Choosing to breastfeed your baby? With support, practice and guidance this can become a success for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding (like giving birth) is essentially a natural process. For some women the experience of feeding their baby is very intuitive. On the whole though, the modern reality of breastfeeding in most western cultures is that it has now shifted from being an unfolding 'natural' act, to a task that usually needs to be learnt about and mastered. This can be partly contributed to the discontinuation of the 'extended family' in our society, and possibly the overall 'medicalisation' of the birthing process in the last 50 years.
Most women are no longer closely surrounded by their mothers, aunts, sisters and friends openly breastfeeding their babies in their day to day environment. Therefore the role of the breastfeeding mentor (previously performed by various female relations and friends) has drastically diminished, and in many cases has disappeared.
Breastfeeding your baby in the early days is usually a vastly different experience from how breastfeeding will be in the weeks that follow this dynamic 'settling in period'. For some women, the feeding is just something that falls into place, for others it is a series of challenges involving perseverance that can at times feel demanding and overwhelming. Initially, in the first week or two, breastfeeding will often be a roller coaster of emotions, experiences and physical changes.
The early experience of breastfeeding can be one of intimacy, and at times vulnerability. Breastfeeding can require a degree of learning, practice, patience, communication and experimentation with your baby. Be patient with yourself (and your baby) in the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding, and be aware that this 'transitional period' will eventually change.