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Coming home from the hospital with a brand new baby is overwhelming whether it’s your first baby or your third. The job of being a mom to a newborn comes along with a roller coaster of hormones, post-delivery healing and endless demands of a baby who is fragile and dependent on you to survive. Throw breastfeeding into the mix and it can sometimes feel like too much to handle.
Here’s the truth: Those first few weeks are the hardest. If you can make it through that first month of breastfeeding, you’ll find things get a lot easier. So how do you reach that point? We have a few tips to help, especially if you’re really struggling:
Set mini goals
It’s so tempting to throw in the towel when things get tough. Sore nipples, engorged breasts, feedings every other hour through the night—breastfeeding is not always easy. So set your sights on a short-term goal. Tell yourself you can make it one more week, one more day, one more feeding. A mantra that many moms find helpful: Never quit on a bad day. In those really rough moments, you simply won’t have a clear mind, so give yourself time, space and a little sleep and then reassess how you’re feeling. Motherhood has a funny way of showing us that we’re capable of so much more than we ever thought possible.
Take care of yourself
Moms are strong, and we do what we have to do, even when it’s hard, but that doesn’t mean we can forget about self-care. When our time and energy and bodies are so focused on caring for our new little ones, without regular rest, nourishing food, adequate hydration and at least a shower—you won’t be able to be the best mom you can be.
Remember breastfeeding is new
Like any new skill, breastfeeding takes practice to get into a routine. The learning curve is totally normal, so give yourself grace in this process too. You and your baby are unique human beings, just like every one of us, so find what works best for the two of you. As moms of multiple kids know, your breastfeeding relationship can be different from one baby to another. It takes time for you and your baby to get to know one another—and that’s okay.
Call in the pros
It’s second nature to us to consult experts when our cars or refrigerators need fixing, or to pay the doctor a visit when you are sick, and that same mentality should apply to breastfeeding. Remember, a lactation consultant or IBCLC is only a phone call away. Reach out to the team Ashland Health and we can set up an at-home visit. We’ll even navigate the insurance process (your plan should cover the cost) because we know you have plenty on your already-full plate.
Breastfeeding is beautiful, natural and it doesn’t always come easily. But once you get through those first five weeks, the road becomes less bumpy for both you and baby. Remind yourself that you’re doing a great job, and it does get easier.