Just because breastfeeding is natural doesn't mean it comes naturally to all new moms (if only!). The reality is that breastfeeding—especially in the early days—can be downright frustrating. Here are some of the challenges of breastfeeding:
- Fatigue and Stress. Right after giving birth, you may feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or even depressed and anxious. If your baby doesn't latch on right away, don't panic. Things will get easier—we promise!
- Lack of Support. Everyone says "breast is best," but you'd be surprised how many people (sometimes nurses, doctors, or well-meaning relatives—including your hubby!) pressure you to bottle feed. Be prepared for lots of conflicting (and confusing) advice!
- Engorgement. Don't be surprised if your boobs swell up like watermelons and become quite painful—that's called engorgement. Take warm showers, nurse your baby as much as possible and express milk.
- Low Milk Supply. It's possible to have a low milk supply, but not very common. Drink a lot of water to help with your supply—and nurse frequently. That helps too!
- Cracked, bleeding nipples. If it took you a while to get the proper latch, your nipples might feel awfully irritated and raw. To help ease the pain, vary your nursing position. And apply lanolin. If you're really desperate, you may need a nipple shield. And if your nipples continue to hurt, see your doctor. You don't want to get mastitis, an infection of the breast.
The truth is that it's worth the effort. Not only is breastfeeding good for you and your baby, when it works right, it's a pretty amazing experience!