We are in week 3 and my very hungry caterpillar and I have been attached at the boob. I'm no sure folks realize this but breastfeeding is probably harder than labor and delivery. Both are very emotional and physical. Personally breastfeeding though is much harder because it runs through the highs and lows of every emotion and it goes against what most women in the Western hemisphere are told is norm.
The most important thing about breastfeeding is support. All women need a good support system for breastfeeding. There are so many myths and old wives tales associated with breastfeeding that many mean well but only make it that much harder for a breastfeeding mom.
The stress of breastfeeding can be high and if you ever wanted to see how stress can effect your body, breastfeeding is a visual cue. Stress will cause your milk volume to decrease. Your baby will tell you by giving you the signs he/she wants more. If you pump, you'll see a low quantity. Both will cause you to stress more.
That's when your support group will reassure and and remind you to relax and to allow the natural cycle and instincts to kick in.
The other hard part of breastfeeding is how all giving it is. Especially in the first weeks. There will be times where you feel like all you are doing is nursing. From what I see, this is normal.
For me breastfeeding is the tougher than labor and delivery but it is just as fulfilling if not more. I know it's not for all and that's ok. I just hope that women give it a try and ask for the support and get the support one needs to make the experience as best as possible. I fear most women, especially in the US don't get the support they deserve and need.