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Mom Your Way: The Fourth Trimester - Breastfeeding Is No Joke
Mental Well-Being

Mom Your Way: The Fourth Trimester - Breastfeeding Is No Joke

Breastfeeding is no joke. It’s the name of the chapter and currently the story of our life. Mommy’s Bliss CEO, and author of Mom Your Way, Yasmin Kaderali takes us through the highs and lows of this “no joke” journey. From sore nipples, to choosing not to breastfeed, the struggle, the guilt, and the mind games are real. Read the latest excerpt here and hopefully find a way to smile at the commiseration knowing we’re truly in this together. 

“Suddenly I became aware of all these real technicalities. It was like trying to build a piece of Ikea furniture where one piece fit and the other didn’t, and then the clock was ticking.”​

(The following is an excerpt from Mom Your Way)

Growing up, I had always heard my mom talk about breastfeeding because she worked as a lactation consultant and doula. I remember hearing about the technical side of it, something about angles and latching, nipples, breast pumps, and breastfeeding pillows. The “breast is best” mantra was loud, but I think that implied it would be easy, so why wouldn’t you breastfeed?

After a while, I tuned it out, until there I was with a new baby and ready to put my infant on my boob and breastfeed like a champ. Umm. No. That’s not what happened. Suddenly, I became aware of all these real technicalities; it was like trying to build a piece of Ikea furniture where one piece fit and the other didn’t, and then the clock was ticking and . . . ahhhhh!

It was like breastfeeding had its own language, an instruction manual with tons of gaps, and there was an alarm clock ticking in my head. WTF! Luckily, my mom was there to help me with learning to adjust and find the right positions. She let me cry when I had cracked nipples and gave me her tips to soothe them. What I didn’t expect was the mental and emotional toll that came with breastfeeding. It’s a friggin’ project that can become all-consuming. It can be a healthy project, or it can be too much and start to take away from all the bliss.

I felt stressed out about staying on top of all the feedings and was constantly checking the time. Sometimes I wanted the hours to be shorter and sometimes longer. I felt confused about how much milk my baby boy was actually getting. Of course, this led to worry and shame that I was defective, not being able to give my baby what he needed. I worried about my right boob versus my left boob—was one better, providing more milk? Why was the left more comfortable for me? I had felt pressure to have my partner bottle feed on occasion so I could take a break. But then I had to pump when he gave him the bottle, so it wasn’t really a break! The economics of my milk supply versus demand were so daunting. But I can’t deny that when milk was flowing, those moments with my baby were precious. The powerful feeling that came with my ability to feed my baby was unreal, the bond beyond special.

And then it was back to stressful, and slowly guilt and shame barged in. With my second baby, by the second month I wasn’t producing enough, so I had to supplement with formula. Which kind of formula? There were questions, worries, and pressures that came along with this that I had never anticipated and that women experience differently. Once again, this means this is your time to do it your way.

As a new parent, it’s always hard to figure out what is truly best for you and your baby and your family when it feels like they all conflict. I like how Emily Oster, author of Cribsheet and other awesome books, brings data and cost-benefit perspectives to the table to help new parents make decisions.

In a Freakonomics interview about whether to breastfeed or not, she summarizes her thoughts on how the decision should come down to “what works” rather than what society expects: “There is an increasing recognition . . . that some of the ways we have been pressuring people to breastfeed have been counter-productive.” My takeaway: with so much information out there on all things parenting, using your own cost-benefit analysis may actually help you get to what your way is. The takeaways are the following:

  • Relax and do the best you can.
  • Think about the cost/benefit of breastfeeding for you. If you are so stressed, what impact is that having on you and your baby?
  • Your baby is healthy so far? Try not to worry unless your pediatrician tells you to change course

Visit MommysBliss360 often for more pearls, laughs and commiseration from Yasmin. And if you love to hold a book in your hand, “Mom Your Way” is available right here on mommysbliss.com. Make room on your bookshelf and reach for it whenever you find yourself wondering if you’re doing it right – spoiler alert - you are. 

This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.

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