Motivation for Breastfeeding Mamas

This post is especially for those mamas struggling with breastfeeding. 

I have been in your shoes.

The more women (moms) I talk to, the more I realize- wow, a lot of us have been in the same boat.
More specifically, in the same boat when it comes to breastfeeding.

A word that I think scares some women. Why? Because maybe it was wasn't easy for them. Maybe they never even gave it a chance. Maybe they felt so pressured into it, that they hated it. Maybe they so desperately wanted to breastfeed, but it just didn't work for them. Maybe it's just a topic they don't care to discuss for a number of reasons.

Then, there's the opposite end of the spectrum. There's the women who can't rave enough about breastfeeding. It was so natural and beautiful for them. It was so bonding for them and the baby. The baby took to it right away- and since day one it's been smooth sailing. The women who whip their boobs out right in public like they don't give a **** who sees them breastfeed. The women who shove breastfeeding and the benefits of breastfeeding down other women's throats and think of themselves as "better" than the women who don't breastfeed.

Then there's me.

Put me somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. Here's why..

I breastfed Gavin since the day he was born and still do (he's currently just over 6 months old). He has not had an ounce of formula in his system. I DO think breastfeeding is better for a baby nutritionally than formula. And yes, selfishly, I like the fact that it's the easiest way for me to burn calories every single day!

That being said, for the first 8 weeks of Gavin's life, I had a love-HATE relationship with breastfeeding. I was one of those women who felt so pressured (to the point where realistically "giving up" wasn't even an option) to breastfeed him, that it made me despise breastfeeding. It took awhile for him to learn (AND me to learn) how to get him to latch on good. But why?? Aren't babies just supposed to come out and know how to latch on to a boob??!!! I think many of us new moms think so! And sometimes, (for lucky women) they do! Sometimes- they don't, and it's a learning process for BOTH your baby AND YOU! 

Not only was latching on a tricky part of breastfeeding for me, I hated not knowing how much he was eating. It drove me crazy. I don't know if I'm the only one, but wow- it really drove me crazy for awhile. Sometimes he would eat for a total of 10 minutes.. sometimes he would eat for 30-40 minutes! What are you doing kid!? Besides confusing your mother!!

Then there's the whole, painful part of breastfeeding. It takes awhile for your nipples to toughen up and get used to it! Not only your nipples- but before your milk supply really smooths out and gets the hang of things- I don't know about you, but my boobs would be so big, swollen, and sore that I felt (and looked) like I just woke up from getting boob implants!! IT HURTS! 

Look at all of the things that stack up AGAINST breastfeeding. Add in there the fact that you have to sleep in a bra (what woman wants to do that), wear pads in your bra and worry about your boobs leaking (again, not something us women WANT to worry about). Not to mention- if you're going to be away from your baby, you have to hook yourself up to a pump (aka, pretty much stick your boobs in a vacuum) every few hours to keep up your milk supply.

I never saw a lactation consultant- yes I probably deserve a slap on the wrist for that one, because I'm sure it would have helped both me and Gavin, and I would have gotten the hang of things much faster. But, if you haven't already noticed from my blog, I'm a die-hard do-it-yourselfer. Yes, I wanted to figure out this breastfeeding thing, by myself. 

But these were the things that really got under my skin in the first couple months of being a new mom. I honestly had it in my head that I was just going to be miserable breastfeeding Gavin, but I might as well suck it up 'cause it's going to be awhile before I'm done.

WOW, was I wrong.

WOW, am I glad I DID NOT "give up" on breastfeeding.

And, WOW, I HAVE to encourage other moms to do the same! 

I'm not going to lie- there was no "flick of a switch" and things "just got better". I honestly can't say exactly when things turned around for me. 

What I can say, is once I stopped worrying and driving myself crazy over the "small" things (exactly how many ounces he was eating) everything started getting easier and better for me. I didn't really care how long he was eating. Ok, sometimes he'll eat for 15 minutes, sometimes he'll eat for twice that long. Who cares? He's hungry, and he's eating. Isn't that all that matters?? But it took me time to get used to that idea, and once Gavin was a couple months old, his eating leveled out. He was a more consistent eater- all of his feedings were usually about 1/2 hour long. What do ya know, it just took time. 

Latching on. It took at least a month before I felt like Gavin established a good latch. Again, it just took time. If he wasn't latching on good, I'd have to stick my little finger in his mouth, break the suction (which wow, you never realize just how strong a baby can suck until it's stuck on your boob!) and keep on re-latching him until it was right. Again, big deal... why would I let this drive me so crazy that first month?! As a parent, aren't we supposed to be patient with our kids (especially babies!), and give them time to LEARN? That's all it was- he had to learn how to latch on properly, and learning something always takes time. 

Then we get to the...well...(I'm looking for the words...)...the "Ya, it's just a part of breastfeeding" things (sorry, that's the best I could do for these things). Boob pads. Pumping. Bras- (all the time).
Ugh. Yes, just ugh.
But really- boob pads. What's so bad about them? Like everything else- you get used to them after time. I'm sure once I'm done breastfeeding it will be weird getting used to NOT using them.
And pumping- yes, it's something you have to do if you're away from your baby for feedings. But again- you get used to it and it just becomes a part of your every day.
Wearing bras, all the time, even at night for sleeping- ok, that just plain sucks. There's nothing else to that one. But, I'm used to it and I know (and dream of the day) that I eventually won't need to do that anymore! Yes, someday I will be able to go bra-less! (Haha, wow, the things that make us women excited...or at least shame y'all).

So why do I think a lot of women throw the towel in on breastfeeding?

Because they don't give it TIME. 
(and yes, I know some women truly CAN'T breastfeed, or have to stop for all kinds of other reasons, so I'm not digging any moms that have stopped breastfeeding!)

It's usually so much easier just to "give up" on breastfeeding. But if you have a deep desire to breastfeed your baby- but it just doesn't seem like you can keep up with it... GIVE IT TIME!

Don't be foolish like me- talk to someone! Call a lactation consultant- ask your doctor. Talk to SOMEONE... even just another mom who's breastfed before! Sometimes just sharing your frustrations, opens your eyes, and you see that you are NOT the only one struggling with breastfeeding.

And hey, stop worrying. That was my problem- and I realized that. At some point, I got it through my head that "wow, I am way too much of a control freak, I need to chill out, and stop worrying". That my friends, is life changing. Your mindset - it will make or break you. 

Understand that being a new parent (especially those first couple months) is so draining. Emotionally you'll be on one heck of a roller coaster and physically you'll be exhausted and drained. I think you can thank hormones for all of that. And when breastfeeding is stressing you out- of course there will be times you just want to be done with it!!

But from one mom to another- you can do it. If you have the determination to keep going with it- then don't give up out of frustration! 

Hang in there, give it time, and you will be so glad that you did! I am so unbelievably glad I stuck in there and gave it time. Now, breastfeeding is a breeze. I see so many more benefits towards breastfeeding than I ever have before! And remember, I started out hating breastfeeding... it wasn't smooth sailing the entire way for me (I'm not one of those lucky women!)  :)

But either way, your baby will love you. Boob or bottle- they'll love you the same.  

I wrote this post hoping to inspire other moms struggling with breastfeeding by showing them they are NOT alone. I was in those same shoes for a period of time, and a lot of other women are too.
I hope this gives some mamas some much needed inspiration and hope! 
Keep on keepin' on mamas!! last thing.....I don't whip my boobs out in public to breastfeed. I'm too shy for that I guess.
In case anyone was wondering.
Check out my Breast Milk Queen page for even more breastfeeding tips and insights from my own breastfeeding experience, as well as how to stock up breast milk for your sweet babe!

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