When Breastfeeding Is a Struggle

“Babies should be breastfed for at least one year.”

“Breastfed babies are healthier than babies who are given bottles.”

“Breastfeeding is natural.”

You may have heard these and similar messages from medical organizations, friends, mom’s groups and family, but none of that means that breastfeeding is going to be easy. Naturally, some new moms find their groove right away, but just as many struggle with latching, nipple pain, milk production, mastitis and more.

“If you are finding that breastfeeding is more of a battle and less of a joy, know that you are not alone,” said Dr. Jewelia Wagner. “Most women have issues with breastfeeding at some point, but that doesn’t mean you should just give up or beat yourself up about it.”

The following hints may help as you do your best to feed your baby:

  • Schedule a visit with a lactation consultant. A lactation consultant can be your best friend when it comes to breastfeeding. They can help you find the correct latch, comfortable positioning, promote letdown and share other techniques to promote more productive and less painful breastfeeding. They can also listen and strategize when it comes to other issues you may be having.
  • Consider pumping more. If you are struggling with latching or distraction issues, you might turn more frequently to the breast pump. The downside is the time it takes to pump (and that noise), however, you have the benefit of knowing exactly how much breastmilk is available for your baby, and your baby may not have the challenge of transitioning to a bottle later on.
  • Put it in perspective. In a year, this may not seem funny, but it probably won’t seem like the most important thing in the world either. A fed baby is a happy baby, and if you need to switch to formula, your baby will be ok.

“Whether you are a first-time mom or this is your fourth child, those early days can be exhausting and overwhelming. Above all, be kind and compassionate to yourself and remember that you are doing the best you can for your baby,” Dr. Wagner added. “We are always here to listen and to help.”




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