Breastfeeding Challenges for a New Mom
During my pregnancy, I’d watched so many online video tutorials on how to breastfeed. Never mind going to an actual breastfeeding class when I can just search Google for what I need to learn. There was no way I could get this wrong. All I had to do was get my baby to latch on, right? Easy enough. But in reality, I was so naïve to the real challenges breastfeeding would present.
The first week was rough. Under the advice of my midwife, my child almost starved. At the hospital, no one made sure he was properly latching on. I was under the impression my baby was eating enough to get full and going back to sleep the way newborns do. When I was leaving the hospital, the midwife told me 1) not to pump my breasts and 2) formula would be my worst enemy. As a result, my baby was so cranky and my breasts became very engorged. I had a fever and it took days before my breasts went back down.
Two days fresh out of the hospital, I had to take my baby to a lactation consultant who advised me to put hot compresses on my breasts to help release the milk. The consultant also tried several techniques to get my baby to latch on. But he was so irritated and not very friendly to my nipples. This all could have been avoided. At that moment, as a new mother, my instincts kicked in. And I learned how to simply trust them when making parenting decisions.
Fast-forward two months. I've been alternating between breast milk and formula. My milk flow is nowhere near as abundant as it was in the beginning. Stress is definitely a recurring factor. Relaxation techniques – such as yoga and back massages – help release some tension. I also drink medicinal nursing tea and eat well as often as possible. With the benefits of breastfeeding outweighing my struggles, I’m determined to keep the flow going.