One of the most important things that every mother needs in order to be successful in breastfeeding, other than a hungry baby, is support. I really believe that this is crucial to nursing successfully.
First, let me just preface what I believe successful breastfeeding to be... nursing confidently and comfortably for as long as mama, baby and mother nature allow.
I knew long before I was pregnant that should I become a mom someday I wanted to breastfeed. Little did I truly know about the process. And it is a process! As time goes along, both mama and baby learn how to nurse and how to be a good nursling. I'd like to emphasize that while the first few days and, sometimes, weeks can be difficult-- your hormones are going bezurk, you're on an emotional roller coaster, your body seems incredibly foreign and all you want to do is SLEEP-- breastfeeding DOES get easier. And while some people may not think so- there will come a time when breastfeeding is consistently enjoyable! For me personally, the first month was difficult. While Bryce latched on from the get-go, he didn't always do so properly. Unless you've experienced it, you can't even begin to imagine the pain caused by a baby's lower lip tucked in his mouth while sucking on an engorged breast!
I am extremely thankful for my two lactation consultants and the wonderful support group that I have had from the start. Nearly every Monday for the first seven months I attended a breastfeeding support group at the hospital where I delivered. It was a very comfortable and welcoming environment. A place where moms could bare not only their chests. but their souls too. We shared common beliefs surrounding the life-sustaining nourishment that is breast milk! My lactation consultants are awesome women who I care deeply for. One night I thought I ran out of milk (not possible- but I was naive) so I frantically left a message one of the consultant's vm. Even though it was long after her normal work hours, nearly 10:00 pm, she called me back right away. Not because it was an emergency, but because she knew that I needed some support and encouragement!
If you are pregnant and plan to nurse, or currently nursing, I encourage you to find a local breastfeeding support group and/or area lactation consultants. If you don't have those resources in your area, ask a friend or family member who has breastfed their children to be your bosom buddy. Whatever it takes... seek counsel from those who have had success in breastfeeding!
Whenever I meet someone who breastfeeds, and especially new moms I try to encourage them. A few kind words can go a long way to build confidence and offer reassurance to nursing moms (and dads).
Breastfeeding is wonderful!