Thursday, August 3, 2017

#WorldBreastfeeding Week

I recently participated in a live question and answer about breastfeeding while in medical school as dedication to World Breastfeeding Week. As promised I am incorporating some of what was discussed here…

            Everyone advocates #NormalizeBreastfeeding, without warning about how difficult breastfeeding can be. I mean, at one point the pain was worst than childbirth. It can be time consuming. There are moments when your body no longer feels like your own. Days have to be squeezed between nursing/pumping sessions and sometimes if you dare to have a moment of spontaneity you may be greeted with engorgement or a leak.

Once things settle, breastfeeding is empowering. The ability to both nourish and comfort your little one is humbling, the act is beautiful.  The moments spent curling up to nurse slowdown the world and consume you with love.

The biggest piece of advice I have is to be determined that you will do it. Set your breastfeeding goal early… literally as soon as you decide to breastfeed and then stick to it, willing to accept challenges and all. Before Levi was born this is what I decided:
My absolute minimum goal is to make it 6 month of exclusively breastfeeding. I told myself would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t make it that far. My desire is to make it 1 year of nursing and that at 1-year, I would see how it went and let Levi self wean as long as I am comfortable (secretly crossing my finger that he stops around 2 and before three).
I am a strong believer in setting an affirmative goal rather than “I am going to try to see who nursing goes and see if I can make it a year”.

Once you set your goal, look for motivation. For me, it was seeing other mothers sharing their nursing stories and beautiful photos. These are only a hashtag away. Google information about what to expect at different points of nursing, or even find a support group. I didn’t have time to join a support group, but was lucky that my program coordinator at the hospital just ended her breastfeeding journey of 15+ months. She had been through what I was going through and was able to give me advice, or just serve as someone who I could relate to. 
            Next, just make it past the first 3 weeks. I am so serious. The first three weeks were the hardest. I cried every latch. Toe-curling pain.  It was worst than childbirth and no one else will warn you. I wanted to give up every day for the first 21 days, but I just remembered my goal (and had found several other mothers who also felt like the first three weeks were the hardest).

            Lastly, take advantage of the opportunity. Nursing sessions freeze time and if you allow it to, it can be a moment when you to forget about everything else in your world and focus on your little one. (Take advantage of that oxytocin mama).

Links and Resources: 
     Kelly Mom


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