I’m having a weak moment… #HELP!
I have been sitting on the couch feeding, rocking and burping my breastfed little one since 9 AM. He is 6 weeks and most days I’m glued to the couch. I’m really thinking about giving it only 3 months if this keeps up. I literally have no down time!
Help me to keep nursing?!Mama S
Mama S, you’re in the thick of it!
This big time truly doesn’t last, even though it feels like it’ll never end. I’m still breastfeeding at 22-months + that didn’t come without thoughts of wanting to quit. I think it’s totally natural.
The most important thing I want you to consider is this:
Making the decision to stop breastfeeding should come on your best day, not on your worst day.
I remember feeling like I was held hostage or that I would only have “successful” days if I had someone with me for help.
And looking back on that time now, I just see how f*cking hard I was on myself at a time when everything was just as it was supposed to be naturally.
Here’s what I wish someone told me during that time.
Growth Spurts Change Everything
Baby has a big growth spurt at the 6-week mark and another one at 4-months. For a resource on all of the developmental growth spurts, check out The Wonder Weeks book.
In all growth spurts and other major milestones (like teething, which my little one started early at 4-months), nursing increases because baby needs more nutrients to grow.
The reminder that breastfeeding helps my baby grow was simple + reassuring during these times.
Both times, I had wavering feelings about continuing breastfeeding, but I learned that breastfeeding was the easiest way to nurture my baby through what she was experiencing. Growth is confusing for them, too!
Nursing Starts to Feel Incredible
The beginning of breastfeeding felt like constant engorgement + like razor blades had cut my nipples, but with consistency + practice, breastfeeding actually started feeling relieving.
Oxytocin — the feel-good hormone — pumps through your body when you nurse, and even moreso when you are able to stop focusing on the “ouch” part.
The physical release of milk literally lightens you + it becomes a feeling you look forward to.
Sleep will change a lot now and then again at 4 months, and I found breastfeeding significantly easier after 4 months + with improved sleep.
If you haven’t started nursing side-lying, now would be a great time to start. We chose to bedshare — and if practiced with safe guidelines — families are completely safe + there’s a smaller chance of SIDS associated than families that sleep separately from their newborns.
I’ll share safe bedsharing guidelines in another post.
You’re both still learning each others’ patterns + even how to nurse together, so feeding takes so much longer up-front. Over time, you’ll both be able to predict each other’s positions, cues, etc. and have more efficient nursing sessions.
If you’re holding yourself to a timetable, you’re adding more stress to your life. Follow baby’s lead, which is usually cluster-feeding at this age, and know that the spacing will naturally occur.
Consider the long-term benefits
I’ve found nursing this long to be the best investment with benefits still to this day almost 2-years since starting.
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural ways to increase parental attachment, which promotes faster, longer-lasting independence.
Additionally, in her 22-months of life, my daughter has had:
- NO diaper rashes
- NO formula or supplements
- NO pacifier or bottle use, and only
- ONE cold that we cured with diet, elderberry syrup + extra nursing.
And these are just off the top of my head. The time I’ve invested in nursing has spared me in time + money I’d be spending administering medicines, going to extra doctors visits, buying formula + cleaning bottles.
Identify what you’re most frustrated with
If you did have down-time, what would you want to use it on?
Listen to audiobooks + podcasts to keep your mind challenged if you’re feeling intellectually bored.
If you’re frustrated with the state of the house, think through the tasks you’d let family + friends help you with, so that you can accept the help right away when they offer (or so that you can ASK for the help — because this is the time to unapologetically!).
Change Your Positions
If your healthcare provider gave you clearance, you can usually do some walking by this time. Even just nursing outside or going for a stroller walk can help change up the scenery enough to boost mood between feedings.
Babywearing was the biggest game changer for me. I found baby slept longer and more soundly when we were walking around the house with her in the Moby wrap. With practice, you can actually let baby nurse while you babywear.
Give yourself the mobility by trying it out!
Lastly, check your nursing positioning with a lactation consultant + get a second (or third!) opinion. Tricky latches + other breastfeeding challenges can make tired moms understandably more frustrated + willing to stop nursing faster than they might’ve been otherwise. Invest in a professional opinion for the peace of mind in your decision either way.