Breastfeeding Rohan has been completely different than breastfeeding his older brother. We had our problems during his first several weeks of life - tongue and lip ties which led to vasospasms, cracked nipples, and so. much. pain.
Once we had the ties repaired, things got much better. During those agonizing weeks, I swore that I wouldn't nurse him until six months because it hurt so bad. Now we've been nursing for just over 12 months, and there's no signs of weaning yet. Here are a few tips for setting and achieving your breastfeeding goals:
Break down your goals
If you start to think about breastfeeding a toddler while you're still holding a newborn, there is a good chance you will get overwhelmed thinking about the many days and months ahead of you. Break your goal down into smaller, short term goals: focus on getting to one month, six weeks, three months, etc. You may even have to take it one feeding at a time. That's okay.
Find support from other moms
Whether it's an online community or an in-person breastfeeding group, a group of like-minded women can help. They will hold your hand through the low points and celebrate your victories with you. In addition to supporting you with breastfeeding, many moms find long lasting friendships in these groups. It's a wonderful way to build a mama tribe.
Find a trusted lactation consultant
Peer support is crucial, but so is finding a knowledgeable, caring lactation consultant. The best referrals are often through word of mouth. Ask other breastfeeding moms who they used and save their information for the future. If you don't have any other nursing mom friends, you can use this handy dandy lookup to find a board certified lactation consultant near you. She can be your resource for more than just breastfeeding concerns: many lactation consultants are filled with great info on starting solids, questions about sleep, and breastfeeding friendly health care providers.
Take a prenatal breastfeeding class if you're a first time mom (or if it's been a while since you've breastfed), or read a good book as a refresher. Despite my knowledge and background, there was still a good amount of stuff that I had forgotten since I last breastfed a newborn. In addition to books and classes, there are many online resources, including many evidence based websites.
Stay focused on what works best for you, your baby, and your situation. It's easy to compare and stress yourself out - every baby and situation is different. Remember that YOU define breastfeeding success and set your own breastfeeding goals. It's okay to adjust your goals as you go along. Good luck, mama!