Dear New Moms,
You’re tired, infatuated, emotional, and so loved. The little person that you grew from a tiny cell has already given you glimpses of personality, and is now a breathing and all-consuming being showing more of themselves every day.
A being that eats, and eats, and eats.
Breastfeeding seemed so straight forward, so natural, and so right. Now that your little wonder is here, it may not be as easy as you’d hoped. Breastfeeding is hard and it’s messy. It’s not only okay, but significant, to acknowledge that. Your journey belongs to you and that little one alone.
At first, it may feel awkward and foreign as you and baby develop your breastfeeding rhythm. You may wonder why you had wanted this so much. You may decide that you don’t and that’s okay, too. This journey is just as much about you as it is this baby; don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
Some days may seem perfect, with every feeding going well and you don’t question whether or not your babe has had enough. Other days you may fight back tears through a painful latch, or wish for even that. I want you to know that you are stronger than you previously had the chance to know.
Lactation consultants have a wealth of knowledge, but sometimes they forget what it’s like to be on the other side as a new breastfeeding mom. Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself or seek a second opinion. You are the only one who knows your body and baby’s habits inside and out.
Your partner’s experience is all new, too. They’ve seen you transform before their eyes. You’ve shown your strength and resilience and continue to show them more every day. Help them to know what you need. They can help to keep you fed and hydrated when that’s the last thing from your mind.
Your tribe is more important than ever. It can be frustrating to learn that those who used to say all the right things are no longer able to calm your restless brain or ease your concerns. You may need to look in new places to find breastfeeding support and a shared experience or expertise. The shift doesn’t have to be permanent, but it’s important to find what makes you feel comfortable and empowered.
Pumping is also breastfeeding. Whether you exclusively pump, primarily nurse, and/or supplement, you are doing amazing things for this little baby. And if you decide it’s time to move on, that’s okay, too. Your mental health, your time, and your comfort are all very important.
Mamma, you’ve got this. Each day will bring new opportunities for you and your baby to know each other better. Relax. Let yourself breath. Let yourself enjoy this for as long as you want to.