There is no doubt the benefits for both mother and baby with breastfeeding. I love breastfeeding and the bonding time that is just for my baby and I. Skin to skin, oxytocin time and all essential vitamins, minerals, antibodies and nutritional needs for a growing baby. So what happens when it doesn't go to plan?
Every journey will have it's highs and lows and it may not seem easy at first. Just like when we first learn to walk we stumbled, we fell down, we got back up and we practiced over and over again until it became a learned behaviour.
Babies are very intelligent and you may have noticed your arreola's darken on your breasts. This is a mapping system for the baby to crawl and move towards it's treasure at birth. Depending on the birth experience and the right conditions and time, the baby can self attach to your breast and feed. It is an amazing sight to see.
However sometimes the baby may have trouble attaching due to possible tongue or lip ties, weak jaw muscles, high palates, inverted nipples and so many other reasons. Have you heard the saying too many cooks spoil the broth? Sometimes too many well meaning caregivers giving conflicting advice can also be a block and the mother then may feel incapable, or that she has failed. Take a step outside into the fresh air, take a moment and listen to your instinctual nature. There is no failure! You are doing an amazing job with the resources you have. If it doesn't feel right then trust your intuition and ask.
If you don't know where to start and want to find out more and learn some new resources. Finding a good lactation consultant, a private midwife, joining your local ABA (Australian breastfeeding association) or even a really good friend to offer you support and just sit and be with you and have a laugh can relax you and your baby. Find someone you trust and be open to new ideas. Knowledge is power. A good support team, a range of resources for you to use when you need is so beneficial for you both. Eat well and drink plenty of water, fuel your body with the best resources available and if possible include a form of protein in every main meal as this will sustain you for longer. Magnesium, calcium and vitamin B's either found in food or as a supplement can support stress, cramps, headaches and general well being. An iron supplement such as floravital to keep up your iron stores especially in the first few weeks post birth. And my absolute favourite is a bottle of rescue remedy handy for those moments when both of you need to feel calm and peace and if you don't have that, run a bath for just the two of you and have skin to skin time.
Then other factors can come into play - milk doesn't come in, sleep deprivation, stress, exhaustion, lack of support, post natal depression, over supply of milk, breast tissue changes, fast flow, slow flow, baby prefers one side, allergies, intolerances, reflux, colic, mastitis, milk ducts blocked and so on.
If you have done everything you can and yet your journey is still not running smoothly it is ok to let go. That was one of my most challenging journey's I have ever had to endure. (read more here) No need for guilt and no judgement this is your journey and you do whatever you need to in that moment. I know in my heart I did everything I could at that time. I can now look at Ben thriving and have peace within.
Just like every journey
Let it unfold