Nursing Against the Odds

Nursing Against the OddsLet’s just put it out there. Nursing isn’t easy. It’s hard work. It’s a labor of love and a commitment you make to your baby. For many moms, this journey begins in a beautiful way after their baby’s birth and it is filled with wonderful, gushy moments. But for others, nursing is a struggle. Maybe it’s a struggle for the first weeks or even for the first months. Many of us nurse our babies against the odds.

When You Have No Support

For many moms, nursing is not the norm in their families. I was bottle fed. My grandmother tried to nurse my mom, but that was very short lived. When I asked her why, she just told me, “It hurt too much.” Other moms decide to nurse but have no support from their spouse. I know other moms who have decided to nurse, regardless of having negative comments from friends and family members. Others telling them, “You won’t make it very long. It’s too hard.”

When you make the decision to nurse your baby, it’s your decision. It’s not an easy one, however. For many moms, nursing could be something that no one supports the entire time they are on their journey. The best thing to do is find support. Organizations like La Leche League International are great. Meetings can be attended to get one-on-one support. Find a local lactation consultant in your area. Check out the help for breastfeeding moms at your county’s health department or WIC office. Find a true friend who will support your journey.

For me, this has been my friend, Monica. She has successfully nursed her three children and has been there for me to answer my questions, give it to me straight, and just cheer me on. Websites like Kellymom can be a trusted source for nursing questions as well.

When There Are Other Obstacles

For me, nursing has been an amazing journey. I will say that the second time around has been so much easier. Nursing in public is now my norm. With my first child, I was terrified and had to seek help with a nipple shield and trusted lactation consultant from my hospital. Coconut oil and Earth Mama Angel Baby’s nipple butter were my best friends.

Many moms face health challenges with nursing. Inverted nipples, breast surgeries, and other conditions can affect nursing. Other moms find themselves spending time in the NICU with their babies and endure other struggles.

While I am no expert with nursing (I’m still learning), I will say it’s a journey that gets easier with time. I am proud to say I nursed my daughter for 13 months and I look forward to the rest of my time nursing my son. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s totally worth it. Hang in there, momma. You can beat the odds.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in northeast Indiana. She loves nursing for many reasons, but she is especially fond of the bonding time.

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