The benefits of breast-feeding for both moms and babies are hard to overstate: Research suggests breast-fed infants will go on to have lower risks of developing health conditions like asthma and Type 2 diabetes, while other research shows that moms who breast-feed end up with a lower risk of certain types of breast cancer.
All of this is why experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and The American Academy of Pediatrics encourage new mothers to breast-feed their newborns exclusively for the first six months of life.
What’s not talked about as much, however, is that as natural as breast-feeding is, it's not that easy to figure out how to do it. “The most important thing for moms to know is that breast-feeding is difficult, and it is a learning process,” says Fahimeh Sasan, DO and assistant professor of Obstetrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. “For first-time moms, it can take several weeks to master the process.”
So if you’re having a hard time, don’t worry — you aren’t alone. We spoke to some experts to get some insight on what to expect, and some practical tips for making it easier.