Breastfeeding can be hard! But, it’s also one of the most important and rewarding things a mom will ever do. And sometimes, even the most experienced moms will hit a rough patch. Some women experience painful conditions like sore nipples, plugged ducts, or mastitis. Others may have milk supply problems, feel exhausted, or feel like they can’t manage breasting along with all of their other responsibilities.
Don’t worry; you are not alone! Most moms encounter at least one rough patch during their breastfeeding journey. Getting the right support and guidance can mean the difference between struggle and success. And remember, if you are struggling with breastfeeding or pumping, don’t make any rash decisions until you have considered all of your options and have talked with a professional.
Luckily, there are support systems available for moms who are having a hard time.
One of the first places to look for help is a community support group. Many of these groups hold meetings that are led and attended by women who are breastfeeding – women who may have had experiences similar to yours and can help you through times of doubt or uncertainty. These women are your peers. They can provide reassurance and help troubleshoot many breastfeeding problems. Most cities and towns have different support groups where you can turn when you need help.
Try to find resources in your community, or talk with your hospital, healthcare provider, or midwife to see if they can suggest a good group.
If you have a medical problem related to breastfeeding like persistent sore nipples, mastitis, or you’re worried about milk production, you may need to talk with an expert. Your OB/GYN or your baby’s pediatrician may be able to manage lactation complications, but another great resource to consider is a Lactation Consultant. Lactation Consultants have specialized training in lactation care, are board certified, and are available through most hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, or even a private consultation practice.
Medela also offers the service of our own Board Certified Lactation Consultant who can help moms having a hard time breastfeeding. Through our Ask the LC program, you can consult one-on-one via email with our Lactation Consultant, who will assist you with any breastfeeding questions and concerns you may have. You can also find products, rental services, and lactation professionals near you by searching our network.
It’s Your Choice
Even with support, some women find breastfeeding too challenging and choose to wean. It is your decision. If you decide it’s time to wean, give yourself credit for every drop of milk you have been able to provide to your baby, and turn to others for support and help with the weaning process. If you decide to continue breastfeeding, give yourself credit for your continuing commitment, and lean on others when you have trouble along the way.
Either way, remember that you are an amazing mom and try to love yourself as much as your love your little baby.
Do you have advice for moms who have hit a rough patch? Share your suggestions or questions in the comments below!