Words of Encouragement for Breastfeeding Moms by Raissa Paje-Bayawa, MD, DPPS

Pediatrician, Breastfeeding Counselor and Educator, Lead Facilitator for Bundle of Joy PH Breastfeeding Workshops for Parents

Taking care of a baby and breastfeeding are very challenging tasks, specially for first-time parents. Preparing as a family is so important so when the hard days come, you will know what to do.

There will be difficult days that will make you want to give up on breastfeeding. Here are the most common ones.

1. The first few days of baby’s life. 

What makes it challenging :

Mom and baby are still learning how to breastfeed, sore/cracked nipples and engorgement, mom may need help moving around after childbirth because of physical discomfort

What to do : 

  1. Keep breastfeeding even if you don’t see milk from your breast. In these early days, breastmilk comes in small amounts as colostrum. This is just the right amount of milk that will fit inside your baby’s small stomach.
  2. Breastfeed per demand. Your body makes milk in response to your baby’s needs. Feeding often also decreases the chance of engorgement. 
  3. Check if position and latch are correct. Most cases of sore nipples resolve by adjusting the position and latch. If problem persists, seek help from lactation consultant/expert or peer counselor. 
  4. Focus on keeping your baby close to you, in skin-to-skin contact if possible. Delegate other household tasks. Being close to mommy helps baby feel secure and also helps mothers increase their milk supply.

2. Growth spurts. 

These may occur anytime during infancy, but more likely when a baby is 7-10 days, 2 weeks, 1-2 months, 3-4 months, and 6 and 9 months old. 

What makes it challenging:

Babies get fussier or crankier, changes in sleeping pattern,  more clingy

What to do :

Keep breastfeeding and understand that your baby may be feeding more often than usual, and might not even want to stop latching, because he needs more calories at this time of fast growth.

3. Illness.

What makes it challenging:

Baby will be fussier and irritable, clingy, find it hard to sleep, and will cry more often 

What to do: 

  1. Keep breastfeeding because your breastmilk has antibodies that will help your baby fight off infection. The comfort of cuddling and being close to you also helps him feel better when he is sick.
  2. If your baby refuses to feed and have other worrisome symptoms, consult your pediatrician right away.

4. Mom is overwhelmed. 

As a first-time mom 3 years ago, I had my fair share of breastfeeding challenges which I shared here—https://happyheartkids.com/the-beginning-of-our-breastfeeding-journey/

As a new mom back then, I felt that the responsibility of taking care of a tiny helpless human being who is completely dependent on me was daunting. 

What makes it challenging:

Mom is sleep-deprived and exhausted, feeling pressured because while still recovering from childbirth,  she must take care of a new baby 24/7

What to do:

Ask for help. Can your husband change the diaper or put your baby to sleep? Maybe your mom can watch over the baby while you take a shower or nap? Maybe you can call a mommy-friend and share what you’re going through? 

And through all these challenges, the best course of action, and the first thing we parents should actually do is PRAY. God is our co-parent and He will always help us take care of our baby. So remember, do not give up on a hard day. When you feel overwhelmed, say to yourself, “NO, NOT TODAY! I WILL NOT GIVE UP TODAY.”