I can’t tell you how often I hear of a mom who is struggling with breastfeeding. I literally hear about it every week and understand how important of a topic this is.

Breastfeeding is no joke. It’s mentally, physically and can be financially stressful (have you seen the price of some of those pumps?).

Today, I joined Annika Harold, LCSW in our private Facebook groupΒ to talk about just this topic – how breastfeeding troubles can really lead to mental health concerns. There is absolutely a direct link between a mom who feels like she can’t breastfeed and her own mental health.

First, let’s look at all of the reasons why breastfeeding might be a risk factor for a mental health concern. On top of the fact that it might not be going smoothly (maybe the baby is having trouble latching, or you may not be producing enough milk), the fact is that breastfeeding takes SO much out of us.

  • In those first few weeks, that burden of feeding baby is soley on you. That’s alot of pressure.
  • Maybe you are having to eliminate foods from your diet like caffeine, medications and alcohol on top of dairy or soy if the pediatrician recommends this.
  • The physical discomfort that can come along with breastfeeding can be taxing (cue the nipple cream and warm compresses).
  • Disturbances in our sleep because we are on call for feeding the baby every 2-3 hours.
  • Pumping or worrying that baby is getting enough milk (those dreaded weight checks can really get the anxiety going).
  • Switching out the maternity clothes for the breastfeeding clothes. Fashion nightmare.

And of course, we would do anything and everything (including this entire list) in order to provide for our baby what we think is best.

But if it isn’t going as planned, when do we know that enough is enough? When do we know to take a pause and reasses our feeding journey?

Every journey is different. And every mom is different.

When you notice that you might not be able to “turn off” these concerns, it might a warning sign that it’s time to reach out for support in pivoting from the inital plan of breastfeeding.

In other words, if you are on constant alert or feeling consistently down about your feeding journey, don’t hesitate to reach out for more support. Talking through it with someone who is unbiased about your decision can be so helpful.

What if my family has different views on breastfeeding as me and is pushing me to make one decision over another?

Boundaries, mama. It’s something you’re going to hear about alot in motherhood.

And no, it’s not an easy thing to do. Setting boundaries with your loved ones is so hard, but oh so important for you mental health.

Have a conversation with your partner and strategize ways to talk about your decisions with your family. Or maybe don’t talk about your decision with your family because it’s your business, not theirs. Know where you stand on this and stand firm.

But I feel so guilty. I feel like my body isn’t doing what I want it to do and I feel at fault.

I know. Mama, I know.

Don’t run away from these feelings or tell yourself that you shouldn’t be having them. Of course we all know that it’s not your fault or your body’s fault – sometimes things don’t work out as planned and that’s okay.

It’s also okay to feel our feelings about it. Whether your mad, sad, angry, frustrated, guilty, disappointed – no feeling is wrong.

Feel it and them try to refocus on some part of motherhood that you feel confident in. Maybe it’s the fact that you love holding your baby. Maybe it’s that you pride yourself on keeping a schedule, or going with the flow. Find something about motherhood that you are proud of (and this might mean asking your partner to help you come up with these things).

All in all, those first few months are tough, mama. The constant thinking about and planning for feeding is never ending.

Don’t beat yourself up and know that you are absolutey not alone – some other mama out there is struggling, too.

We are here for you. We understand, so if you need someone to talk to, you know you can reach out to us.

Call or text (843) 410-3585

Email contact@ppdsupport.org

Call Now Button