By Guest Blogger Julie Fritz

When I was pregnant with my first child I remember thinking, if I can breastfeed, great. If not, that’s okay too. I just wasn’t going to put any pressure on myself to do it.  

Like most first time moms, I was already overwhelmed with the idea of caring for an infant and what our new life would be like. There were so many people in my life that had told me about their struggles with breastfeeding and how it made them feel bad about themselves. It was clear to me that I did not want that to be my experience. I figured I would just go with the flow, and see what happened. Luckily for me, it ended up working out and being a really special part of my family life.  

There were a few factors that helped to make my experience with breastfeeding a good one.

With my first child, we planned for a natural birth and had a doula on our birth team. My birth did not go as expected, and after a long, grueling labor I had a c-section. The blessing in this was the doula was there to assist me in my first feeding. If I had been in the recovery room without her, I’m not even sure I would have thought to attempt it. She showed me how to guide my son and what a good latch should look like. There is also an amazing team of lactation consultants at the hospital who are available around the clock to assist you. I took advantage of that by alerting them when I was ready to nurse and asking them to check on me if they had time. They were so gracious and very kind. I never felt like I was bothering them or that they were pushing me.

When I left the hospital I found that our community has great resources too. Novant Health Nursing Mother’s Place has a scale for free baby weight checks and a great selection of clothing, pumps, support pillows and even lactation cookies to help you on journey. I rented my pump through them with both my children and they filed it with my insurance for me. They can also connect you to a lactation consultant if you have any questions.  

Another great resource is the New Mothers Group at North Joy Yoga on the first and third Thursday of each month at 11:45 am. Penelope, a lactation consultant from the hospital, brings a baby scale to the yoga studio after the Mommy Baby Yoga Class.  She is there to answer any questions you may have about breastfeeding your child or really any questions about you or your baby in general. There is no charge for this group and its also a great way to meet other new moms.  

The La Leche League of NC also provides group meetings in our area for breastfeeding support and can also help you connect with other breastfeeding moms.

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to nurse both of my children. Being a working mom has made it a challenge at times and without the support I found in my community and in my family I know it would not have been possible.

The bottom line is that breastfeeding has been great for me, but it is not for everyone and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Isn’t it amazing that we live in a time where there are ways to supplement your child’s nutritional needs and we all have the opportunity to make the right decision for our own families? We should all support one another’s choices and remember that we have to build other moms up and not tear them down for making different choices than our own. Every family is different, but one thing is the same. We all love our children and want to do what is best for them.