Breastfeeding takes patience and persistence but the journey is a beautiful thing. Your body is supporting the growth and development of a tiny human – that’s no small task! Repeat these mantras to yourself whenever you need a little encouragement along the way.
“One more time, one more time.”
Some moms may set an initial goal of breastfeeding for a year, or longer. In those first few days, or weeks, the long-term goals may actually make breastfeeding feel very overwhelming. When you are dealing with a bad latch, over- or under-supply, or general exhaustion, you may think, “How am I going to get through the day, let alone a year?” Stop right there. Deal with one feeding, then another, and then take on tomorrow, and then the day after that. Meeting smaller goals may help you reach the larger goal you set for yourself.
“I am doing something beautiful.”
You might feel awkward or self-conscious about nursing in public or even around friends and family. Besides figuring out the logistics—where to sit, do you want to cover to feel comfortable, what to wear to make nursing easy—you may be wondering what other people are thinking about you. The only person you need to worry about is your baby! You are doing something beautiful and natural. Keep your mind focused on this thought and let everything else fade away. Also, don’t forget you’re protected by Maryland law to breastfeed your baby in any public or private place where you’re permitted to be.
“It’s ok, relax. Help is on speed dial.”
You don’t have to do this alone. We’re in the midst of a breastfeeding revolution and support resources are readily available. Take advantage of them. Find a lactation consultant before you actually need the help. Put AAMC’s Warm Line in your speed dial list (its 443-481-6977). Join a social network of other new moms. Many moms use these tools to help them not only deal with breastfeeding difficulties, but also to help adjust to their new role of “mom.” (See below for a full list of resources.)
“Sometimes goals change and that’s okay! A happy mom is a good mom.”
If you start to feel unhappy or stressed, you may be putting too much pressure on yourself! If breastfeeding is in your heart then by all means keep going —find help and remind yourself that you are doing the best job you can. But, if you need to adjust your breastfeeding goal, be confident in that decision too. Don’t beat yourself up. Any amount of breast milk is important. Be proud of yourself! Your baby thinks you are the best mother just as you are.
“I’m doing a great job!”
Motherhood can be scary, difficult and, at times, overwhelming no matter how you feed your baby. But, it can be amazing, beautiful, fun and life-changing. Remind yourself every day that you’re doing a great job!
Best wishes in your breastfeeding journey. It might be a piece of cake. But, if it’s a bit challenging keep telling yourself, “I got this.” Take advantage of helpful resources, embrace it and enjoy discovering the amazing strength that you never knew you had.