The NUMBER ONE question I get asked as a Lactation Consultant?
Breastfeeding is not always easy. Even as a Lactation Consultant with years of experience I required prescription nipple ointment for my sore nipples, experienced too many blocked ducts to count, endured five cases of mastitis and certainly questioned my supply during feeding marathons around growth spurts. Indeed, the early days of nursing with cabbage leaves in rotation and lactation teas on tap are a big blur.
In my Toronto-based practice I see mothers determined to move toward pain-free nursing, mothers working to protect or increase their milk supply and and mothers working hard to meet the breastfeeding goals they set out for themselves. Overwhelmingly the number one question I get asked as a Lactation Consultant is, “Is it this difficult for everyone!?”
The most important step in overcoming these difficulties is to find the right support. Found in some of the expected places (experienced lactation consultants, breastfeeding clinics, La Leche League meetings) or in a completely unexpected place (a mom at the park nodding her head in quiet encouragement as you nurse your infant), support will buoy a mother up and help navigate her way towards breastfeeding success.
Looking at the bigger picture also helps. Remembering that we breastfeed for the optimal health of not just our babies but ourselves is important. Benefits also extend beyond health into the emotional and intellectual realm. Breastfeeding helps prevent postpartum depression for mothers and helps increase IQ in babies!
To the new mother, dripping with postpartum hormones, dreading the moment her baby wakes due to the challenge of sore nipples and hoping baby gets enough, I want to address this question, “Is it this difficult for everyone?!”. I want to answer with a resounding, “It ain’t always easy but, WOW, sticking with it may bring you to the brink of the greatest joy and immerse you in the most meaningful relationship you may ever experience”.
And so here is why we persevere.
SO EASY! Breastfeeding gets so easy. No muss, no fuss! An open bra and off we go. Always the right temperature, the right composition and a delicious taste (more on that later)!
MAMA GETS A BREAK! – Sitting down to feed and allowing the cascade of peaceful hormones to flow over me was an incredible break. Time to slow down, be present and answer the call of motherhood.
BED-TIME IS A BREEZE – I will never forget the sight of my children’s eyes slowly rolling back, eyelids gently closing with each little suck at nap and bed-time. One of the reasons I continue to nurse into toddlerhood is these easy bed-times. Does it mean I always have to be around?…nope!. But it sure is easier when I am ☺
SWEET, LOVING GAZES – I will never forget the hours spent looking at tiny toes, little bellies, and big blue eyes (of course many a Netflix show was guzzled and I was very current on my facebook newsfeed ☺). And then, how those little hands caress one’s face and neck….pure joy!
SWEET SMELLS - Oh how sweet the smell of a breastfeeding baby’s poo! And their breath. The sweet, soft smell of a baby who has breastfed through the night is amazing. I will never forget that smell!
HILARIOUS! - If you nurse into toddlerhood there is a great joy in hearing what they call the nursing experience and in finding out what it actually tastes like! My girls both called breastfeeding, “Bom Bom” and when prompted my eldest told me it tasted like honey. The youngest said it tasted like chocolate! On the flip side when my older daughter quit feeding on my slower flowing left side at around 18 months when I asked why she told me it tasted like “pool water” and that it was a bit “spicy”! Yikes – sorry
BREASTFEEDING FASHION – Wouldn’t you know that there is an entire genre of clothing JUST for the nursing mother? Shirts, sweaters, cocktail dresses….I even have a jumpsuit! With brand names like BOOB and MILK you can’t go wrong!
There are so many more reasons I love breastfeeding but I’ll leave it there. Nurse on sweet mothers and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about your journey.
by Taya Griffin – Taya is a Mother, Lactation Consultant and Yoga and Pilates Instructor. She has a private practice in Toronto where she seems mothers prenatally to prepare them for breastfeeding and postnatally to help with any breastfeeding concerns they may have. Her goal is to assist mothers in reaching their own breastfeeding goals. She can be reached at www.tayagriffin.com.