Any way you choose to feed your baby is a loving act. If you decide breastfeeding is the right choice for you and your baby, connecting with other moms, friends and experts who have first-hand experience with breastfeeding can be key to your own success– and often sanity!
Breastfeeding is a new skill– some moms will get the hang of it on the first day, and for others it may take more time. Think about the last time you tried something new. It probably took some time to feel confident. Remember, your baby is learning too.
AAMC asked local moms to offer words of wisdom from their own breastfeeding experience. Many moms shared similar thoughts such as:
- It can be awkward or difficult at first, but it gets easier.
- Use knowledgeable resources.
- Talk to other moms for advice and support.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Believe in yourself!
Here’s more encouragement for moms, from moms:
- Breastfeeding is hard work and commitment, but completely worth it! Stick to it and you’ll be surprised at just how far you and your little one will come. Things start clicking around six weeks and you’ll be glad you pushed through. – Amy, Pasadena
- Just try it. It is not for everyone, but from someone who was about as anti-breastfeeding as they come prior to having my baby, my advice is to just try it– you might just surprise yourself. I did. – Casey, Severna Park
Enjoy it, because it goes by really fast. You think you’ll have a baby tied to the boob forever, but suddenly your toddler doesn’t have time for you anymore. Breastfeeding became a really big part of my life. It’s a cool club to be in and I’ve met some amazing, supportive women along the way. – Marisa, Annapolis
- It may not be beautiful bonding instantly. It takes time for you and baby to get the hang of it. I remember about two months in finally having the moment where I was like, ‘ohhh I love this!’ Also, even when you’re doing everything right, your body is adjusting and it can be uncomfortable. But it gets better! – Jemma, Gambrills
- There is a lot of advice out there– how often the baby should eat, how many ounces, how many minutes, what mom should and shouldn’t eat– it’s enough to drive a new mother crazy. Every baby is different. Relax, follow your instincts and best judgment, and don’t expect perfection from yourself or anyone else. – Whitney, Severna Park
It’s overwhelming until you get the hang of it, but it’s all worth it. Breastfeeding is so special and rewarding. I’m glad I stuck it out. The support of friends and my pediatrician was so important, especially in the first few weeks! – Alexandra, Annapolis
- Nursing doesn’t work out for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still provide your baby with the benefits of breast milk. Exclusively pumping is an option you should read about and consider. – Katie, Davidsonville
- After an emergency c-section, my body was under so much stress it took longer for my milk to come in. I put pressure on myself, thinking the harder I tried, the faster my milk would come in. The pressure I put on myself ended up working against me. I wish I’d known it can take time for your milk supply to regulate to your baby’s needs. Redefining my vision of success to focus on the things that mattered– my baby was healthy and gaining weight and we were bonding– is what ultimately drove me to stick with breastfeeding, and I’m so happy I did. – Bridget, Annapolis
Breastfeeding is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. When it feels like you can’t do it anymore set a small goal, like a day, and then another day. Use small goals as long as you can to help you reach your bigger goals. – Katy, Pasadena
- I worried about others judging me if I chose to breastfeed in public, so I refrained for a while. I wish I knew the vast majority of people I have encountered are supportive, or at the very least don’t give any indication that they’re bothered by it. You will hear advice from everyone. Go with what works best for you and your family. – Jen, Centreville
- If you have to supplement with formula, it isn’t the end of the world. Any amount of breast milk you can give your baby for as long as you can is better than none at all! – Brooke, Crofton
For something so “natural,” it may not feel that way at first. You and your baby have the instincts to build a nursing bond but it takes work and patience. Stick to it, it gets so much easier and then becomes amazing! – Diana, Crofton (pictured with baby Josephine above)
- Take a class with your support person. My husband was my biggest help! When we first got home from the hospital I was so tired I couldn’t remember anything from the class. He remembered so many tips and tricks. He set up a nursing station for me with drinks, snacks, blankets and a remote so I could be as comfortable as possible. I was ready to quit at the two week mark, and he asked me to check out the AAMC support group first. Attending the support group that day changed everything for us. I ended up nursing my first son for 11 months! We never set a goal of how long to breastfeed but just told ourselves we would do it until we were ready to stop. – Heather, Annapolis
If you’d like more encouragement, advice or have questions for other moms, join AAMC Smart Parents on Facebook.