Monday, March 28, 2011

Early Breastfeeding Obstacles Part 7: Confidence

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I knew I was going to breastfeed. But I still bought formula just in case. What if I didn't make milk? What if I couldn't figure it out? What if...what if...what if...

Confidence. That word is a part of our lives as women. When we walk into a room and there is another woman who is skinnier, or blonder, or has straighter teeth, how do we feel? Our confidence drops a few points...or many points, perhaps. When we start a new job or a new hobby or join a new play group. Anything new or different affects our confidence, so of course breastfeeding would have the same affect, especially on new moms!

As new moms, most of us intend on breastfeeding. We have every intention of giving what we know is the best thing for babies to our baby. Then we have our baby and we're in the hospital and they give us the new breastfeeding mothers package with that cute little reusable bag....and formula. Wait a second. Why did they give me formula, you think to yourself. I plan on breastfeeding my baby! If you're brave enough to ask, they tell you it's just in case. If you're even braver and say you don't need it, they tell you to take it because it's free. The second a new mom runs into any issues with breastfeeding, most doctors and nurses will push formula on them. You get home and it's day 5. Your mother in law is over and your baby wants to eat for the third time that hour. She tells you that you must not be making enough milk and you'd better give that baby some formula or s/he'll starve (see Cluster Feeding and Growth Spurts). You open your mail and you're overwhelmed with formula samples. We are set up to fail from the beginning due to "well meaning" family members and the formula companies who seem to be EVERYWHERE. All kinds of hurdles present themselves in your path and it can really shake a new moms confidence.

It's important to stay focused. Find yourself a support group, online or local. La Leche League meetings are great for support. Arm yourself with information and facts and present them to "well meaning" family members and doctors when they try to push formula on you. Heck, let them know ahead of time that you don't want to hear it! And always remember what we and countless other breastfeeding resources will continuously repeat over and over again: if baby is having wet diapers and gaining well, baby is just fine and getting enough to eat!!!

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