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Breastfeeding: it’s normal to not feel normal

Posted by Reena Murray on
Breastfeeding: it’s normal to not feel normal

We’ve all seen the idyllic pictures on social media of smiling mums feeding their gorgeous newborn babies - but pictures are rarely shown of the mum who is googling breastfeeding tips at 2 am, struggling with a little one that just won’t feed.

It’s normal to assume that breastfeeding will come naturally after the hard work of pregnancy and labour, but remember, your baby is experiencing a world of sensations for the very first time and learning to feed is just one of them. Whilst the inclination and desire to feed is innate, the execution can sometimes leave mums asking ‘How can something so normal be so hard?’

Here are five comments about breastfeeding that I commonly hear as a Lactation
Consultant:

 1. “It hurts”

Whilst our breasts are designed to feed our babies, in the beginning it often hurts; the almost round-the-clock feeding can leave your once untouched nipples sore. Poor latch, long feeds and tongue-tie can lead to cracks, bleeding or infection (thrush and/or mastitis) and make this new experience a more painful one.

2. “It’s hard”

Like any new skill, breastfeeding takes time to master. It requires both mum and baby working together in unison. Occasionally, it works perfectly without any intervention but often it does not, and that is normal!

3. “It takes forever”

It really does! Especially in the first few weeks, you can feel like your baby is strapped to your breasts 24/7. However, if this persists it can be a sign that things are not working as well as possible.

4. “It’s messy”

It is, especially in the early days. Your breasts leak and you now wear pads for your breasts (bet you never thought you’d be doing that prior to pregnancy!). 

5. "It’s stressful”

It sure is. You are recovering from birth, sleep-deprived, trying to bond with and feed your baby - it is hard work, many would say the hardest job of all!

Have you uttered these phrases? If so, you’re not alone. Recent studies have found that only 15% of Mums in Australia are still exclusively breastfeeding their babies at 5 months of age. 

Help is available. Lactation consultants can assist you and your baby to find comfort and happiness as you experience one of life’s great moments.

As a mum of two, I know how beautiful and difficult the breastfeeding journey can be. You don’t have to miss out on the happiness & joy of parenthood. I'm here to educate and empower you to raise your child with confidence and ease.

 Dr Reena

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