It’s Spring, well almost! For many it signals a fresh start and new beginnings, reassessment and setting goals or resetting those forgotten New Years resolutions. So perhaps now is a great time to consider your own breastfeeding goals.
Many of us will have started out on our breastfeeding journey with hopes and intentions for what breastfeeding would mean for us. Whether it was a simple “I plan to breastfeed”, or, “I will breastfeed my child for 12 months/ 21 months / as long as they need it and I can provide it”. Perhaps you went further than just the time period, “I will breastfeed on demand.” “I will breastfeed to a set schedule.” “I will make breastfeeding time quality time with my child and avoid distractions.”
It is a great idea to set goals for your breastfeeding hopes. When it is really hard – at the start, or when you get mastitis, or when you are sick, or when your nipples are just so, so sore – your ultimate goals will help you to fight through. They will help keep you focused on the great thing you are doing for your child.
Whatever your current status: you’re pregnant: you and your newborn are learning the art of the latch: you’re 18 months deep into breastfeeding, now is as good a time as any to think about these breastfeeding intentions. Set a goal, set ten. Re-set your goals. But congratulate yourself on the progress you have already made. You plan to breastfeed that little nugget in your tummy? Go you, what a perfect start! You’re pumping every day during work but then your little one cluster feeds when you get home? Nice work, you have a freezer full of breast milk all ready for when things change!
My personal goal back in 2014, was to breastfeed for 12 months, and also to pump to allow my husband to do some bottle-feeding too. As it transpired I breastfed our son for almost 14 months but we never really managed the bottle-feeding part. I was able to pump but my husband and I were inconsistent with the bottle feeds. (As a stay at home mom I was always on hand to breastfeed and my husband’s working hours meant that he wasn’t around at feed times.)
Do I mind that I didn’t achieve both of my goals? Ultimately no. This was my first child and I didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know the ways in which our lives would change and the new routines that would appear. Every now and again, we’d try to re-set and think, right, I’m pumping milk and I will give A a bottle, or my husband would be home from work for a few days in a row and we would intentionally try the bottle again. I felt that we tried to achieve the goals I had set at the start, but using the different parameters that had developed.
The point I am trying to make here is that we have to be real with ourselves. Set goals, they will do you good. But don’t be afraid to change those goals either.
What do you think your 2017 breastfeeding goals might be? Are they different from your 2016 ones?