What’s the Secret to Breastfeeding Success?
There’s a study that says personality can determine your breastfeeding success, but I say determination trumps personality every time.
Recently, the Journal of Advanced Nursing released a study done by Amy Brown, PhD, of Swansea University in the United Kingdom, in which a mom’s personality is linked to the amount of effort and time put into breastfeeding babies. Ultimately, if a woman is more of an extrovert and less anxious in general, she had a greater chance of breastfeeding longer and seeking help to overcome obstacles verse an introvert with more anxiety, who may be more fearful to not only breastfeed around others, but is less likely to seek help.
When I read about this study, and Dr. Brown’s findings, a light bulb went off in my head as I thought about the struggles I had to breastfeed my first born. While some view me as being more outgoing than others, the truth is that I do tend to be shy and fearful to ask questions of experts. The more I get to know someone, the more comfortable I am; however, that takes time for me, and is more of a struggle in real life then in social media.
Truth be told, though, is that in the four years since I had my daughter, Abby, I’ve gotten a lot better about being open and speaking up with questions. And as I’m a little over halfway baking baby sister, I’ve already begun to reach out to others for help on breastfeeding, and especially tips and tricks to boost your breast milk supply.
You see, my daughter was born with vocal cord paralysis nearly four years ago, and was unable to nurse because she aspirated. She ended up being fed via an NG tube, spending the first 11 days of her life in the hospital, and we slowly were able to wean her onto a bottle, and eventually at 6 weeks, after several weeks of trying to get her to breastfeed once we got the go ahead, Abby figured out how to latch. I thought all our problems were solved, and never spoke up to ask for help.
But really, my supply was never great. I pumped from day one; however, I was not producing enough. I never spoke up at the hospital when I first started pumping utilizing a hospital grade pump. I never sought out answers when my frozen stash of breast milk dwindled and I had to start sending formula bottles with her to daycare. And at seven months old when Abby was getting more formula than breast milk, I decided it was the end of the road for us and nursing/pumping.
And I sit here thinking about how I could have tried harder. How I could have sought assistance form a lactation consultant. How I could have reached out to other moms for support. How I could have read more on the subject of breastfeeding.
So as I’m 17 weeks away from my due date, I’m committing myself to be more proactive. I’m committed to working through my anxiousness, which has clouded my mind throughout my lifetime, to not hold my feelings and frustrations in. And if I give it my all with baby sister, and do my best, yet still find myself having struggles with breastfeeding and pumping, I’ll be OK with that, because I will have known that I tried wholeheartedly. There is nothing wrong with having to utilize formula, but I just know for me and my family, we’re steadfast with our desires to breastfeed.
Definitively, Dr. Brown concluded that helping moms to educate themselves about breastfeeding is key to get more moms onboard and committed. She said, “The important message from the findings is that some mothers may face more challenges with breastfeeding based on their wider personality. Although they may want to breastfeed, more introverted or anxious mothers may need further support in boosting their confidence and learning about how to solve problems, and they may need encouragement to make sure they access the breastfeeding support services that are available.”
And I already think I’m on this path to helping to boost my own confidence and problem solve instead of giving up so quickly. I’m searching out local resources. I’m calling on my friends, and have already begun asking questions, especially to those who are working moms and rely on pumping at work to provide sustenance for their babies. Mostly, I’m grateful for this study, in the hopes other moms or expectant moms, just like myself, will read it and know they can overcome obstacles if they take more chances.
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