Latching problems, pain, perceived or real poor milk supply--all of these are reasons many women give for stopping breastfeeding, but one of the number top reasons for breastfeeding cessation, especially with preterm infants, is: ANXIETY.
First time breastfeeding moms enter into the journey of nursing their babies without practice, and in some cases, without much guidance. Making sure baby is meeting his nutrient needs is a common concern for new moms who are breastfeeding, where exact amounts of milk consumed are difficult to determine. Hormonal levels of oxytocin and cortisol may also play a role in increased anxiety post-partum.
So, how can you tackle anxiety issues with breastfeeding?
* Education: Breastfeeding classes before birth can help ease some moms' worries by taking a bit of the unknown out of the equation. Lactation consultants before and after birth can also reassure new moms that they are doing it right!
* Distraction: For moms who get anxiety during pumping sessions, watching each drop of milk drip into the bottle, staying focused on something other than the pump may not only help improve milk supply, but also decrease anxiety. Reading a book, watching tv, or even covering the pump with a blanket, may help reduce anxiety.
* Reassurance: Surround yourself with a support network who can help you both physically and emotionally. Whether it is taking on a household chore so that you can relax and focus on breastfeeding, or offering words of encouragement, a good support system of family, friends, or community, can take unnecessary stress out of breastfeeding.
You're doing great, mom!