Most mothers who breastfed or tried breastfeeding would probably tell you it’s the hardest part of motherhood. For me, the learning curve at the very beginning of my breastfeeding journey was basically a vertical line. But I am glad I persevered because it’s easily the best decision I’ve made thus far as a mother. I was thinking a lot about why this act that should be so natural is so darn difficult in reality! I mean, if you know what the obstacles are, you will then be able to devise ways to remove or overcome the obstacles, right? So here are my top reasons. There are only four. Not too bad, really. 🙂
1) No one else can breastfeed for you.
Need a break? Sorry mama. Gotta press on and latch or pump that milk out. Every 2 hours, round the clock. It’s something that no one else can do for you. Daddies and grandparents can help with changing diapers, bathing the baby, bottle feeding formula, etc. But only mom can breastfeed the baby or pump milk. I mean, we are the ones with the lactating breasts.
But hey. You’re human too and you need a break sometimes. If you’re really exhausted and can’t go on without sinking into depression, it’s fine to supplement with formula or skip a pumping session. You’re human, mama. Almost superhuman but not quite there yet.
2) It’s stressful.
Because when your body is capable of providing food that essentially sustains your fragile newborn baby, you want to get that *word poop that starts with an S* done right. This is all she needs and it’s the PERFECT food for her. This is important and you don’t want to mess it up.
Ok. Deep breath.
Relax and know that you are in fact the most important piece of the puzzle. Let’s try to get your perspective right. All baby really needs is mama and not breastmilk. Because mama will do anything to care for baby in the best possible way. As long as you shower your baby with lots of love, little else matters. Including whether she’s breastfed or not.
3) It requires the cooperation of a newborn baby.
How do you work with someone whom you’ve just met, can’t speak a word in your language, can’t control their movements, and is screaming most of the time? I rest my case.
However, do remember that your baby is learning so many new skills everyday. She will get better and will one day latch on perfectly without causing you any pain. It wouldn’t hit you until one day, you realise that hey, your nipples aren’t sore anymore! Hurray!
4) Chances are, you’ve never seen anyone breastfeed before.
Think back to the time you had sex for the first time. You heard people talk about sex all the time, watched it on TV, imagined it a hundred times. But nothing quite prepared you for the real thing yea? Breastfeeding is still a really private act between mother and baby. If it were normalised like eating and drinking, mothers probably wouldn’t find it so awkward to breastfeed for the first time. I literally did not know where to put my arms, how to sit or position myself. And I watched a ton of breastfeeding videos while pregnant.
You’ll be wondering for quite a while: did I get the latch right? But that’s ok. Breastfeeding is an art form so personal that there’s no one size fits all method to it. Don’t worry if your breastfeeding style is different from what the lactation consultants say is correct. As long as your baby is feeding well and isn’t hurting you, you’ve more than likely got it right.