A Guest Blog Written By:
The wonderfully sweet Jennifer del Sol of Mainstay Doulas & Co
A breastfeeding relationship is hard.
A breastfeeding relationship can also be easy.
It can look like breastfeeding on demand, breastfeeding with supplementing, exclusively pumping, or somewhere in between all of that.
Every breastfeeding relationship looks different, just like every breastfeeding goal can be different. As a Certificated Lactation Educator Counselor, IBCLC candidate, and working with hundreds of moms to find a feeding solution that works best for them, there are a few things Jennifer del Sol has learned along the way when it comes to making your breastfeeding goals.
Your Goals Can Change
Nothing about a breastfeeding goal is set in stone.
You may think while you’re pregnant that you want to breastfeeding until 6 months but then you find breastfeeding after a couple months is easy and works for you, so you change your goal to nine months.
Or maybe breastfeeding through tongue ties and cracked nipples is not how you imagined your breastfeeding relationship and your goal changes to getting through this one last feed before switching to formula.
That is OK and nothing to feel guilty about. You still accomplished something worthy of praise. Your baby is fed.
They Don’t Have to Have a Timeline
A lot of times when we hear a breastfeeding mom describe her goal its sounds something like “3 months until I go back to work”, “6 months until we start solids”, or “1 year because that’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends” but your goals don’t always have to contain a number.
Your goals can be about just having those moments of bonding time each day or feeling like your providing some immune protection for your baby through your breast milk. One of the most important things to consider when creating your breastfeeding goal is that accomplishing your goal should feel like the right thing to do for your baby AND you.
It Doesn’t Have to be Exclusive.
Your goals don’t have to contain the word “exclusive” anything.
Your breastfeeding goal can be that you only want to breastfeed when you’re not working and supplement with formula while you are working, for example. It doesn’t have to be about exclusive breastfeeding. If you’re pumping for your baby, you can also decide that you only want to pump in the couple times a day you feel like you have a spare moment to pump and supplement with formula the other times your baby is hungry. It also doesn’t have to be about exclusive pumping.
Having the Right Support System Makes Reaching Them Easier
Do you need a cheerleader or do you need someone to say it’s ok if you don’t want to do this? Think about the people in your life and who can embody each of these roles. Sometimes you want might want the cheerleader to get you through those 3am cluster feeds or to help you find the best remedy for sore nipples. At some point, you may also need the person who is going to hold your hand and tell you that you have done an amazing job, its ok if you want to stop.
Your baby will still love you, be healthy, and be fed. Your postpartum doula can fulfill both of those roles for you as she attunes to your differing needs in every feeding.
Reaching Them Feels Really Good
It doesn’t matter if you decided you wanted to breastfeed two times, two days, two months, or two years, when you reach your breastfeeding goal it feels really good. Remember, goals can change so even if you say “I just want to get through this last feeding and then I’m switching to formula” that’s still reaching a goal.
The ultimate goal is always feed the baby.
Jessica Anne Dill