Support and mother wisdom has diminished. Although it is slowly making a comeback, many mothers experience difficulties with breastfeeding or learning curves that lead to women reaching for formula, even though it is recommended as a last resort.
As someone who has experienced her fair share of learning curves with two babies, even though I was educated in lactation, I can tell you there is a light at the end of the tunnel and wonderful support in our community.
My son, born in 2009, had a great latch but a horrible milk transfer, so he worked harder to get the milk he needed, which meant a lot of time at the breast. It felt like I lived in a chair with this little baby boy attached to my breast. I felt trapped and overwhelmed.
My midwives sympathized with me, but kept telling me how wonderful he was growing and that eventually he would space those feedings out. This went on for months.
I contacted friends who breastfed, and they told me to enjoy it because there would come a time when I would miss this special bonding time that I could only have with him.
They were right. I nursed him for 21 months.
With my daughter, born early this year, I experienced terrible pain due to her poor latch. She ended up scarring one of my nipples and we experienced months of yeast and thrush.
I spent days crying and dreading nursing. However, I knew how important breastfeeding was and the risks of using formula.
With help and support from my wonderful midwives and the nurses at the breastfeeding clinic, I persevered. I am still nursing almost seven months later and plan on doing so for quite some time.
Most women will experience some sort of learning curve. Breastfeeding is natural, but baby and mom still need to learn how to do it.
There is plenty of help out there — from other mothers, breastfeeding support groups, breastfeeding clinics and midwives. Before giving up, get help. It is worth it in the end.