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Is breastfeeding hard to do?

Farzanna S. Haffizulla, MD
Internal Medicine
Breastfeeding can be successful and beneficial for both mother and baby if done correctly.  A proper "latch on" technique by the baby is essential to emptying the breasts properly and stimulating more milk production. Once proper "latch on" is achieved, breastfeeding is quite an easy process.  Proper maternal hydration, nutrition and maintaining a positive attitude about breastfeeding are also essential to milk production. In the early stages of breastfeeding, finding a comfortable stress free area of your home to master these techniques is essential to successful breastfeeding. A full glass of water and nutritious snacks in this location is also recommended. A lactation consultant or experienced breastfeeding mothers are a great source of support during this time period.
Annette Duncan
Nutrition & Dietetics

No, breast feeding is not hard to do, BUT you can help yourself by being prepared. I recommend talking to a lactation consultant. If you have the option I would talk to the lactation consultant before the baby arrives, maybe in a class setting, so you can learn many of the common "pit-falls" and avoid them. Also it gives you the option to ask your questions and maybe put your own mind at ease. If the baby is already here a lactation consultant can still be an invaluable resource - they can help you with any problems you are encountering and give you multiple options to handle any situation. 

I think the hardest part is to overcome the anticipation and nervousness of what it is going to be like (another good reason to talk with someone early on).

Breast-feeding is natural, but it's not always easy. Breast-feeding can be difficult, in the sense that sometimes babies don't always latch on appropriately. It can be very uncomfortable, if the latch is not correct, and breast-feeding can be time-consuming.
Breastfeeding can be challenging, especially if you have never done it before. However, there many benefits to both mother and baby, so often it is worth any difficulties you may encounter. With both a mother who has never breastfed before and an infant who is new to everything, there is a learning curve. Some challenges you may expect to encounter include difficulty getting the baby to latch on, sore or cracked nipples, difficulty with too much or too little milk supply and sore, infected, or clogged breasts. These are very common problems, and most women experience at least a few while nursing. However, there are many advantages, such as the health benefits to the baby, the cost saved over formula, the convenience of not having to prepare and clean bottles (especially in the middle of the night!), and often postpartum weight loss for the mom. It is normal and expected to run into challenges when first breastfeeding, but contacting your doctor or a lactation consultant can be very helpful in overcoming any obstacles you may encounter.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.