If breastfeeding is making you feel anxious or down, you are not alone. Many mothers internalize their difficulties with breastfeeding as a reflection on their capability as a mother, and may feel a little ashamed.
Here are some things that may help:
There are resources out there that can help answer your questions, even if it takes a little bit of effort to get it. Your hospital or doctor’s office may be able to help with lactation consultants and to provide general advice. There are also some good online information resources, like La Leche International or KellyMom.com.
If you’re feeling anxious about your milk flowing, you can try exercises that help you access your soothing system before and during nursing. While breastfeeding may make you feel anxious, this can make it hard for your milk to let down. You can try visualization techniques and soothing rhythm breathing, both found in the app. Even just taking a few deep breaths while you close your eyes and think about your baby may help.
Whether you’re nursing or deciding not to, remember to try to take pressure off of yourself by remembering what you would counsel a loved one to do. You might advise them to do what’s right for them, and try to comfort them if they were feeling badly about it. Setting this precedent of being kind to yourself will make it easier for you to continue making decisions this way in the long-term--which is a good example to set for yourself and your baby.