We don’t often talk about Breastfeeding and Stress.
We read how it is good for the baby. Also, It’s good for the mother. It’s natural. This is what Mother Nature intended. How can it be stressful?
Really, it is easy…no pressure. No stress.
Breastfeeding and Stress
I thought getting pregnant was stressful. It never occurred to me that breastfeeding and stress would be so hard to deal with.
Feeding my baby was even more stressful than getting pregnant. Here was this healthy little boy, weighing in at over 8 1/2 lbs and I loved nursing him. But it was very clear after 2 weeks that he was starving and as a new mom, I was horrified. Deemed a ‘failure to thrive’ baby. He was so hungry that he could barely keep awake. I wasn’t producing enough milk to nourish my own child.
I tried everything with the help of my doctor and a lactation consultant. Nothing was working. I was taking medications, drinking beer (totally disgusting), tube feeding and pumping. My body wasn’t producing enough to cover the bottom of the bottle. At this point I thought I was a failure. My dad, who was a dairy farmer, said later that if I had been one of his milking cows, I would have been turned to steak. Humourous now…certainly not then.
I cried and cried. As soon as someone would ask me about my darling little boy, I would cry some more. I was sleep deprived. It took almost 1 hour and 40 minutes to feed him and pump. I had 20 minutes to clean up, stretch and take care of myself before I had to start the process all over again.
By 6 weeks it was clear that this wasn’t going to change and I ‘gave in’ and formula fed my son. I now look at this tall, athletic, muscular boy and it is hard to believe the start we had together. He is healthy and that is the ultimate goal.
Breastfeeding is a healthy choice
But the pressure to nurse your child should never be so great that it makes a mother feel like a failure if they can’t make it happen. I hear a lot of stories of women who say that they couldn’t nurse. Many didn’t have good information on how to overcome difficulties or didn’t know that there was help available to them. Had they had it, maybe they would have been able to nurse their child as they had originally wanted to.
Breastfeeding and Stress. Sometimes, even with all the support and devices it is just not possible. Click to tweet
Thankfully today we have formula that can be a healthy substitute and our children can still grow up to be healthy and happy.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Building Resiliency and Celebrating International Breastfeeding Awareness Month:
- Nursing a baby is natural. Help moms to feel comfortable when they are when it comes to feeding their child.
- Don’t assume that a parent who is bottle-feeding is doing so by choice. Be supportive of all of the options that are available to parents.
- If you are expecting a baby or if you have a newborn, reach out to your doctor or a lactation consultant and understand what to look for when it comes to feeding difficulties.
- Rely on the people around you for support and help when it comes to feeding your child. It is okay to ask for help.
And finally, Supermom status is a lousy goal and impossible to reach. If we could all learn this early on it really would save us a tonne of stress.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!