Breastfeeding wasn’t the magical experience I’d hoped for. Here’s what I learned


(Photo: Pixabay)

This post is sponsored by The Breastfeeding Shop.

Before I had my first baby, I did a ton of research. I learned all about childbirth, newborns, and breastfeeding. I was very excited about breastfeeding.

I was prepared. I just knew I would love breastfeeding my baby boy. I would do everything you were supposed to do. He would be born, lay on my chest, and then know what to do. He wouldn’t need anything else–just me–and the whole experience would be magical. Breastfeeding is natural, after all.

On an early September morning in 2004, my first little boy came into the world. Within a few minutes, he was on my chest, and our breastfeeding relationship was getting ready to start. . . except he was sleepy. So very sleepy.

He didn’t latch on right away, and through a lot of help from the nurse and the lactation consultant, he finally learned how to feed, almost a week later. My husband and I worked to get him my milk through a tube before that happened.

To say my breastfeeding relationship started off differently than I had hoped is an understatement. Everything about breastfeeding was so different from what I thought it would be. After two more boys and a total of 32 months, breastfeeding wasn’t the magical experience I’d hoped for, but here is what I learned.

Breastfeeding takes time

My ideas of how my breastfeeding relationship was going to start were wrong. This was because I had heard from others how easy the experience  was, and maybe it was. . . for them. But for some moms and some babies, the breastfeeding relationship takes a bit longer to get started.

I was a new mom who wanted to breastfeed and my baby was having trouble. Getting him to figure out what he needed to do was difficult. Although breast milk is natural, breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally to every baby.

Not everyone will love doing breastfeeding

A lot of the moms I knew loved breastfeeding. I thought I would, too. I thought I would enjoy doing it because I was feeding my baby.  And although those milk faces are the best, I didn’t love breastfeeding.

For each of my babies, I tried my best. I was able to breastfeed my oldest until he was 17 months old, my second little boy until he was nine months, and my third until he was six months. I had a different breastfeeding experience with each baby and even so, I never got to the “love this so much” stage that I have seen others achieve.

I have realized that not loving breastfeeding is okay. We don’t have to love every little thing we do for our children. We can simply work to do what we think is best, even if we are not 100 percent happy when we do it.

Each baby could is different

I look at my three boys and see that. I can listen to stories from friends about how breastfeeding went for them and can see that. Everyone’s breastfeeding story is going to look a little different.

Some moms will love everything about the experience, others, like me, will not be able to find the magic. Some will breastfeed a child for years, others for only a few months. As a mom, you will figure out what works best for you and your baby.

Support is essential

If you do want to breastfeed, you need to find support. This means finding a good lactation consultant, a nurse, or another professional to help you get started and assist you along the way. This also means finding friends who support your decision. They don’t all have to breastfeed but find people who understand that is what you want to do.

Finding a good breastfeeding group is also a good idea. You can talk about any issues you are having, learn from other moms, and find new friends. Having that support made all the difference for me during my breastfeeding years.

The Breastfeeding Shop provides name-brand, high-quality breast pumps and breastfeeding supplies. Catering to the military community, the Breastfeeding Shop’s quick and easy service ensures that TRICARE beneficiaries can receive breast pumps and supplies at no-cost to them.

By Julie Provost