It's well established that breastfeeding is difficult for many women. Breastfeeding attrition is a serious problem, especially here in the United States. Given the incredible benefits of breastfeeding, how do we keep new mothers from burning out? Support is key, and it should be emotional as much as it is practical. If you're a mom struggling to nurse your baby, I have some thoughts for you to get you through the hardest breastfeeding moments.
My own mom exclusively breastfed both me and my brother. We never even had a bottle, but went straight from boob to cup. I wanted this for my own child and assumed it wouldn't be a problem. I was so wrong. My baby wouldn't latch without a nipple shield, pumping was unproductive, and the doctor insisted on supplementing with formula right away. It was enough to make me want to give up altogether, but I continued to plug away at it and was able to breastfeed for seven months.
The best advice I can give breastfeeding moms is advice I'd be smart to take myself: don't be so hard on yourself. (And maybe start singing "Don't Cry" by Seal, to yourself, on a pretty regular basis.) But for real. What you're doing is hard, wonderful work. When you're at your worst, try to remember the following: