My plea to the breastfeeding mother....

Most cited reason why mothers stop breastfeeding.
Not enough milk
Baby wont latch
Breast pain/Soreness

You hear all the perks of breastfeeding and see all the glamorous pictures. You read and research on how breastfeeding is the very best for baby. You're told that breastfeeding will be easy, or maybe you have been told that breastfeeding will be hard. The hardest thing you have ever done. Eh, Maybe... or maybe not.

Here you are holding that precious bundle of joy, the one that caused all kinds of cuss words come out of your mouth that made your mama blush. But you don't care, he was worth it. You have read about breastfeeding and decided to do it. You say, "Yup. I'm going to breastfeed this baby." You think, "I remember reading that they breastfeed often. Yeah okay, I can do that. No problem." Breastfeeding got started off fairly well in the hospital. Baby breastfed a handful of times for a short amount of time. He was happy, content. "Man, I've got a good baby! How did I luck up!" you think. 

Then you go home....

Baby is up every hour nursing, crying and nursing some more. You are exhausted and just found toilet paper in your hair (how did that get in there?!) You just need one moment of sanity, quiet time. You think "Why do people say that they can not remember the time before they have kids. I CAN!! I want that back!!!" You feel your nipples are going to fall off at any moment and then your husband is going to leave you because who wants to be with a nippleless woman? So you cave and open that can of formula that the hospital sent home with you. How nice of them... Lactation consultants all over the world cringe.

Why is breastfeeding so difficult that mothers need help?
Unrealistic expectations
Lack of preparation for what the newborn period will be like
Lack of timely interventions. (The fastest drop off rates in BF happen within the firs 10 days)

The lovely nurses on the mother/baby unit say.. "day 3 and 4 are all day buffet" which I thought was extremely fitting. Moms aren't the only ones exhausted from labor. By day 3 newborns are a little more awake, alert. They realize that when they are skin to skin with mom, she breastfeeds him. He likes that stuff, makes his tummy feel good and all kinds of good hormones release. So he wants to, often.

Let me break it down for you, very rarely do you not make enough milk. Do women struggle with their milk supply? Absolutely, BUT there is almost always a catalyst (Feel free to ask me more!). The main thing you will hear from every lactation counselor is BREASTFEED THE BABY. The colostrum that your body makes towards the end of pregnancy is liquid gold to that baby for the first few days.(Feel free to ask me more!) After a day or two your milk starts to transition to mature milk (the original white milk) with help from the baby. The more the baby breastfeeds, the more your body will make. Simple as that. Cut and dry. Take it to the BANK! When you start to introduce bottles and pacifiers, it takes time away from the breast which takes nutrition away from the baby (weight loss!) which ultimately hurts your milk supply. We call it the snow ball effect.  #Truth
Are you giving me the side eye? Don't believe me quite yet? Nothing can come out if nothing goes in. Well, if a baby is exclusively breastfed (nothing by mouth but breastmilk) and is having plenty of wet and dirty diapers then, it has to be coming from somewhere right? Baby is removing enough milk. YOU are making enough milk. Newborns WILL lose weight the first few days of life and it IS normal for it to take up to 2 weeks for them to return to their BIRTH weight. So, with that being said, being on a good schedule with your Dr or local WIC office and having weight checks is also a great way to show yourself that baby is removing enough breastmilk. That YOU are making enough.

Things to remember... Babies cry. A lot. They cry because they have been pulled out of the only place they've ever know, your body. That is their home. Mothers, and women in general, are so busy now a days that it still continues after birth. We get frustrated because the baby does not want to be swaddled and laid down in the $100+ contraption that your mother bought. He wants to be held, by you. (Check out my old post on baby wearing! #GameChanger) Babies LOVE skin to skin. Its their new home.  There they can smell you, hear you speak, listen to your heartbeat and easily slip on down to breastfeed. Again, its their new home. (Research the 4th trimester here if your interested, good stuff.) Babies nurse FREQUENTLY, 10-12 times in a 24 hour period. If the baby wants to breastfeed every hour, let him! Not only are you providing him with nutrition(weight gain!), its also comfort (being HOME!) and doing amazing things for your milk supply (YAY!). Think about how many times you take a sip of something to drink, a bite of food? And you are just maintaining your weight. See where Im going here...? ;)

So my plea to you is please, please, please, BREASTFEED THE BABY. Sit down, relax, let yourself heal from the beautiful thing called labor and breastfeed that baby. This is what nature intended. His brain, stomach and self will thank you one day.

You've got this. I promise ;)

Disclaimer: As a lactation counselor we are constantly given research based knowledge and are always encouraged, when helping moms during their breastfeeding journey, to ask questions. If you feel you are having supply issues or latch issues, reach out to a breastfeeding professional. We know the questions to ask and the latest information/research to help you in this journey!