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struggling to breastfeed

Society will have you believe breastfeeding comes naturally. That it’s easy and beautiful and mommy and baby will “connect and figure it out” like magic.

That is such bullshit.

In reality, breastfeeding is hard. Especially when you’re a new mom. You’re not even sure how to hold the baby without breaking him let alone how to breastfeed him! 

But these expectations make you feel like a failure when you struggle to breastfeed.

My son was born during the covid-19 level 5 lockdown. I could only have my husband with me for two hours after my son’s birth. No doula was allowed, no visitors were allowed and even after going home, I wasn’t allowed any visitors. 

So I had to rely on the hospital staff for support.

I had my heart set on breastfeeding. I had read up about the “golden hour”, skin-to-skin and having your baby “crawl” up to your breast. 

I was not prepared for nurses pushing and shoving at my breasts. They forced my nipple into my baby’s mouth and at one point squeezed my nipples to get the colostrum to come out. A lactation consultant came to see me and told me I was doing a good job.

I was a new mom, alone and vulnerable and I didn’t know any better.

Eventually, I thought I managed to breastfeed my son. I went home and a week later a nurse came to our house to check up on my baby.

He had lost almost 1 kg in weight. When babies are meant to at least be at their birth weight a week after being born.

I was devastated. 

Turns out I hadn’t been breastfeeding my son correctly at all. I had been inadvertently starving him. 

The nurse helped me with my hold, and also advised me to use nipple shields. For the first time in my life, I heard the term “flat nipples”. Wtf is up with that? Why don’t more people talk about it?

Anyway, the nipple shields helped. And she could confirm that my son was now correctly breastfeeding. But because he had lost so much weight I had to feed him every 2 hours.

Fast forward 3 months. I was exhausted, my nipples were in constant pain, often cracked and bleeding and I was on the verge of giving up.

I often thought: “If it comes so naturally why am I struggling so much? What is wrong with me?” My mental health was taking a serious nosedive. 

Then I came across the Thompson Breastfeeding Method.

It completely changed my life and saved my breastfeeding journey.

Dr Thompson is a nurse with a LOT of experience. She bases her advice on evidence-based research that she conducted herself. 

Her approach is gentle and straightforward. Within 24 hours, I was breastfeeding pain-free. Simply by following the advice on her free Facebook group

Another few months and I had managed to wean my son from the nipple shield. I was getting more sleep, my breasts had healed and my son was healthy.

It angers me SO MUCH that there is so much misinformation out there around breastfeeding. 

Here is a list of some difficulties you may face:

  1. You have flat or inverted nipples 
  2. Your baby has a lip or tongue-tie
  3. Your baby may not be responsive due to the pain medication you received during labour
  4. Your baby is latching is not latching correctly
  5. Ignorance from the nurses and doctors

Also, who are these male doctors that try to tell you how to breastfeed or try to give you advice? It’s not like they could possibly know what it’s like to try breastfeeding a baby.

Below are two common myths often believed by doctors and nurses and passed down to you as the mom:

1. Your milk isn’t wholesome enough

Say what? 

Science has proven time and time again that a mother’s breastmilk adapts to the baby’s needs. Your breastmilk will provide the baby with all the necessary nutrition. It’s very, very rare that a woman’s body will produce breastmilk that’s not wholesome enough. 

Think about it. How would we as a human race have survived if a mother’s breastmilk wasn’t wholesome enough? It’s not like they had formula to give babies in the stone age.

2. You don’t have milk (said to you on the day of your baby’s birth)

The first few days after birth your body will be producing colostrum. This is a supercharged version of milk that your baby will benefit so much from. 

It’s meant to come in small amounts – it’s a highly concentrated milk to help boost your baby in their first few days of life. They don’t need bucketsful of the stuff.

Your baby is meant to be suckling almost constantly the first few days. It will stimulate the hormones in your body to start converting the colostrum into milk. 

So if you find yourself in a situation where you’re struggling to breastfeed, try the following:

Our bodies are amazing. We can grow and sustain human life. 

Mommies are superheroes and don’t forget it!


Are you wondering whether your diet is affecting your baby? Find out more here.

Related: 3 things to help you choose to breastfeed



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