Having just had my third baby about a month ago, I can confirm that every breastfeeding journey is unique for both mother and baby. With each baby, I have had vastly different experiences and even though I can now say I am more confident, breastfeeding my third child has been equally challenging.
In the last few weeks, I have had severe nipple pain caused by incorrect latching, engorged breasts as well as mastitis. What got me through all of it, was empowering myself with facts and having the courage to seek and ask for help when I needed it – all without feeling like I was failing as a mother.
When I had my first born, I was young and insecure about my decision-making abilities, which made it easy for me to be for pressured to stop breastfeeding when family members would tell me that my babies frequent nursing meant that my breastmilk “wasn’t making him full”. I had very little reference of women around me breastfeeding successfully, and when the pressure came, I falsely believed that my breastmilk was inferior to formula.
I breastfed my first born for less than two months, nevertheless, I learnt so much from that experience. With my second child, I was able to breastfeed for almost nine months until she weaned herself and now I aim to breastfeed my third baby until he is one years old. A conscious effort to arm myself with the benefits and facts on breastfeeding was the ultimate game-changer for me. I am even more motivated to keep going, beyond any opposing opinions. I am more patient and I trust myself and my body more.
A few words of advice:
- Empower yourself – the more facts you know and research you do, the more empowered and motivated you will feel on your breastfeeding journey.
- Find inspiration – whether it be family, friends that have had success with breastfeeding or the accounts you follow on social media. The more positive and assuring messages you get around breastfeeding, the better for you.
- Remember your WHY – each of us choose to breastfeed for different reasons. It may be because you believe in the nutritional, physical or emotional benefits. The reasons will be personal and different for every mom.
Some of the basics I wish I had known from the beginning are:
- Frequent nursing is normal for a newborn. They nurse every 2 hours or so.
- The more I breastfeed, the more milk I will have.
- It takes a few weeks for a mother’s milk supply to be established. This requires patience and giving your body a chance to nourish your baby.
- Never compare breastmilk quantities to formula quantities.
With all this said, your breastfeeding journey is yours – it’s personal and unique so there is no right way to do anything. You will figure what works for you, as you learn more about yourself and your baby. You were made for this Mama!
Thando works as a learning and talent development manager in the financial services industry but is also founder of Modern Zulu Mom, an award winning parenting and lifestyle blog. She is a wife, mother of three, career woman, blogger and content creator.
You can find Thando over on Modern Zulu Mom