7 Ways To Manage Your Thoughts & Expectationswhen Breastfeeding Isn't Going Well...
Managing your thoughts and expectations when breastfeeding is not going well
We set our standards so high – especially as a mother – and then struggle if we can’t reach them all.
Whereas what we really need is to practice more self-care, and in doing so have more time to enjoy caring for our babies.
Self-care is described as protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress; and trying to breastfeed can be particularly stressful.
“Breast is best” is the catch cry, and a million articles, blogs and social media posts of babies at the breast make it very difficult for a woman to find confidence if she is struggling with breastfeeding.
It is portrayed as easy, simple and natural; and for some women it is. If, however it is an ongoing struggle for you and your baby, please understand you are not alone.
Breastfeeding doesn’t always work for everyone, and mums who bottle feed shouldn’t be hard on themselves or feel they need to explain why they aren’t breastfeeding. It is so important to understand that it is NEVER the mother’s fault when breastfeeding is not working.
Many things make breastfeeding difficult – sore nipples, not enough milk supply, illness, stress, medications or many other factors that are often out of your control. It is important to reach out for help as there are breastfeeding challenges that can be overcome.
Of course, in an ideal world there would be no need for formula and bottles, but we live in a world where things are not perfect.
So, if you find yourself exhausted from pumping, trying to combine breast and bottle, or exclusively bottle feeding your baby, here are some tips on how to nurture your baby and yourself during feed times:
- Babies spend a lot of time feeding, so when you’re using a bottle to feed your baby, the time spent together is still so valuable and enriching.
- Maintaining skin-to-skin contact is important as it helps to increase levels of oxytocin, the “love” hormone, in parent and baby bonding. You could bath with your baby or take your top off while snuggling your baby close.
- Also, the natural smell of your skin is one of the ways your baby knows you, and during feeding it relaxes them and helps their little tummies with digestion.
- Eye contact and love looks will also release the love hormone (oxytocin) between the two of you. Try and keep your face close because babies have limited focus range for a while (eight to ten inches) while you cuddle and feed
- Chat, sing, coo and baby talk – the sound of your voice is music to little ears, and your smile is another way of strengthening your bond.
- Laughing and enjoying being with your baby will automatically lift your spirits and help to strengthen the bond even further.
- Being able to share the feeding responsibilities with other family members means that you can take a little time to recharge your batteries. While dad or a grandparent enjoys the closeness with bub you can slip away and take some much needed time to yourself.
Finally – if you don’t remember a single word of what is written here, all you really need to know is that you will still bond with your baby even if you are exclusively bottle feeding. With a full tummy and loving arms wrapped around them, babies will feel warm, safe and loved, and that is all that matters really.
Do you have breastfeeding concerns? Click here to see how Wendy can help you