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breastfeeding truths from moms to new moms

3 minutes

Breastfeeding is one of the most contentious topics when it comes to newborn babies. It is often depicted as the most ‘natural thing in the world’, but it can be incredibly difficult for baby and mother, leading to many new mothers feeling like a ‘failure’ for not being able to manage it. You’re not alone.

Why is breastfeeding recommended?

The benefits of breastfeeding – according to the Mayo Clinic – are “strongly supported by medical professional organizations because of its known direct benefits to the infant's nutrition, gastrointestinal function, host defense, and socio-emotional development.”

But ultimately, fed is best and if for any reason you are struggling, there are alternatives that will ensure your baby is getting the sustenance they need. Check to see if your newborn is fussy due to growth spurts and during diaper changes to see if they’re typical for the age range.

‘At the first home visit from the doctor, my daughter had lost a little more weight than they wanted, but it was nothing to worry about,’ says Joanna. ‘A couple of days later however she’d lost even more weight, which was a shock as I thought I’d been breastfeeding fine. The lactation specialist suggested supplementing with baby formula after every other feed and I felt totally comfortable with the idea. We stuck with the lactation specialist’s suggestion and never regretted it.’

Reality V. expectation

‘Nothing from my pregnancy through to the birth of my son really went how I wanted, and then I really struggled to breastfeed so it felt like another “failure”’, says Luciana. ‘But I was desperate that he get my milk, so I expressed and fed him through the bottle. I’m glad I had that option but honestly, it was probably the hardest part of motherhood as it was so physically draining, and I was confined to the house for hours.’

The reality of motherhood is often very different from expectations, and this can be difficult. There are a lot of options out there if breastfeeding isn’t as straightforward as you’d hoped, so do speak to your baby’s doctor or a lactation specialist if this is something you’d like to explore.

Getting through breastfeeding

‘I was lucky with my first son and managed to breastfeed without much difficulty, but my main tip would be to stock up on nipple cream and use it preventatively,’ says Cherie. ‘My second was exclusively formula-fed as I was really quite poorly straight after birth. There was quite a lot of guilt at first but now it seems like a distant memory, and both seem as healthy as one another.’

It is difficult to understand just how hard breastfeeding can be until you go through it yourself. So if you are struggling, please know that you are definitely not alone and there are many moms going through the exact same thing, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Do reach out if you are in need of support and try to remember that, however, your baby is being fed, you are doing an amazing job. For more tips and advice, check out our wide range of articles on everything from newborn to mobile babies.

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