I’ve been trying to sit down long enough to create this post for the better half of two months now. Yes, you read that right. Two months. As in it’s taken me 30 days – twice – to sit at my computer to just type.
And as I type this, I have a two-month-old baby rocking sound asleep next to me, a jug of water I struggle with every day to drink sitting in front of me and a breast pump attached to me that I’m sure is determined to twist my lady utter off. Oh and did I mention I’m doing all this in 2-day old pajamas? Yes, that’s a fact and one I’m just going to casually glide right on over (hey, us Mamas pick our battles!)
Though it’s only been two months, motherhood has arrived for this first time Mama full force, guns a blazin’, full throttle, pedal to the metal . . . you get it. No two days have been the same and I’m sure now that I have a child (which still hasn’t sunk) this is my new norm. But, I have learned a few things during these early days that I’d like to share because the truth is; I wish I had known all this before hand. Oy vey!
Breastfeeding sucks . . . until it doesn’t: I could stop there and that would suffice but bare with me here. The debate between breastfeeding and formula is real and never-ending. What’s most important is a child’s health, nourishment, and progressive development. How a mother chooses to fulfill her child’s hunger is entirely up to her but for me, breastfeeding was the only option.
During my pregnancy, I did my fair share – as in obsessively but same thing . . . right? – of research on many topics but specifically on breastfeeding, the best way to keep a healthy milk supply flow and what makes up the perfect latch. Every blog post or article I came across spoke about how peaceful, fulfilling, sacred and even spiritual breastfeeding one’s baby can be.
I tackled pregnancy one stage at a time and after tackling labor, breastfeeding was my next focus and can I just say holy cow! (pun intended ☺). The first two days were incredibly challenging!
This little human that was now my full responsibility was hungry (often!) and I couldn’t figure out how to administer his only source of food. Every time I tried to latch him on, I felt like I was forcibly stuffing his little mouth. In my mind’s eye, I was making it easier for him to find the source to fill his tummy but what I had in my arms was a wailing, frustrated and hangry (yes that’s a real feeling. He must get it from me. oops!) little guy. This resulted in my feeling incredibly overwhelmed, defeated and simply amateurish.
Doctors and nurses encouraged me to give him formula and a few times I was very close to pressing the help button to request some but something in me wouldn’t do it.
And that was only on day 1! Sheesh!
On day two, the once polite and professional doctors and nurses failed miserably at hiding their frustration with me. They made me feel like a bad Mom; a new Mom who was failing miserably already at motherhood. One who was too stubborn and selfish to throw in the towel when I could’ve just popped a bottle in my little one’s mouth.
Then it changed.
On day three something just cliqued. Yeap, just like that!
We had our first nursing session that lasted more than 2 minutes and it was effortless and it was relieving and it was magical! (all those blogs and articles were right!)
Afterward, I tried to figure out what worked and I realized that all I did differently was everything. I stopped trying to get him to latch and that’s when he did (cue blinking light bulb!).
I relaxed enough to let him control the feeding session and it worked. I did nothing but stay calm and follow his lead. This provided him with the unrushed time and patience to latch on all on his own that I didn’t know he needed.
Needless to say, this moment was one of the most emotional moments I’ve had thus far as a new Mama. Not to mention all I learned in the few seconds it took him to latch on!
I learned very quickly that being less than a week old didn’t mean he wasn’t able to figure it out for himself.
I learned very quickly that it’s ok for me as his Mama to let him teach me what works best for him.
I learned that breastfeeding might have a standard for what makes a perfect latch, but how long it takes each Mama and Baby to master it does not.
I learned that I do have what it takes to provide my child with what he needs.
And finally, I learned very quickly that we are a team. We’ll challenge each other and teach one another and that doesn’t make me as a new mom any less important, smart or equipped than a seasoned one.
If you’re a Mama whose tackled breastfeeding more than once, did breastfeeding differ for each child? What helped you and your baby master breastfeeding? How long did you breastfeed for? And tips for us first-time Mamas are always appreciated!
If you’re a new Mama reading this: first, thanks for sticking with me (!) and secondly, stick with it. If breastfeeding is your chosen method for feeding your little one, stick with it and trust that little person. They’re wiser than we think they can be at such a young age. Even if they haven’t even realized that they have fingers and toes yet! ☺