I always knew I would breastfeed my baby. I believe breastfeeding is how our babies were meant to get nourishment – of course if there was a reason I couldn’t then I was willing to accept that, but I come from a long line of very maternal women so that, coupled with my dedication I knew we would make it.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how difficult the first month is. One would imagine that if we are equipped to feed our babies and that is how they are meant to survive then it would be a no brainer right?
Well I was one of the more fortunate ones, one of my dearest friends had a daughter a few years before me and insisted we use her birth doula – and that is where the knowledge began to flow. One of our birthing classes was dedicated to the BABEs and it was more material than I ever thought would be needed. I was grateful, I felt as though I was now armed with information, and that alone can be a savior.
As my pregnancy progressed I was feeling ready and calm and excited to be a mother. The 36 week ultrasound arrived and we found out our little girl was breech – I always knew she would walk to the beat of her own drum but didn’t think it would happen that soon! I started to fear, since I had never even had a tooth pulled up to this point, and I was now facing major surgery. I was worried about breastfeeding and latching and all those other fears that I never thought about. All I knew were two things – whatever we had to do for my baby to arrive in this world healthy we would do, and we were breastfeeding. Armed with knowledge and commitment as well as an extremely supportive OB, I asked my birth doula to help me latch the second we came out of surgery.
Mia arrived in a hurry ready to meet this world. I was able to hold her within minutes while they stitched me up so we started right away with skin to skin. Our doula was waiting in the recovery room and swooped in to latch Mia on, and we were in business. Or so I thought… all I can say is breastfeeding the first month is HARD! The first few days are a blur – I was recovering from major surgery and I had a tiny baby and huge boobs. The BABEs were called immediately for an in home consultation. She latched well, but I positioned her poorly due to my immobility in the beginning, so my nipples got pretty damaged. I stayed positive and dedicated. Once we got home Mia decided she didn’t like my left nipple so for a while I would always offer both but she only ate the right, and I pumped the left every time she ate the right – sometimes every 2 hours. Then of course she damaged my right nipple and thankfully took the left but then I pumped the right every 2 hours for about a week. Through it all we persevered. Mia is now five months old healthy and happy and taking both boobs. I have a stash of about 200 ounces in the freezer, and I am back at work pumping as much as she is drinking while at daycare.
Breast feeding is about devotion and awareness- if you want it badly enough you two will work through it. I make lactation cookies, drink 5 liters of water a day and have mother’s milk tea. I still wake up once at night to pump if she sleeps through, but I know this is the best start I can give her along with love and affection. I still worry all the time about being back at work, but feeding my child the best possible trumps all. Every day is different and some days are hard still, but I just take it one step at a time and look at the bigger picture.
My dear friend just had her first baby less than a week ago in France, she texts me constantly for advice which I gained through my experience and through amazing support like the BABEs. I like to explain the first month this way – though you imagine that you and your baby will just know what to do, in reality, you two are meeting for the first time, you haven’t learned each other’s manner or personality and that takes time. Breastfeeding is a relationship you build with your child – be patient and positive and loving and open you two will find your own unique way to nourish and love.