What Every Pregnant Woman Needs To Know About Breastfeeding
Whilst many pregnant mothers are quite detailed and meticulous when it comes to planning their birth, many don’t realise that it’s just the beginning. It’s a bit like planning for a wedding and forgetting that you’ll actually be married at the end of it.
One of the things you could do with knowing a little bit about in advance is breastfeeding. If you plan to breastfeed, then it’s a good idea to actually PLAN to breastfeed.
Here are a few things to consider in your postpartum plan. Here’s what I wish every pregnant woman knew about breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Takes A Village
The word doula was coined by the late and great Dr Dana Raphael for breastfeeding support person, a role she saw in many traditional cultures, but that was lacking in her own experience of motherhood. She says:
“I don't know of any other biological process that needs the culture to supply support. In the case of breastfeeding, the woman had to have another person present and supportive so the let-down reflex would work.”
So who is in your village? Who can you count on to support you through the transition to motherhood? Hint: you’ll probably need more people than you realise!
Breastfeeding Is A Learned Skill
Although breastfeeding is natural, it’s still a learned skill.
Just like learning to ride a bike, it takes time, practise and patience.
But unlike the more masculine skills you have learned in your life, it’s less about books and experts and systems, and more about intuition and connection and support.
Many mothers have been taught routines or systems that actually sabotage supply and demand, and sometimes some unlearning is needed too!
Breastfeeding Takes Time
Many mothers simply underestimate the time it takes to breastfeed, and need more help than they’d realised with other responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. It can take around eight hours a day during the early weeks and there’s nothing wrong with your milk supply or your baby, it’s normal to be a milk machine around the clock.
After around 6-8 weeks when your milk supply is established it will become a lot less time-consuming.
So get the help you need, and hang in there. It gets much easier and less time-consuming the longer you breastfeed for!
What else do you need to include in your postpartum plan?