Breastfeeding is supposed to be comfortable and pleasant. However, when it’s not, you might find yourself feeling as though you can’t continue, even though it is something you really want to do.
Despite the myths floating around, any pain you may be experiencing should be very fleeting and should be disappearing not getting worse. Everyone experiences pain differently, but if you are dreading breastfeeding, then that might be a good time to call for an appointment.
Breastfeeding is a learned skill
The most common question I get is, “if breastfeeding is supposed to be so natural, why am I having such a hard time?”
Babies are born wanting to breastfeed, and mothers give birth wanting to love, nourish and protect their babies. But, while our bodies automatically make milk during and after we deliver our babies, breastfeeding, like using a computer or cooking, is something that we learn by watching others. Similarly, being comfortable both physically and emotionally with breastfeeding is something that we absorb from our culture. The fact is, we live in a bottle-feeding culture. Most movies, TV shows, commercials, and other media expose us to bottle-feeding as the norm, so breastfeeding may feel very foreign to you.
How many women have you seen breastfeed in public and how often? If all women felt comfortable feeding their babies in public (breastfeeding, that is), breastfeeding would be second nature to most of us. We would feel comfortable knowing how to hold our babies and how to deal with problems. We would not feel self-conscious breastfeeding in public or made to feel indecent. We would also understand that our breasts are an organ system whose physiological purpose is to feed our babies, just as our heart’s purpose is to pump blood and carry oxygen throughout our body.
Although newborns are born knowing how to breastfeed, there are circumstances which may interfere with the newborn’s innate instinct to do so. Poor information, mother & baby’s birth experiences, hospital routines, separation after birth, or medical or anatomical issues, can result in problems that may necessitate the assistance of a trained specialist. If you find that you are having difficulties that are not resolving, it might be time to contact an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).