Are you thinking about breastfeeding? If so, you’re in the right place.
Just like parenting, the further you learn about breastfeeding, the more you realize that you don’t know all that you need to know.
And that realization can get pretty overwhelming, very quickly.
So today, let’s take it one step at a time and deconstruct breastfeeding so that it’s as simple as possible for you to get started and get the momentum going.
To Get Breastfeeding Started, You Only Need A Few Things
If you think about it, in order to breastfeed, you just need a couple of basic things:
- The baby
- A good “why” for why you’re breastfeeding
- TIME To be around the baby to get to know them
- SELF-CARE To take care of yourself to have the energy that breastfeeding requires
- And persistence. You need to breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed.
As you can see, you don’t need much. You need you, the baby and to get into the habit of breastfeeding.
So if you have that, you can nurse. It’s just a matter of keeping that commitment and continuing on this path despite the difficulties that you will face. And yes, you will face them. I’m not being pessimistic. Just realistic. Anything that is worth is gives you difficulties from time to time.
Everything from maintaining a vavavoom body to a luxury car. And can I tell you a secret? Having a baby, being with your baby and breastfeeding your baby is better than any of these two things, or better than anything, really… except maybe hummingbird cake (if you haven’t tried it and you like tropical fruit… it’s a must-have). But even then, the baby wins. 😉
So What’s The Catch?
But breaking down breastfeeding like this makes it seems like any woman can breastfeed. So why don’t they. I don’t know if you caught it, but I said that you need you, the baby and getting into the HABIT of breastfeeding.
It’s not so much the breastfeeding that’s difficult, it’s getting into the habit of breastfeeding anywhere, anytime, no matter how tired you are, no matter how many things you need to do.
You’ve tried changing a habit, right? Or creating a brand new one from scratch. Both are difficult.
And with breastfeeding, there are gonna be some habits that you let go of. And others you adopt.
But Wait A Minute, Can I Still Be In A Committed Breastfeeding Relationship With My Baby Even If I work?
Of course. If you need to return to work, you can still maintain your milk supply up by pumping both at work and at home and breastfeeding the baby every time you’re around him/her.
And please don’t start sabotaging or making excuses for yourself ahead of time. In other words, don’t question who has it harder… stay at home moms who breastfeed or moms who work outside the home that breastfeed?
I’ve done both and they both have their difficulties and conveniences.
If you can swing it, I would say opt to stay at home because the breastfeeding years are done in no time. It doesn’t seem like that at 2:00 A.M., but trust me, having finished breastfeeding my older son, I can’t believe that that time is up already. The best part is that you get to see them grow, see their firsts. That sort of thing.
But make no mistake…. whether you breastfeed from home or while still working a 9-5, you’ll have to change and adopt new habit that will not always be easy.
What ELSE Do You Need To Make This Breastfeeding Relationship Work?
Just because breastfeeding is natural doesn’t mean that you are born with everything you need to know about breastfeeding.
(If you’re scared about breastfeeding, or hesitant, or right in the middle of a breastfeeding dilemma read that last sentence again, please).
Given that breastfeeding is probably gonna be the biggest habit you ever undertake… you need shifts in your mindset to help you walk through the tunnel, knowing that there’s light at the end of it, and being successful enough to get to the other side.
So what do you need?
- You need to learn about the breastfeeding process along the way.
- You need to breastfeed as often as possible. This requires practice and time.
- You need patience. Babies are not robots. Neither are you. You can’t just program yourselves for things to flow perfectly. They won’t and you need to be prepared for that. One of the best things to foster patience is to have the knowledge to:
- discern between what’s normal, what’s not in your baby’s anatomy and yours
- what tweaks you can make to improve the breastfeeding relationship,
- when you can plow through a struggle, and when you need help
- when you’re baby needs to see a doctor
- how the other people in your life can help support you in this role
- what things you need to change in your routine to establish a good breastfeeding schedule
- how to stand up for you and your baby
- Depending on how much your little one breastfeeds at a time, you need a bit of sacrifice. Life is not gonna be what it was like when you weren’t a mother.
- If it is the same… really look into yourself as a person, and at your priorities.
- Your life after a baby should be quite different.
- Much more about your kids and a lot less about you.
- I’m not saying this to persuade you to adopt a martyr philosophy on life… but to become a responsible mother who doesn’t always seek the easy way out.
- I know that what I’m saying is tough. But think about it. Breastfeeding is probably gonna be the first sacrifice, the first big shift that you lovingly do as a huge welcome and consideration for your little one. And you’ll do this because you consider them sacred and because you love them.
- If you’re wondering how big of a sacrifice it’ll be, it largely depends on how much time your baby breastfeeds.
- And this varies from baby to baby.
- The time your baby breastfeeds can range from 20 minutes per breast to about 22 hours ping-ponging between the breasts. I’m not kidding. I say this not to scare you or anything…,but to actually prepare you because nobody told me that breastfeeding my son for 22 hours was even a possibility. It was a bit of a jarring discovery, to say the least,
- Chances are, that my case was on the higher end of things and that you’ll fall somewhere between breastfeeding 20 minutes per breast to 22 hours around the clock.
In case I’m not accurately painting the full picture, let me zoom in the lens, focus it really well, and give you the most honest snapshot I can, Listen to me: Breastfeeding will become your career, as I said in the prior blog. ____
Seen another way, in your career as a mother, breastfeeding will become one of the greatest tasks, among the most time-consuming, if not THE most time-consuming. Heck, I can’t think of a most time-consuming household task. Cooking takes a long time, right? Well, you’ll probably be breastfeeding more than you are prepping meals…. if you have much of a chance to prep meals at all, at least initially.
You will spend more time breastfeeding than practicing any hobby…not only in the present tense, but combined in your entire life.
Those community service hours you accumulated to prove how charitable you were with your time for your early resumes or Honors Society…. pale in comparison to the collective time you’ll spend breastfeeding.
Were you in marching band, drama club, student council, yearbook club, on a sports team? Doesn’t matter. You’ll spend more time breastfeeding.
So just like any career, job task, or hobby…. you have to be 100% in.
Knowing All Of This, Is Breastfeeding Still For You?
Yes and no.
Let me explain.
Yes…. you can breastfeed. I firmly and undeniably believe it.
You should be sighing a sigh of relief, right around now.
But wait a minute, I’m not hearing it. Ah, I know what you’re probably thinking…
Don’t even go down the route of
- “What if my body’s not equipped to breastfeed?”
- “What if my body is not made to breastfeed?”
- “What if my baby doesn’t like my boobs?” (Yes, it sounds weird… because it is weird).
- “What if blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?”
Seriously! STOP ITTTTT!!!!!!
Don’t let these thoughts derail you.
Don’t give up before you start.
Because breastfeeding is NOT for wimps. Oh, no, no, no honey, it really isn’t.
You may have one question so loud in your mind that you’re not really listening to me.
Let me address it. Your question is probably:
No, But Seriously Haydee, What If I Physically Can’t Breastfeed Because I Don’t Have Milk?
Just like your friend, your sister, your mother, your aunt, your grandma, your grandma’s best friend, and the random lady at the store you kept staring at your pregnant belly probably scared the bejeezus out of you and made you think that your labor was gonna (or is gonna) be worse that it really was, they probably have spread a mental virus to you in which they shared that they couldn’t breastfeed. Or that it was excruciating hard. That it hurt like hell. Or that it was all in vain.
If you have no idea what I mean by mental virus, let me just save you some time and share what my beloved Dr. Wayne Dyer taught me. And that is, that many of the ideas and excuses that we ALL believe, live by and have the audacity to spread are like viruses seeking to remain alive and reproduce. That’s why we pass them from one mind to mind… like viral infections.
So basically, let me turn it over to you. What do YOU want to believe?
The healthy thought or the infected thought (that is false, by the way)?
Do you wanna believe that you can breastfeed or that you can’t?
Can’t make up your mind?
Let me use some scientific studies to help.
How Likely Are You To Be Able to Breastfeed Scientifically Speaking?
It’s not 50% – 50%. Oh, no, no, no.
It’s closer to 100 than you think. 98% of mothers CAN produce enough milk. Only about 2% can’t.
And while you can argue that maybe you are part of the 2% that can’t breastfeed… switch the question around. If you were 98% likely to win a trip to Disneyland in a raffle, would you buy a ticket?
Of course, right? You have almost everything to win! The same thing with breastfeeding.
So Remember When I Asked You If Breastfeeding Was Still For You?
Now that your anxiety over whether or not you can breastfeed has hopefully diminished, let me just remind you of a teeny-tiny important fact.
More than asking yourself if breastfeeding is still for you, ask yourself the more important question: “Is breastfeeding still for your baby?”
So To Recap, What Are The 10 Things You Need To Have In Order To Breastfeed?
Be a Lady
Be Someone Who’s Given Birth Soon Or Be Someone Who’s given birth recently
Have Desire to Breastfeed
Have Strong Why
Make Time To Bond
Give Yourself Self-Care
Be Committed to Practice Breastfeeding and Be Persistent Even When You Hit a Roadblock
Learn To Breastfeed and Adjust With How Breastfeeding Will Impact Your Lifestyle
Be Willing To Sacrifice Out Of Love
So Now It’s Your Turn
What was your biggest aha moment with this post?
Do you think you have what it takes to breastfeed?