Breastfeeding is hard. Any mother who has breastfed will tell you that at one point in the process (usually with their first baby), that it was really hard. Sometimes it hurts, some worry that their milk won't come in, some don't think their baby is getting enough, some babies have trouble latching, some women just don't have the support needed to be successful at it...there could be a million things that make it hard.
I breastfed Alivia (my firstborn) full-time for 14 months. I had severe breast pain for 8 solid weeks. I never had an over abundance of milk, so I was never sure if she was getting enough. But I had a ton of support...which I think is the reason I was successful.
Since then...I've sort of become a breastfeeding drill Sargent. Nothing irritates me more than the mom on a baby story who tries to breastfeed once, then because her baby doesn't cooperate, says she'll supplement until her milk comes in. I wish I could jump into her living room and let her know that her milk will NEVER come in unless she keeps on breastfeeding. Not only did she quit...but she's a horrible example to the millions of pregnant women out there wondering if they'll be able to nurse their babies.
I have a friend who struggled with some infertility. When she did get pregnant (praise the Lord), we had conversations about breastfeeding. I was for it, she was not. But when she did have her beautiful baby girl...I've never seen a mother work so hard to breastfeed. Her infertility caused her supply to be low, which meant she needed to supplement. While many mothers would just ditch the boob and stick to the formula, she was basically stuck at home in a rotation of breastfeeding, formula supplement, pumping, repeat. She did this for months...the mom who wasn't for breastfeeding while pregnant, became an amazing example of persevering through the hardest breastfeeding scenario and coming out successfully. I was so proud of her. I am so proud of her.
I have another friend who went into preterm labor and had her sweet boy ten weeks early. He was in the nicu for months. I wish I had a picture of her freezer. She could have fed a third world country with the amount of breastmilk she pumped and stored up for her baby when he was ready for it. It was unbelievable!
When I had Judah (my second born), breastfeeding felt second nature. The lactation consultant came in to teach me the proper latch (I'll admit that I needed a refreshers course. It had been over 2 years!). I got it instantly...my abundant milk came in on day two and I didn't have any pain! I can't tell you what a great relief this was :-) The difference in difficulty from nursing my first born to nursing my second born was night and day!
I write all this as encouragement to you moms out there who are pregnant. You can do it. And if you struggled breastfeeding your first, your second may be a different story. Stick with it. Milk doesn't magically appear...your baby needs to nurse it in. The pain WILL go away. Your baby will get it and it does get easier! Get help from your lactation consultant...all hospitals have them...and you'll never meet women who want you to succeed more than them! How long a mother decides to nurse is up to her...set small goals. Start with three months...when you get there, it will be so second nature, another 9 months will seem like nothing!
God designed this. He designed this to nourish and protect your baby. It's the perfect amount. It's the perfect temperature. It's the perfect nutrient. Work for it...put in everything you have to succeed. You WILL succeed.