I thought I'd like to share a bit of information everyday for the duration of this World Breastfeeding Week. I am very grateful for the GREAT theme that they chose! I have seen first-hand what a difference it can make to have a good support-structure in place, to help you and guide you when you don't know what else to do.
NOTHING could prepare me for breastfeeding! All I remember was making my husband promise me that he'll not allow me to stop breastfeeding before Linmari is 6 weeks old. The reason? Sometime, somewhere I read that it can take up to 6 weeks to establish a good breastfeeding routine. Thinus very nearly gave up on that promise when he realised just HOW painful breastfeeding was for me...at first. But I reminded him of his promise and he had renewed vigour to MAKE it work! I wanted what was best for my daugther and I knew I could give it to her.
Here are a few things that helped me to stick to my decision:
- My midwife (Karen van der Merwe) was a staunch advocate of breastfeeding, talking over possible reasons why I was experiencing such pain when Linmari was feeding and ways to overcome the pain / treat the pain. She also helped a lot with regards to possible positions to prevent Linmari from suffering too much at my hectically fast let-down.
- My doula (Melissa Jacobs) told me within the first few hours "NEVER accept a bad latch, Ronél. NEVER!" Very wise words from a very wise woman and Mama! Plus she followed-up on my breastfeeding 'career' to make sure I understood all the ins and outs of this game, understanding my struggles and encouraging me all the way.
- My mother (Petra Kahl), also a midwife, helped me with latching and possible positions. She's still such an amazing help and reminds me how wonderful it is that I could make it past six months and still breastfeed.
- My husband. Yes, he realised that even though this was painful, initially, and did not come so 'naturally' to me, it was what I wanted, what Linmari wanted, and what both of us needed. He supported me wholeheartedly in this decision and for THAT I cannot thank him enough!
- Knowing that financially it just made more sense to breastfeed - come ON! The stuff is FREE and for the taking. Who WOULDN'T want to take advantage of that situation?
- Amazing websites that taught me a lot that I had to know about things like expressing at work and exactly how to make expressing work for you - www.kellymom.com - Peeps, this is an AWESOME website! Go check it out!
- Inner motivation to wanting to offer my child the best that I had. Linmari did not cope well with solid food at 4 months (the new age at which solids are supposed to be introduced) and I realised it's FINE to exclusively breastfeed until 6 months. My child's body could handle other food so much better at 6 months!
- Friends at work!!! I have several friends at work who are also all about breastfeeding your child and expressing milk to ensure that baby gets the best. They really helped with the logistics of how you express at work, when you find the time and what you store the milk in. AWESOME peeps!
I suppose what I wanted to explain to you here is that it really is important to have good support from all those around you. And if you don't find support in your immediate surroundings, go LOOK for it on the internet. Seek it out at your local baby wellness clinic. Find yourself a lactation consultant! But good breastfeeding habits start with a good support system!
Happy breastfeeding, Mommies!