Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear Discouraged Breast-Feeding Mama

 Dear Discouraged Breast-Feeding Mama,

There are several things that could have brought you to your feelings of discouragement.

Maybe you feel like all your other friends are using formula and you're the only hippie trying to feed your baby with your own body.  You're not alone.

Maybe you feel nervous about breastfeeding in front of your friends or in public places.  Stick with it.  Practice using a cover at home and you'll soon be nursing in many different places.  While some of you might even get bold enough to nurse ANYWHERE, I am not.  However, keep in mind that fitting rooms don't have to just be for trying on clothes and that sitting in your parked car with a nursing cover can be pretty discrete.  Did you know that Babies R Us has a nursing room!?  Other places have these too.

Maybe you feel like your child cries a lot and the culprit must be your milk supply.  Before giving up on nursing, consider these things.  Is your baby having a lot of wet and dirty diapers?  Is your baby gaining weight appropriately?  Is your baby sleep deprived rather than milk deprived?

Maybe your pediatrician is pressuring you to use formula because he knows formula gets the job done.  Ask questions.  Find out what he thinks is concerning and look for ways you can fix it.  Milk doesn't just "dry up" if you're consistently nursing.  Make sure you're eating well, drinking lots of water, and taking your vitamins.

Maybe when you pump you don't get enough milk.  Know this: pumping is not an accurate measurement of your actual milk supply.  Do some research on pumping techniques and durations before you get too discouraged.  Babies are much more efficient than pumps.

Maybe you need to see a lactation consultant.  Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt.  It's better to ask for help, than to just assume your baby and you are never going to find a groove.  You will.  Give it at least 3 months.

Maybe you're frustrated that this "natural" thing doesn't seem natural at all.  It gets easier.  Eventually it will feel natural.  If it doesn't after a few months, do some extra research or ask for help from an LC.

Maybe you feel like you're going to go broke buying nursing pads and that you're constantly leaking milk.  After a couple months your body adjusts to your baby's needs.  It gets better.

Maybe you're burnt out on being the only one that is responsible for feeding your baby.  Take heart, with practice you can improve your pumping skills and take off a feeding or two.  Or maybe you can handle all the feedings as long as you let someone else help out with diaper changes, night-time routines, and play times.

Discouraged Breast-Feeding Mama, please stick with it.  Maybe there's another reason that's got you down, but remember, the more you stick with it, the less bottles you have to wash!  Also, the less supplies you have to pack in the diaper bag, the less formula you'll have to pay for and scoop, and the less illness you'll potentially have to deal with.

I don't know if you've figured this out by now, but Discouraged Breast-Feeding Mama, I've been discouraged by almost all of those things and I'm choosing to stick with it and learn as I go.  Breastfeeding takes support from those around you, so make sure to get some support and give it too.

Lexington-area mamas, you can find support here.  And all mamas can find support here.

Take care,

Support with Integrity


  1. Great post! As for leaking - I'd recommend buying cloth pads. I ended up using them til 12-13 months, so I was glad to have those instead of buying disposable ones all the time!

  2. Oh yeah! Great point Marta! What kind did you buy and like? I bought Nuk brand cloth and later realized the box said not to machine wash them, so I have not used them as much as I'd hoped I would.