Breastfeeding can be time consuming, painful, draining and just downright challenging! But, breastfeeding can also be super duper rewarding. I breastfed both of my kids for 2 two years each. I actually breastfed the youngest for an additional 4 months. That's a whopping total of 4 plus years. How did I do it? Well, I didn't read any books or blogs. I didn't listen to the nay sayers. I didn't stress myself out with complex routines. I just kept it simple. I listened to my body. And most importantly, I followed my personal timeline. I wanted to breastfeed. I made up my mind that I was going to do it by any means necessary. Now, I know some women have issues with low milk supply, but for the most part, there are many of us who can breastfeed without any hindrances. My first child did not latch on instantly, but my second child did. I honestly believe that each child is different and will do whatever they want. It's a preview to the upcoming years. ;-) The most important point to remember is ------No mommy is perfect! We all have our struggles and challenges. Don't ever feel the need to compare yourself to any other mom. Not even that super fit, super organize eating and patient mom we all see in the magazines or on the TV screen. Those are just ads. There is no such thing as a perfect mom! You must walk at your own pace, and do the best you can do for you and your little one. This article is meant to give tips, and hopefully help you on your breastfeeding journey.
Here are several tips to help you breastfeed longer!
1. Don't Stress!!
Seriously!! Stressing can reduce your milk supply significantly. Your body will be too
drained to make a healthy amount of milk filled with nutritional value You have to be
sure to kick any stressors out of your life during this time. Don't create any unnecessary
issues for yourself. As mom's, we sometimes have a habit of comparing ourselves to
others and being too hard on ourselves. This is a big No No! Always remember that
you are doing the best you can do and that's all that really matters. If someone judges
you, so what!!..That's there problem and insecurities. It is not yours.
So just try to chill out and know that everything will be just fine. This step is so simple,
yet so challenging for many achieve. It's the simple things that keep us grounded and
healthy. Try to create your stress free zone today. I promise its liberating!
2. HYDRATE!! HYDRATE!!!
It is imperative that you remain hydrated. Your body will be depleted of all hydration if
you don't drink enough liquids. You must remember that your baby will need you to
drink enough for the both of you. You can risk fainting, puking your guts out,
migraine/tension headaches, etc.
Your body will NOT make enough milk if you are dehydrated! Your milk supply will be
And I'm not talking about hydrating with soda, tea and juice!!! Let get some H2O in your
system so the blood can pump at its optimal level!! Trust me, your baby, your skin
and your waist line will thank you for it.
3. Get Moving!!!
Get the hell up! That's right, I said it!!! Get the hell up! You must move if you want your milk supply to boom like you just hit a major line on a Texas oil field. I promise you will feel better mentally and physically. Physical activity will increase blood flow to the brain which will lead to the breast and then, bam!!! Your baby is happy with a mouth filled with healthy, nutritional milk. And you feel like a rockstar!! And once again, your waistline will thank you. So start moving today. If you feel like starting slow with simple jumping jacks or running in place; go right ahead. The main goal is to move and to produce blood flow. Turn on your favorite tunes to get the party started. And most importantly, have fun!! Your baby will thank you for it.
4. Stop Comparing!
Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. This will make you stop breastfeeding if you feel like you're behind the pact. We all need to run our own race. There is no need to compete with another mom. Life is hard enough as it is. Who cares if Tonya from Facebook is producing tons of milk and donating milk to the local hospital. This is great for Tonya and it is a blessing that she is able to donate, but work on you! Worrying about Kayla, Tameka, and Tamera is a quick way to decrease your milk supply. Try and focus on what's best for you and your baby. Every mom has their own challenges and battles to overcome. Don't be so hard on yourself. Remember, do the best that you can do and the pieces will fall in place. Start focusing on YOU today!!
5. Stay away from the Nay-Sayers!!!!
I don't care if it is a friend, family member, colleague or person from down the street--- Don't let someone else discourage you from breastfeeding! Don't ever!!! This is your life. Just because that person stopped, or never started has nothing to do with you. Most mama's give up or never start breastfeeding because of the many negative influences. People will try to discourage you from doing things that they didn't do, simply because they're misinformed, negative, miserable, or all of the above. Be careful about who you surround yourself with. Everyone will not be on board with your choices. In order to breastfeed for a substantial time period, you must surround yourself with people who support you and your decisions. If breastfeeding is already challenging, you definitely don't need any negative Nancy's around. Try surrounding yourself with a positive support group. Be inspired!!!
6. Find a breastfeeding support group!!
Find a group of women on a similar journey. Trust me there are so many breastfeeding groups and blogs all over social media, google, etc. It is important to collaborate and get to know real women, in real situations; just like you. It's nice to talk out problems and to find solutions to issues we initially thought were impossible to tackle. I really feel like this is one of the best ways to overcome and find real answers to your breastfeeding challenges. You may just meet a lifelong mommy friend in the process. So get out of your comfort zone and hang out with some warrior breast feeding mamma's. I promise your mental health and baby will thank you for it.
7. Get your Nutrients!!!!
Ummmm yeah.....Eat right!! Your body will need all of the nutrients it can get the during this journey. Remember your baby is taking a percentage of your vital nutrients away. Junk food and fast food will not cut it. Make sure you are getting enough protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin d, and so on. You can risk fainting, or possibly ending up in the ER, if your'e trying to overwork your body with a lack of nutrients. So start eating your veggies, lean protein and take your vitamins. This is the same message you will relay to your baby, when he or she gets older. So, don't be a hypocrite. Eat well to live well. Your baby and mental health and waist line will thank you for the support.
I hope these tips have helped you to embark upon or continue your breastfeeding journey. Please understand that all mamma's are going to have challenges and obstacles to overcome. Don't let fear of failure deter you from breastfeeding your baby. I promise you can accomplish this task with the right mental space, support, physical health and drive.
Wishing you the best of luck on your breastfeeding journey Mama!!!
-S. Lynn Garner