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You’ve spent 9 months learning and preparing for motherhood and despite it all this parenting thing might still be harder than you expected. Trust me, I’ve been there… that’s why I want to warn you of four “Real Life” Breastfeeding Traps. I’ve entitled them “traps”, because these real life pressures might cause you pause and evaluate your nursing journey, before you’ve achieved your goals.
1. POP CULTURE has a big influence on breastfeeding trends.
There’s been an avalanche of controversy over Mila Kunis’s decision to nurse in public, Molly Sim’s decision not to breastfeed, and Ali Landry’s confession that “breastfeeding was amazing…but not easy”. These high profile discussions subconsciously shape our perceptions of breastfeeding and whether we choose to pursue it. Chances are…they affect you more than you know.
There’s a lot of pressure to embrace the easiest and most discrete form of infant feeding. And moms might debate whether breastfeeding is convenient. But, one thing is certain- scientific studies continue to prove that breast milk is irreplaceable and crucial to infant development, it might be the very best thing for your child, ever.
Ultimately, it’s important to own your decision and in the words of Kristen Bell, ” you do you” (whatever that is).
2. INFANT FORMULA was first introduced in the 1800’s, now it’s a billion-dollar industry.
Millions of advertising dollars are spent each year trying to convince parents that pharmaceutical crafted formula is just as good as breast milk. Don’t get me wrong, formula has its place and purpose but please don’t feel pressured to alter or abandon your breastfeeding goals because you’re tempted by that formula sample or mixer you received as a baby shower gift.
3. NEWBORNS ARE LEARNING and acquiring new skills every single day…
When your baby flounders around your breast, mouthing it in all the wrong places…don’t take it personally. With a little practice, they’ll eventually get it right. And once they do, your child may be so comforted by nursing that they over-eat! Keep in mind, excessive fullness can cause gas, irritation, and colic. During these moments, it’s easy to feel helpless and wonder if you’re doing something wrong. But don’t give up, it’s all part of learning.
4. POSTPARTUM AND PEDIATRICIAN VISITS are often scheduled midweek, during regular business hours.
As your spouse works to find a new work/life balance, do not not interpret their inability to attend mid-week appointments as disinterest. Studies reveal that the majority of fathers want to learn about breastfeeding and how to help but are often overcome with feelings of helplessness and guilt because they feel unsuited to help their partner (Brown & Davies, 2014; Datta et al., 2012).
Make an effort to involve Dad by making appointments that he can attend, so he’s able to learn about infant care and breastfeeding.
Remember, …everyone learns by trial and error. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember to give yourself grace and time.