When my partner and I brought home our son, breastfeeding was high on the list of things that caused challenges. In fact, though it’s been a couple years and my memory may be a bit shaky, I think it’s safe to say that it was my biggest struggle as a new mom. If other moms I’ve talked to are any indicator, I’m not alone. The mental pep talks I often gave myself were some next-level motivation, since that’s what it took to figure things out when it came to actually being able to breastfeed my son. There were some necessary mantras for women struggling with breastfeeding that I frequently repeated to myself.
Of course, I'm not saying endlessly repeated mantras were the only reason my son and I eventually became breastfeeding pros. I wish I could say that but, in the spirit of complete honesty and transparency, being able to breastfeed is much harder than simply mumbling a few inspirational sentences to yourself. Then again, I am convinced the following mantras didn't hurt, either. In the end, you do what you have to do, you warrior woman of a breastfeeding mom, you.
For the record, my experience is coming strictly from someone who struggled with breastfeeding but who opted, and was physically able, to stick with it. There are plenty of reasons why a mom struggling with breastfeeding would decide not to continue, or be unable to continue, and I want to make sure those moms know that I see them, too. However, for those who are able to keep on keeping on with breastfeeding, this list may come in handy:
"Just One More Feeding, Day, Week, Month…"
If you’re ever at the point where each feeding is a battle, I found that taking them one at a time was helpful when trying to maintain some necessary perspective. Or maybe, for you, it makes sense to take it one day, or week, or month at a time. Whatever works for you, of course. For me, it’s an especially nice tactic because the sense of relief that comes after you complete that one more feeding session, is a nice bonus.
"That’s One More Feeding I Will Never Have To Do Again"
Confession: I adopted this specific mantra from some profound and wildly helpful labor advice I once received (but don’t remember the origin of). That advice basically suggested to look at every contraction as one that you will never have to experience again. Of course, you’ll have different ones, but that one? Well, that one is in the record books. The same logic can be applied to breastfeeding, too.
"I Can Do This"
Sounds simple enough, right? This one can work wonders, especially when a couple deep breaths are added, too.
"It Won’t Be Like This Forever"
Much like pregnancy, the breastfeeding struggle can feel longer than it really is. It’s nice to remember that it will eventually pass. You know, like this election season.
"I Hear That I Might Even Miss This Someday"
To be fair, I didn’t think this would be possible. Now that I’m at the end of my breastfeeding journey, I've realized that it’s not the actual act of breastfeeding that I miss (I’m honestly pretty neutral about that). It’s the closeness and the routine bonding that I got to experience with my son. However, I try not to let it bother me too much since, now that he’s older, I get to find other ways to stay connected to him that are fulfilling in different ways (piggybacks, for example, are my new jam).
"Someday, My Baby Will Appreciate This"
At least, I like to think so. I’m already looking forward to the day I sit him down and say, “Do you have any idea what I went through, son?”
Just kidding. Sort of.
"I’m In Charge"
It’s easy to feel like the opposite is true when your entire world revolves around eight or so pounds of tears and spit-up. However, you are the adult. You are the parent. You are the one who’s technically calling the shots.
"This Is For Both Of Us"
At times, breastfeeding can feel like a sacrifice, but it’s helpful to remember that my baby isn’t the only one benefiting from the effort I’m putting in. I’m not sure if this is a mantra so much as a reality check that helps keep things in perspective, but it’s worth remembering.
"This is Worth It"
If it’s important to you, and if it’s worth it to you, don’t let that desire be overshadowed by the difficulties. More importantly, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
"Moo Moo Moo"
All that said, sometimes it helps to keep a sense of humor, right?