How to Deal with Breastfeeding Pain & Own Your Breastfeeding Journey
Breastfeeding is something many mothers look forward to and are expected to get the hang of as soon as baby arrives. That did not apply to me — at all.
Shortly after labor, the nurse latched my son onto my breast, and it felt very strange. Nothing about the experience felt natural. Over the next several days, I tried to get the swing of breastfeeding, but unfortunately, my breasts hurt, my nipples were cracking, and my baby was still hungry. I began to dread feeding time.
Here are four things I did to transition from feeling despair to building connection:
1. Stop Comparing
I would compare how much milk I was producing versus other moms — and I always fell short. I intentionally stopped comparing after learning more about milk production, supply and demand, hormones, and storage capacity. My body and baby are unique, and comparing didn’t serve either one of us.
2. Hire a Lactation Consultant
Working with a lactation consultant was a game-changer because she taught me how to properly get the baby to latch on without gnawing off my nipples, increase my milk supply, and get into the proper feeding position for maximum back-pain relief.
3. Change Expectations
I wanted my baby to be 100 percent breastfed. Unfortunately, my son’s weight was dropping quickly, and we had to supplement with formula. At first, it felt like I had failed my baby, but the truth is, formula helped my son thrive, and he quickly gained the weight he needed.
Taking care of a newborn was exhausting and started to take a toll on my body. Instead of getting chores done around the house, I decided to prioritize my health by carving out downtime, like taking naps, hydrating, and indulging in movies.
Breastfeeding is a great opportunity to bond with your baby and deepen your connection. A friendly reminder, from mom to mom, that it’s your journey and unique to you. You’re doing great.
This post is part of a series to recognize World Breastfeeding Week, which is celebrated every year from August 1-7 “to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.”