If you want to breastfeed, 95% of the time, you can do it. Don’t be shy about asking for help (since the beginning of time women have relied on getting support to learn to troubleshoot and gain confidence.) It’s like riding a bike--it can be a little weird in the beginning, but then once you get the hang of it, it feels like you’ve been doing it forever.
But keeping it up for a year (the American Academy of Pediatrics’s recommendation) isn’t without challenges. Did you know that persistent crying and exhaustion are top reasons moms abandon nursing? Studies show that exhausted moms are much more likely to get depressed (which reduces breastfeeding rates by 50%) and to develop creeping doubts about the quality and adequacy of their milk.
Getting more sleep is overlooked advice for nursing. As a passionate breastfeeding advocate, that’s one reason a personal mission of mine is to help new parents master the skills needed to calm their baby’s fussies and get more sleep. Over the past 12 years, my Happiest Baby team has trained thousands of educators in dozens of countries to teach new parents the soothing/sleep techniques called the 5 S’s. The simple steps of the 5 S’s are swaddling, the side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking (described in the DVD/streaming video/book, The Happiest Baby on the Block). And now we've invented SNOO, a smart-tech bassinet (based on several principles of 5 S’s technique) to stretch sleep longer for babies and parents. These are all great ways to reduce infant crying, boost sleep and promote breastfeeding success.
“Breast is best” is not a slogan invented by hippies and granola eaters. From a totally scientific POV, breast milk is absolutely the real deal. Thank goodness we have formula, in case a mom can’t or chooses not to breastfeed, but there is no question that formula is just a corporation’s best guess at imitating what Mother Nature has carefully designed over the past…say…million years!