Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Breastfeeding
Hey everyone! How are you? Cheers to a happy, and relaxing weekend. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to share some of my experiences with breastfeeding, a few tips, plus the things that REALLY helped me get through the toughest days.
In retrospect, I was one of the lucky ones. X Baby didn't have much trouble latching. Sure, it was a learning curve for the both of us. Once I made my mind up to breastfeed her, though, I was really, really intentional about surrounding myself with support systems and resources. Learning to care for a baby really does take a village - whatever that looks like for you. For some of us, it is our own mamás or tías; for others, is is the families we create for ourselves.
1. Find a Support System: While I do not know what I would have done without my mom the first months after X Baby was born (or even now), I had to search for breastfeeding answers elsewhere. Sure she breastfed us for a little while, but it had been so long ago. I had to really seek like-minded mamas so that I wouldn't feel so alone breastfeeding a wailing, tiny human.
I know I sound like a broken record always singing About Family's praises - but they host weekly breastfeeding clinics for breastfeeding mamas at every stage, with actual lactation consultants. If you're local and struggling please, please check them out. They were my saving grace on so many occasions. I would go to clinic before X even arrived to interrogate the mamas - how the heck were they doing it!? I needed to know.
2. Relax: I know this might sound silly from someone who had so much anxiety during and after her pregnancy. But if there is one thing I would tell a stressed out mama, it is that it is going to be O-K-A-Y. I read somewhere that babies are an extension of their mamas the first few months of their lives. While this concept is beautiful, it means they are an extension of ALL of us - the good and the bad.
They know and react to your being stressed out. While our (at least mine was) natural response to a hungry, crying baby may be keep trying to get them to latch for-the-love-of-god-! sometimes it is just as important to step away, take a deep breath, and try again a few minutes later. Your baby will respond to the fact that your shoulders are no longer tense, and follow suit.
3. Nothing is going to happen to your baby: Your baby is going to be fine whether you have to give them one or ten feeding's worth of formula, or even if you have to switch over completely. I had so much anxiety when I had to travel for work because my stored milk supply ran out in a heartbeat. The only thing I could leave behind with her was formula. She didn't much like it, and always preferred my boob - I think part of my anxiety stemmed from the thought that she was going to reject me when I came home.
If I could go back in time, I would pull up a chair next to myself, give my shoulders a quick rub, and tell myself not to worry so much. Babies are brought up countless ways, breastmilk, formula and otherwise.
4. Enjoy the ride: Sometimes, when I really have to pee at night, and she is still on my boob, for example, I have to remind myself of this even now. At the beginning, after every successful latch and feeding, ALL the dopamine would rush through my body. I felt so GOOD. Even now I still get that rush sometimes.
However, some days are hard. I am tired. I want my boobs and body back. I want to be able to cuddle with my husband without a tiny human laying between us. All the time that those thoughts flutter to the surface, though, I remind myself that this is all just so temporary. Her first year went by in a FLASH. I can literally picture her as a teenager slamming the door in my face. I know I am going to miss, miss, MISS these moments. I let them pass through me though. I acknowledge them, and thank them for making me that much more grateful and intentional about our journey together.
I will be sure to share additional resources over the weekend. For now, I am off to Zumba!
Thanks for following along!