I attended a Breastfeeding Preparation class last week as part of my DONA doula certification requirement. An important part of the doula role is supporting new moms in breastfeeding, and even though I nursed one son for 14 months and am three months into nursing baby #2, I knew I’d pick up some good tips to help other mothers. I was also interested to see how the class was set up and how the information was presented.
Before we started, the instructor had us introduce ourselves and share our most pressing questions about breastfeeding. All of the moms-to-be wondered most: When can I supplement with formula and/or a nighttime bottle? While this was an exceptionally small homogeneous sample size of just four expectant mothers, I thought this was very interesting– both the question itself and that they all shared it as their most burning question on breastfeeding.
Does it mean they’ve heard breastfeeding is really hard and they will have to supplement or resort to Plan B? Have they heard sleep deprivation horror stories and want to be sure their partner can help with feedings? Probably. It also came out later in the conversation that one of the moms was concerned about her partner having a chance to bond with the baby through feedings. A friend of hers feels like he hasn’t been able to connect with his newborn since the mother is exclusively breastfeeding.
I can’t recall now what my most burning breastfeeding question was before that adventure began. I’d like to think it was ‘what can I do to ensure a successful breastfeeding relationship?’ I’d heard the stories from my friends and knew it could be really rough in the beginning. I wanted to be ready to tackle the challenges and make it work (a la Tim Gunn). I think I also assumed it would be mostly fine, as my mother breastfed four children, it’s as natural as can be, I’m committed, so what could go wrong?
Well, that’s a long story for another post– but we did figure it out after a grueling few months and I don’t regret a thing. When I was struggling, a friend told me, “breastfeeding goes from being the worst thing in the world, to the best thing in the world.” This piece of advice helped me to stay committed and see it through until we were on the other side.
So, what about you?
What was your number one question about breastfeeding before you began?
What is your number one tip to mothers-to-be who are planning to nurse?