How to Meet Your Breastfeeding Milestones
Are you eager to have a joyous breastfeeding experience and feed your baby the recommended amount of time? It helps to have a goal in mind, right? Goals propel you to achieve greatness! Have you set breastfeeding milestones for yourself? Setting milestones can help you achieve your goals. They can have the same impact on your breastfeeding journey as personal or professional goals can have on your life. I help breastfeeding moms feel confident in their breastfeeding journey so that they can meet their breastfeeding goals.
Why Set Goals to Meet Breastfeeding Milestones?
Let’s dive into the topic of setting goals so you can achieve your breastfeeding milestones. This topic is near and dear to my heart. Maybe because of my prior corporate experience. I love setting my own goals, and I love helping moms achieve their goals with breastfeeding especially.
I think goals are so important to all aspects of our life. So, let’s talk about a few examples. Have you ever set a goal to lose weight or maybe you’ve set a professional goal to complete a training or certification within a specified timeframe? Both of these are great examples of goals. Breastfeeding is no different than these examples–they help us accomplish something that we really want and believe in!
So let’s talk about why we want to have breastfeeding goals.
- Goals help us stick to what we want. So we really want to breastfeed our baby, right? If that’s your goal, then the goal creates a driving force for you to do that. Every day we hear about successful people accomplishing things, and I can guarantee you, one of their commonalities is that they set a goal to achieve their desire!
- Goals help you clarify what it is that you desire to do. And in this case, we’re talking about breastfeeding your baby and having goals to achieve that. Goals also help you keep a positive mindset if you’re working toward a goal. When you have your goals at the forefront of your mind, you can maintain that positive frame of mind to help you achieve it.
- Goals help you stay focused on your situation. This means focusing without having to pay attention to the noise and maybe other people’s stories that are going on inside of our head. Limiting beliefs can creep into our experiences sometimes. How many times have you talked to a family member, a friend, someone that you found on the internet, wherever it may be, and they share their breastfeeding story with you and you start getting discouraged, or you start doubting your own experience because of what they’ve told you? I see this happening all the time to mamas because they let beliefs creep into their own situation.
So that’s why I think it’s crucial that we have our own breastfeeding goals so that we can keep those in mind throughout our journey. And there will be tough days. There will definitely be tough days of breastfeeding. Nothing worth having comes easy. So it’s important to remember what your goals are so that you can get through the hard days and you can meet your breastfeeding milestones!
There will be days that you doubt things, which is why you want to establish goals (and find support), to be able to get you through those times. So now let’s dive into five tips for setting breastfeeding goals.
How to Set Goals to Meet Your Breastfeeding Milestones
Be specific in your goal setting. The more specific they are, the better. You’ve probably heard of setting SMART goals right? That means that they are:
5 Steps to Setting Your Goals
1. Identify your why.
The first thing you really want to do in setting your breastfeeding goals is to identify your why. Why do you want to breastfeed your baby and for the length of time you specify? Maybe it’s the convenience. Maybe it’s the fact that breastmilk is free in a monetary sense, or it provides the best possible nutrition for your baby that exists in the world, right?
Your breastmilk is uniquely made for our babies, and so maybe that’s your reason. Whatever your reasoning is, find it. And I want you to dig deep down in your soul to find that reason and why you want to breastfeed your baby because this is what you’re going to rely on whenever you’re having those tough days. And this is what you’re going to rely on whenever you are creating your breastfeeding goals.
2. Start with small incremental goals that will lead to larger ones.
For example, my goal is to breastfeed my baby exclusively for the first 6 weeks of the baby’s life. The first six weeks are typically the hardest as you learn to breastfeed, so this can be a good one to start with. If you’re a first-time mom, breastfeeding is totally new, and although it comes naturally, it takes practice. So be easy on yourself during this time and established just a small goal to get through that time. I know a dear friend of mine actually shared with us that the first several weeks are survival mode. Then maybe your next goal is three months, and then after that six months, and then maybe your baby’s first birthday or beyond.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that moms breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first year, and the World Health Organization recommends for two years. More is better in this situation as long as all parties want to continue breastfeeding. So keep some of those facts in mind too, as you’re creating your breastfeeding goals.
3. Share your goals with others.
Share your goals with the people in your life that are your cheerleaders and your supporters. You don’t need to share your breastfeeding goals with the people that don’t resonate with you or the people that don’t show interest. If there are people in your family that don’t believe in breastfeeding or have negative comments to say when you mention something about breastfeeding, you don’t need to feel obligated to share your goals with them. It is not going to serve you or them positively.
You want to make sure that you’re sharing your goals with people that will hold you accountable with people that are in your corner with people that are supporting you in your journey. The ones that are checking on you, seeing how breastfeeding is going. Maybe that’s not someone in your family. Maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s someone that you met online in a mama’s group. It may be your pediatrician that is breastfeeding-friendly. Maybe it’s your doula, maybe it’s your lactation consultant, whoever it is, find someone that will listen and support you so you can stay accountable to meet your breastfeeding milestones.
4. Post your goals where they are visible.
You can hang them in your bathroom or your refrigerator, or create a screensaver for your phone. You really want to use visualization at least once a day to imagine yourself at the end goal.
Imagine breastfeeding your baby on their one year birthday. Make that vision really clear in your mind. What does that look like to you? If you’re wanting to breastfeed your baby until they’re a year old (at least) imagine yourself rocking your baby and nursing your baby on their one year birthday. How amazing is that image? That is so powerful. So these visualization techniques can really help, and you reaching your goal. If you can’t visualize the one year mark, bridge the gap by starting with a smaller, more visible and attainable goal like 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, or whatever the time frame that’s right for you. Start with near term goals and expand them to long-term goals.
5. Get support right away.
Don’t wait! Don’t let one hard day in your breastfeeding journey sabotage your whole entire breastfeeding experience. Just like anything in life you will need to push through those hard days to meet our goals. The good news is…you don’t have to do it alone! Reach out to a lactation specialist right away, the sooner the better to help us help you!
I often hear moms say one of the best pieces of advice they got was to keep pushing through on the hard days because it will get easier.
I couldn’t agree more. So keep in mind the breastfeeding milestones you want to achieve and the goals that will get you there. Keep your eye on the prize (your “why”).
If you’re looking for more breastfeeding tips, I invite you to enroll in the Lactation Mamas breastfeeding course that I created for new moms like you so that you can feel confident in your breastfeeding journey. I talk about goals to meet breastfeeding milestones in more detail. I also included affirmations that you can use for your journey as well cause they can be so, so powerful, especially coupled with visualization techniques. And I feel mindset is such a huge part of breastfeeding.
Drop your goals in the comments of this post! Let me know where you’re at currently with your breastfeeding journey and what your next breastfeeding goal is. I’d love to hear from you.