Becoming a new mom is hard. Everyone wants to help with a few words of advice meant to make the new parent’s job easier. But, while that advice is meant kindly, it doesn’t always actually help.
Let’s look at two of the most common pieces of advice given to a new parent that are usually miscommunicated or misunderstood.
Pain While Breastfeeding Is Normal
What people say: It’s normal for breastfeeding to hurt in the first days and weeks.
What they mean: It’s common for new parents to experience pain and discomfort when they first learn to breastfeed.
What you hear: Since it’s normal, it’s ok for it to happen and I just have to ride it out.
What that means for you: Because it’s common it means that lots of parents go through this. It is a frequently experienced symptom of problems when getting started with breast and chest feeding. But just because it happens frequently doesn’t mean it’s ok for it to keep happening, It just means you aren’t alone in your struggles.
Pain during breastfeeding is a red flag. It’s a sign that something about the interface between the baby’s mouth and your breast is not working right.
There are a lot of reasons that this might be happening. The most important take away from this information should be that when pain is experienced during breastfeeding, help and information should be sought out to identify why the pain is happening and remedy the problem so that the pain stops happening.
This support can be a Lactation Consultant or an Infant Feeding Specialist. The Lactation Consultant can work with you in office to identify challenges to comfortable feeding and create a plan to fix the problem The Infant Feeding Specialist can work with you in your home to enact that plan while helping you cope and master being a new parent.
Feeling Like A Basket Is Normal
What people say: It’s totally normal to feel like emotional, freaked out and overwhelmed as a new parent
What they mean: It’s common for new parents to feel like they are overwhelmed and unable to cope.
What you hear: Everyone’s a basket case. There’s nothing wrong, you just have to get through it and one day it’ll stop feeling so awful.
What that means for you: Because it’s common, if you are experiencing this it really means that you are not a freak. You are not the only one who has gone through this. You are definitely not the only one going through this right now.
You are a capable, accomplished person and you are used to being good at lots of things. But becoming a parent has a way of making us feel like utter failures. If you feel like you cannot cope you need to call in reinforcements. That could be a helpful friend or family member, a doctor or a doula.
It’s not easy to be a new parent, but you should not have to struggle.
If you are struggling as a new parent, struggling to get enough sleep, struggling to understand how to care for your baby, struggling to cope with more than one child, struggling to enjoy being a new mother, struggling to with feeding your baby, get help. Do you hear that? GET HELP!
There is no honour in living miserably through this challenging time of life.
Just because some may appear to excel at being a new parent without any special assistance doesn’t mean you have to or are supposed to as well. Don’t forget: what people show us of their lives through social media or personal accounts is almost always heavily edited to make them appear more capable than they felt.
If you want the help, it’s out there for you. A Postpartum & Infant Care Doula or an Infant Feeding Specialist are both people who can make being a new parent not only easier but enjoyable. You can go from surviving to thriving. You deserve that!