them ages to get to the point where it all feels ok. Just because breastfeeding is what our bodies are designed to do, doesn’t mean it will just work straight away. There are a lot of things we do, that are “normal” or “natural” for humans… walking and talking for example. However, these things that we take for granted have to be learned before they are automatic or natural, and take a fair bit of time to master. Breastfeeding is just the same.
People learn a lot by watching others, so surround yourself with people who do, or have, breastfed. Find out where you can go to talk to women who breastfeed, women who are having the same experiences as you, or have already been through the stage you are at. Stay in touch with the women you meet at antenatal classes – it’s amazing how much moral support you can get from these people, and sometimes they become life long friends 🙂
But just as important, give yourself and your baby time. Be kind to yourself. It can take a few weeks before you feel completely comfortable about breastfeeding – and that’s just fine. Sometimes babies need a bit of time to get the hang of it all too! If you don’t feel that things are improving, or working the way they should, then ask your midwife, a lacatation consultant, or other breastfeeding specialist or supporter for some information. They can talk to you, find out what’s happening, and often share information and ideas that will help. If you don’t want to talk to someone face to face, there is lots of support online; Facebook has some great groups too – look out for Breastfeeding NZ, The Breast Room in the House, LLL NZ, and Kelly Mom to name a few!