Hey pregnant mama, so you're thinking about breastfeeding? Can I offer you a bit of unsolicited advice and support?
Because honestly, breastfeeding is awesome. But sometimes, it's really hard, and won't come easily. You're going to have to be strong and brave. Some days, it might feel like your heart and soul are being stretch right out of your postpartum body.
But it is so worth it. So worth it.
I'm breastfeeding my 4th baby, and looking back, when this chapter in my life is over, I know I will miss it so much.
Because even in the hardest of hard days, it's such a blessing and true miracle to be able to nourish my baby with my own body. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
If I were you, I would get yourself prepared for a long (and awesome) journey. While it's true that you don't need much gear, I've found that having a few things in place made all the difference for me.
1. Make sure your husband is on board with breastfeeding, or at least knows beforehand how important it is to you. I guess what I'm saying is, talk about it beforehand. And also, during those first few days and weeks, don't be shy to kick people out of the room (yes, even your mother-in-law) if you need a private and quite place to get the hang of nursing.
2. Have a few supportive nursing bras ready and waiting. Because girl, if you thought your boobs got big while pregnant, just wait until your milk comes in. You'll want a bra to sleep in, and another one for during the day.
3. A supportive pillow will become your BFF. You'll want to put the pillow your lap, then lay the baby down on the pillow. In a few weeks (or months) down the line, you'll be able to ditch the cushion. But until you get the hang of latching on and stuff, the pillow will provide so much comfort.
4. Consider getting a good breast pump. Even if you plan on being with your baby 99% of the time, a good breast pump will take you far. My breast pump has been with me during good times (vacation with husband!), and in bad (pumping through a nasty case of mastitis). Honestly, my breast pump has saved me so many times.
5. Surround yourself with like-minded friends, either in your community at home or online. Like I said, breastfeeding often comes with challenges, and having emotional support is key, especially when you're feeling at your wits end. Knowing you're not alone in this journey is so very helpful and comforting.
And first and foremost, take care of yourself. If breastfeeding doesn't go the way you thought it would, please don't beat yourself up about it. You have a new baby that needs you, and you know what's best for your new family. Enjoy this time like there's no tomorrow.