During my first pregnancy, I was completely committed to the goal of breastfeeding my son. The vision of nursing my baby was so crystal clear in my mind that the possibility of anything happening to foil the plan just wasn't on my optimistic radar.
Of course, something happened to foil the plan.
It was a series of missteps that led me to turn reluctantly to formula. Only after finding breastfeeding success with my second child, am I finally able to recognize exactly where I went wrong with my first baby. More importantly, I can now pinpoint what has contributed to my current breastfeeding success.
How I found breastfeeding success
i had a vaginal delivery^
A C-section was necessary with my first baby due to breech presentation. The physical and emotional trauma of that experience was my first breastfeeding roadblock.
Having a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) with my second child was a key contributor to my breastfeeding success. The pain and healing time were minimal compared to my C-section, which meant I was more in control of my body -- and I had more energy to focus on bonding with my baby.
While a vaginal delivery isn't always possible, in my case it was the first and best step toward learning to breastfeed my child.
i threw out the schedule^
I can distinctly remember the newborn feeding schedule hanging on the wall of my postpartum recovery room following the birth of my son in 2009. Due to inexperience, I relied heavily on schedules with my first baby, and fed him at set times and intervals, whether he was hungry or not.
Sticking to such a strict feeding schedule with my first child meant that I never truly felt in tune with his needs.
This time around, I decided to forget about the schedules and simply feed my baby when she is hungry. Sounds simple enough, but this not only helped facilitate successful breastfeeding, it also relieved a lot of my stress.
i trusted the signs^
If your baby is wetting diapers, dirtying diapers and gaining weight, he or she is probably getting enough breast milk. I learned to trust these basic signs with my second baby, and my confidence continues to grow with each feeding and every pound she gains.
I feel incredibly proud of the breastfeeding relationship I have developed with my daughter -- and I am so glad that I decided to give breastfeeding another try.
Share your story
All babies are different and every situation unique. If you breastfed -- or are currently nursing a child -- what factors do you feel contributed to your breastfeeding success?