In today’s culture everyone is searching for the next best thing, the best opportunities, the ideal outcome, the quickest way to get to the top. Even in our parenting culture we have focused on being the “BEST” parent one can be. Which at the surface doesn’t seem like such a bad goal to strive for. But what if the highest standard, being the best, is keeping you from your greatest good. What if only focusing on achieving 100% leaves 99% of the really great stuff behind.
I see this challenge every day in my Private Practice. A new mom comes to me for the first time and sits on my couch. Sobbing, she tells me she is sure she has failed as a mother in every way. Her baby was not gaining weight well, she has triple fed for 2 weeks straight (if you don’t know what triple feeding is, basically you breastfeed then bottle feed then pump every 3 hours), her supply is not increasing as expected and she is ready to throw in the towel. I don’t blame her! One can feel so defeated putting forth so much effort at a time of such exhaustion alongside a steep learning curve that comes with being a new parent, only to see outcomes you had not hoped for.
This is when I take a deep breath and tell her there is a spectrum of breastfeeding outcomes and we can find the best place on that spectrum for her and her baby. You see, breastfeeding can be more then the “100%” outcome and still be an amazing relationship for you and your baby.
There are so many factors that can affect the breastfeeding relationship. Milk supply or sucking issues can often be addressed with qualified lactation support with an IBCLC, but not all issues are easily fixed and sometimes there are factors outside of our control.
In these situations, sometimes it’s best not to focus on the “100%” outcome but the outcome that fits best. The one that fits the situation, the breastfeeding parent and the baby ideally. And it may not look like the “100%” outcomes in books and blogs or your best friend's experience but for that family it will be the best. If we don’t hold so tightly to only seeing the 100% at the breast exclusively outcomes and take a look at all the possibilities between that and not breastfeeding at all, you will find a place on that spectrum that will fit you and your baby the best.
I encourage you to seek support and assistance from a well-trained IBCLC whose sole purpose is to guide you to YOUR best outcome.