Every mother’s breastfeeding journey is different and unique. And I wish someone had said that to me before I began my own journey.
Before I was even pregnant, I knew that I had to breastfeed. All the women I knew breastfed, and that was expected of me. I grew up knowing that was the only way our little humans could eat at least in the first few months.
Here’s a little back story. I am originally from Uganda, Africa, and while I was growing up, formula didn’t exist. So, the mothers had to breastfeed come rain, come sunshine! Unfortunately, there were no options. And if, for some reason, your body could not produce milk, then you would have to introduce your baby to solids very soon. This is still the same case for families who do not have the means to buy formula. I am so glad that this has changed. Uganda now has formula, and the mothers who can afford it do not have to stress about if or how their children are getting necessary nutrients.
Here are some of the things that helped me navigate this journey:
- Do not be afraid to ask for help. When I was still in the hospital, I asked the nurses to help me position my breast. She literally grabbed the whole thing and showed me how. And she did this over and over because for some reason I could not comprehend what they were telling me. Hello hormones!
- Real breastmilk is not going to come in until two or three days after giving birth. Nobody told me how long it would take. So, I was stressed out because of that, and on top of that, my baby was getting frustrated because there was no milk. However, the nurses told me that the baby can survive on the colostrum that comes in before the real milk. So, this relieved some stress.
- Oatmeal! Oatmeal! Oatmeal! I cannot stress this enough. Those breastfeeding teas did not work for me. But as soon as I was eating oatmeal every single morning, that milk started coming in like crazy. I used the organic oatmeal, but many brands work.
- Do not put a time limit on yourself for how long you will breastfeed for. I put too much pressure on myself to breastfeed until my baby was one year old. I did not make it to one year. Having to balance being a working mom while pumping at work everyday became so tiring. At 10 months, I completely transitioned him to formula. Best decision I have ever made. Mama and baby were both happy.
- Lastly, if for some reason breastfeeding is not for you, that is okay! Formula is an excellent option for you and your baby.
I hope this helps you in your journey. And, if there is anything I have missed, please feel free to share in the comments.