As a new mom, I know that once you’ve walked the long road of pregnancy, you should be ready to start swimming down the luminous river of raising a baby.
I had a rough pregnancy and my labor, like every other woman, was unexpected and full of its own surprises. When my Little guy turns one, I’ll rehash the memory of how he decided to enter the world.
As a first time mom, it is completely daunting to begin the dance of motherhood. I remember (and still do in many ways) feeling lost and overwhelmed by the demands and fears associated with a taking care of a newborn. I wanted to share some tips I’ve discovered along the journey that will hopefully help all the other new mamas out there. I’ll start with the most important topic.
When I was pregnant I did a little research on breastfeeding. Enough to know that there was a chance I could be one of the many women who could not breastfeed but still, I didn’t really put too much thought into it. My sister sent me her breast pump and I put it in the nursery and promptly forgot about it.
Then Little makes his appearance and he’s a tiny 6lbs 12 oz and the most beautiful person I have ever met in my life. I start nursing him shortly, I don’t really recall when as I ended up having an unplanned c-section.
Anyhow, the nurses are oohing and awing about how good a latcher he is. I’m cracked out from the drugs and worrying about my milk as my colustrum looks like orange gel to me. The nurses are telling me it looks like we’re doing it right but I still think something is wrong. During the second night, I nurse him for 5 hours straight and I can’t do it anymore. We send him to the nursery so I can sleep that night. The day of check out the nurses finally say “He’s lost too much weight” and suggest we speak to the lactation specialist.
OK,Tip 1, if you birth in the hospital ask immediately to work with a lactation specialist. Even if everything is going as smooth as a pie, it’s a shame to waste the chance of using such a valuable resource. It never even crossed my mind to ask the nurses about working with someone since they all seemed to think everything was peachy keen. Also, trust your gut. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t vocalize it. I guess I hadn’t found my MAMA voice yet.
My milk did not come in until day 8 and when it finally did, I was so engorged that I still could not nurse. I broke down many time about this. I never wanted a drop of formula to touch my child’s lips and while I was able to take advantage of donated milk from friends, I had to turn aside my convictions and realize that it was not about me, it was about him. If I had the foresight, I would have assembled the ingredients to make the Weston A Price Raw Milk Baby Formula. I did try to find donor milk banks in the area and came across The Human Milk Banking Association.
This brings me to Tip 2, find every resource that will help you and connect with other moms. There is nothing worse than feeling alone and overwhelmed. Some of the best sites I found were Kelly Mom, La Leche League, Dr Sears and Breastfeeding Inc . Don’t forget to check with your local hospital. Finding mom friends is a little tougher, especially if you are new in the area or a home body, but I’ve used Meetup as a great resource.
Tip 3 is the hardest one. Learn how to let go and realize that your expectations of motherhood are seldom helpful and often, get in the way of the journey. The days before my milk came in we used the Supplemenal Nursing system and it sucked the big one. I could not work my boob and the system without the help of my husband. Three days before my husband went back to work, I threw in the tire and started bottlefeeding the Little. There was so much stress and disappointment in the early days from this that even now when breastfeeding is a simple every day act, I still get stressed out about it.
I wish all you mamas out there the best as you start this journey. If you have any questions or want to share a tip that I missed please leave a comment.