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I nursed my first baby for three years. And I am nearing the two year mark with number two.
But many women who want to breastfeed do not succeed.
Because they do not equip themselves for success.
Here are 10 ways to plan for breastfeeding success today. Before your baby arrives.
Why Many Women Stop Before They Start
Yes, some face unexpected setbacks based on the health of either mother or child.
But often a new mom does not slide into feeding her baby quite as smoothly as she expected.
And when that happens she might give up.
And, with only the best intentions, those closest to her may even encourage her to do so, telling her not to worry, that there wasn’t anything she could have done about it, and that it’s not her fault.
But did you know that there are women who blame themselves for throwing in the towel for years afterward?
5 Breastfeeding Tips That Set You Up For Success
By equipping yourself with the resources to succeed, you may stand the best chance of reaching your breastfeeding goal, whether it’s two months or two years.
1. Know Your Reason
Breastfeeding is hard, Mama!
No matter how naturally it comes, there will be times when being another human’s food source will feel overwhelming.
Decide before your baby even arrives why breastfeeding is important to you.
Do you think that it will help you bond with your child?
Have you heard that there are benefits to your health and breast cancer risk?
Or do you just like the idea of always having baby’s food supply with you wherever you go?
And write that reason down and refer to it when the going gets tough.
Remembering why you made the decision to nurse can go a long way toward keeping you committed.
2. Commit To A Time Frame
Decide what the minimum length of time is that you intend to breastfeed.
And then tell those close to you.
Your husband, best friend, mother and even older kids.
It’s okay to start small and make a longer commitment after reaching your first goal.
In fact, reaching smaller goals may eliminate overwhelm and feel more manageable in the beginning.
Commit to 3 months, for example, and when you reach that milestone go ahead and add another 3, 6 or even 12 months as your confidence allows.
3. Plan To Stay Home As Long As Possible
Begin planning with family members and your employer as early in your pregnancy as possible to maximize the amount of time you will have to stay with your baby.
The longer you have to establish a breastfeeding relationship and routine, the easier it may prove to continue nursing once you do begin spending time apart from your little one.
Explore every option, even those that you think are unlikely, to keep the two of you together.
Perhaps your employer has an onsite daycare that will enable you to keep up your nursing schedule.
Maybe your boss will consider allowing you to work from home or bring your child to work with you.
Finally, if yours is a dual-income family, consider whether there are expenses you may be able to cut that may make it possible for you to stop working or take an extended leave of absence.
4. Find An Accountability Partner
Ask a trusted friend or relative to be your breastfeeding accountability partner.
This should be someone who is supportive of your breastfeeding goals and agrees to remind you of them and encourage you when the going gets tough.
Then, when the going does in fact get tough, don’t Google worst case scenarios or hole yourself up in the bathroom for a cry fest.
Instead, call your accountability partner.
Having someone ready to listen to you and remind you of how awesome and capable you are when you need it the most may be all that you need to believe that this too shall pass.
Just make sure that this is someone who will be kind in your time of weakness.
And not someone who will make you feel like a failure for having doubts.
5. Tune Out Negativity
With the exception of advice from your physician and, perhaps, your husband, do your best to filter out any discouraging talk about breastfeeding.
It is no one else’s beeswax why, how or when you feed your baby.
In-laws, grandparents and even close girlfriends may each offer an opinion on your choice to nurse your baby.
If any of these contradict what you have decided is best for your family, politely ask the offender to keep her opinion to herself.
If she doesn’t honor your request, don’t be afraid to take some space from that relationship until you feel confident enough to tune out the nay-saying.
You don’t need to burn bridges, especially at a time when your hormones may play more into your decisions than you would like.
Instead, take a step back, and make yourself too busy to be too invested in that relationship until you have gained confidence in breastfeeding.
So there you have it!
Here’s the simple truth.
Many women who wholeheartedly want to nurse become discouraged because they just are not prepared for the breadth of the commitment that it takes.
The 5 breastfeeding tips that I have shared can give many of those women a better chance at successfully reaching the breastfeeding goals they set by equipping them for success before they are in the throes of new motherhood.
What about you, mama?
What tips have others shared that you plan to use?
Or what did you learn about breastfeeding through your own experience that might help others?