Because I am a mum of 3 fantastic child myself, the question of breastfeeding is a subject which touches and concerns me a lot. Each of my experiences was very different from the two others: my feelings, the organization (breastfeeding a child while raising one or two other is not always easy!), the breastfeeding durations… nothing was similar from one to another.
From my own experience, here is my list of seven tips for a serene breastfeeding experience.
First breastfeeding advice: Listen to your entourage… but do not listen to them too much:
While it is always good to know different opinions and various experiences about breastfeeding a child, you should not completely identified yourself with a single experience to analyze yours. As well as every pregnancy, every birth and every child is different, a baby’s breastfeeding is a unique experience every time.
The importance of motivation:
For a successful breastfeeding, the main key is that you must be motivated and you have to be sure of your own choice. If you hesitate, if you doubt or if you do not feel supported, you will have many difficulties to (a long and) successful breastfeeding.
If you want to breastfeed your baby, do not waste your time to justify or explain your choice: you are the mother of your child, you know what is the best for you and your baby.
On the contrary, if you do not wish to breastfeed your child, do not feel guilty about it: every person is free to make its own choices and its own desires.
However, the support of your husband is essential: communicate with him, tell him what he can do to help you and do not exclude him for your breastfeeding experience. If he can obviously not breastfeed your baby, he can change the baby’s diaper or put the baby back in bed after the breastfeed time, for example.
Listen to yourself and your baby:
As a person, you are the best placed to know what suits you and what you wish to make with your baby or not. In the same way, as a mum, you are the best placed to understand and know your baby’s needs. So listen to you: your body, your feelings, your desires, your needs … If you want to breastfeed, do it. If you do not want to do it, don’t and don’t give way to your entourage’s pressure.
“A bottle given with love is better than a breastfeeding unwillingly.”
Long-lasting breastfeeding or not?
If the World Health Organization’s recommendations advocate breastfeeding until the age of six months, each feeding is beneficial for your child. Do not put limits for the weaning’s age or an objective of success: let you carry by your desires and those of your baby above all.
Pressure and stress are the worst enemies of a successful breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding and baby weight:
There are weight curves tailored for the breastfed baby. A breastfed baby does not have the numbers of meals as a bottle-fed baby and breast milk is not digested in the same way as formula milk. So the growth of a breastfed baby is not the same either.
The World Health Organization has published growth curves for breastfed babies, do not hesitate to consult them if you are worried for your child’s weight.
Professionals are listening to you:
As I said above, listen to the opinions and the experiences of your friends and your family is a good thing but it is not enough to know everything about breastfeeding. It is better to take your advices from professionals specialized on the issues about breastfeeding. For my part, I recommend you to take your advices from the Leche League: present in many countries, the Leche League is a network that provides information and brings support to the mums and the future mums who may have any question about breastfeeding.
Pulling your breast milk:
If you do not feel comfortable with the fact of breastfeeding your child “in live”, you might consider pulling your milk in order to give it to your baby in a bottle.
It takes time to adjust and a good organization but it is a good compromise between breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
In summary, you are the best placed to make your breastfeeding a success. So, no stress, no pressure, listen to you and follow your instincts! I hope that these few tips will help you to make your own choices.