Isn't breastfeeding natural?
(Won't I know what to do automatically?)
Yes! Breastfeeding is most definitely natural! But that doesn't mean it is automatically successful without knowledge and effort. For a minority of mothers, breastfeeding is effortless and I hope that could be for you! But for the majority of mothers, breastfeeding may be just as challenging as birth itself. You may or may not be aware of this, but that stuff leaking out of your breasts is liquid gold. Breastmilk has innumerable benefits for your little one, including living components that can't be replicated in formula. Even if you are in the situation that you must supplement with formula, every drop of breastmilk is like medicine for your baby.
I would like to share with you a little about my own breastfeeding journey. Despite having done an expensive internet educational course before my first baby's birth, my experience breastfeeding my first baby was a struggle. It was excruciatingly painful and despite asking every midwife I could for help checking my latch while in the hospital, I was left with bleeding nipples and no clue as to why I was struggling so much. I had asked one midwife to check for tongue-tie (ankyloglossia), but she assured me there was none. I should have had a lactation professional come help me, but I thought I already exhausted any help I could get. I was able to feed my baby breastmilk exclusively for the first 4 months, but then I was urged to start giving solids because of alleged low-weight gain. There were many questions I had: Is my milk not enough? How come my baby isn't growing enough if I still have a freezer full of milk she won't eat? Could I get a better latch? Is it that my baby doesn't like my breastmilk for some reason? Is she really slow gaining or is she just on her own unique growth line? I wanted more answers for myself, which is why I eventually decided to become a certified breastfeeding specialist. There are still many more things for me to learn about breastfeeding, but I have learned that most likely my baby did in fact have a tongue-tie, which is why she had a heart-shaped or "snake-tongue" when she stuck her tongue out and also why her suction was so extremely hard on my nipples. It could have been that her less-than-ideal latch, and the fact that I was also using bottles to feed her, led her to having what I call "boob rage", which is when a baby just seems very mad at being at the breast. I tell you all of this to explain that I wish I would have had someone who was committed to helping me be successful in my lactation journey. Breastfeeding is multi-faceted and there are a lot of techniques and creative solutions that are possible to help you reach your breastfeeding goals. If I can't help solve your breastfeeding challenge, I want to help you find the right professional who can. No mother should be expected to just do it on her own.