I always intended to breastfeed. After all, "breast is best," or at least that's what everyone said. Unfortunately, despite my planning, research, classes, and professional help, my body didn't get the memo. Between exhaustion, undersupply, and postpartum depression, I really struggled to breastfeed and I was shocked. No one I knew admitted to having any problems nursing, so I felt like a failure. That's why I want to set the record straight and share a few things every mom struggling to breastfeed wants pregnant women to know.
If you are looking for a beautiful story of breastfeeding bliss, this is not that story. I don't believe in sugar-coating the difficult task that is breastfeeding, by describing it as some magical, effortless, and natural thing. For lots of people, including me, nursing isn't easy and it doesn't come naturally. After my first baby was born, I had no idea that I would not be able to produce enough breast milk. I thought breastfeeding was an all or nothing, too, and ultimately switched to formula because I thought I didn't have a choice. After my second baby was born I was able to get real, compassionate, evidence-based breastfeeding help, ditch unrealistic advice, discover what did work for me and my baby, and redefine my goals. Hearing the truth about breastfeeding made all that possible.
I definitely don't want to discourage anyone from giving breastfeeding a try. Quite the opposite, actually. If nursing is your goal, I totally support you and will do anything I can to help you reach it. However, if you try to breastfeed and struggle with pain, undersupply, latch, or your baby getting enough to eat, I want you to know you aren't alone. You deserve to know the truth and to receive unbiased support. So with that in mind, here's what every mom struggling to breastfeed wan't pregnant women who are preparing to birth and feed their child, to know: