Oh, breastfeeding. You are so wonderful and so . . . HARD. Those first weeks of breastfeeding are just so raw with such a steep learning curve. Time and time again, I talk with moms who struggled to adjust to breastfeeding and felt guilty for their struggle. I was so there, and now I’m here to tell you these are normal feelings during your first month of breastfeeding. I feel your pain and am sending you a virtual hug right now.
4 Common Feelings During Your First Month of Breastfeeding
Here are a few feelings I experienced during my first few breastfeeding weeks.
Not only does it sometimes take some painful attempts before you and baby figure out how to establish a good latch (my babies all chomped on me instead of sucking when they were first born – can we all collectively say OUCH!), but then just as you both get the hang of getting a great latch, your milk comes in. Your boobs are hard as rocks and hurt like crazy. Plus, you just pushed a baby out of your body or are healing from major surgery. And as much as you desperately want to sleep, you can’t because you are solely responsible for feeding a little person around the clock. I’m pretty sure you are 100% allowed to feel overwhelmed.
The best advice I can give you is to focus on caring for yourself and your baby. Let other people take care of everything else for those first few weeks. You’ve got this, Mama. And yes, you are SuperMom, but please do whatever you need to ensure you spend most of those first days in bed or on the couch. Give yourself time and space to heal. And over the next few weeks, you and baby will settle into a rhythm, and things will feel easier. I promise.
There are so many new things to try to understand when you start breastfeeding. With you being new to this and your baby being new to this too, let’s face it: breastfeeding is flat-out confusing in the beginning weeks. I’ve often asked myself, why won’t my baby stay latched on? Am I doing this right? How do I hold baby and nurse comfortably?
I want you to know that you will work through all of these confusing first weeks, and before you know it, you and your baby will be breastfeeding pros. Also, please know there are tons of professionals out there who are available to help answer your questions. If you are having trouble and feeling confused, find an international board-certified lactation consultant to help answer your questions.
It is normal to be concerned that baby is not getting enough milk or to feel anxious about not being able to provide enough for baby. I’m on my third baby and worry about it every time. Logically, I know that baby is getting enough, but I still worry. It’s just what we Mama’s do. Your pediatrician or lactation consultant can help alleviate these concerns, or if there are any challenges, like a lip tie or a tongue tie, they can help recognize them and guide you on how to correct it. They can also give you some good pointers on how to know if baby is getting enough.
As if there weren’t enough crazy emotions going on inside of us, we start feeling guilty for all the other feelings. All I can say here is, take a deep breath, Mama. It is okay to cry. It is okay not to have it all figured out. You are a great mom. You are strong. You’re giving your all. Baby will be okay. And so will you!
I know you love your little one more than life itself. And that you would give her the world if you could. I know there are times when you are just flat-out exhausted and overwhelmed. And the beautiful thing is that the struggle does not mean you love your little one any less. It just means you are on this beautiful, messy, incredible, emotional journey we call motherhood. Know that it will get easier for both you and your baby. And in the meantime, please know that these normal feelings are valid and common.