I think I am probably not alone when I say that I found breastfeeding my first baby very challenging. I had no idea what I was doing and to be honest Olivia wasn’t very good at it either! It was a foreign concept to both of us. I was so close to giving up on quite a few occasions but in the end I was very glad I persevered and ended up successfully breastfeeding her until she was 9 months old. As a first time mum struggling with breastfeeding I think the reason I kept going was because I asked for help in the form of a lactation consultant as well as my local Maternal Child Health Nurse. Plus I realised that if I had to supplement my breastfeeding with a bottle of formula it wasn’t the end of the world, and didn’t mean that I had failed at breastfeeding or was a bad mum, I was simply doing what was best for my baby.
So for other mums out there struggling here are my top reasons for ploughing on and continuing to breast feed:
- It’s free. It can become quite expensive if you have to formula feed.
- It’s convenient. I didn’t have to stuff around with bottles all the time, plus if you were out and found your baby needed a feed, it was always possible.
- It does get easier. The first six weeks are probably the hardest but once you both get the hang of it, it becomes very natural.
- It forces you to sit down and take a break. Especially in the first few weeks where sleep is scarce it is nice to sit down, relax, and cuddle your baby while you feed.
- Breast milk is all your baby needs for the first six months of their life, plus it helps them to fight infection.
- Last but definitely not least, it helps you to lose weight. I was really surprised at how easily and quickly I lost a fair amount of baby weight, unfortunately not all of it though!