Breastfeeding Is A Learning Process

You know that Facebook has this “memories” feature? I have turned it off, because I never like to look back, also because those memories often just embarrass me.

For example, recently I accidentally tapped “memories” and saw a post I wrote ten years ago, worrying that I didn’t have enough milk for my then 2-month-old. The reason? Because my baby has been crying for milk every two hours, while my friend’s formula-fed baby only needed to be fed every four hours.  

Fast forward 10 years to the present, I know that it’s totally normal for breastfed babies to eat more frequently because breast milk is easier to digest, not because I didn’t have enough milk. And I just can’t believe that I, a health reporter and a former board member of the US Breastfeeding Committee, once seriously considered switching from breast milk to infant formula!

As embarrassed as I am, I decided to share the experience here because it’s important for new parents to understand that while breastfeeding is natural, it is a learned skill for both mother and baby.

And this is what I want to tell the 10-year-ago me and today’s new moms.

First, although breastfeeding is a natural process, it’s normal to feel awkward, even difficult at first. Please be prepared to practice and have patience.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Breastfeeding classes can help you learn the basics and avoid many common problems, and prevent you from falling into formula commercial traps. A certified breastfeeding consultant is also helpful to help you prepare for a successful breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeeding is a lot of work, but the benefits are worth it. After the first two to three weeks, you will find that breastfeeding becomes much easier and enjoyable.

Finally, be easy on yourself. Treat yourself as you would a friend in times of feeling hard, with more understanding and kindness. It doesn’t mean you have to give up, but to understand to err is human. You can even relactate your baby even if you didn’t get off to a good start with breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding may be harder than you think, but trust me, your body is also more capable than you think. Enjoy the learning process, mamas!

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