August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
In honor of the event, I thought I’d write a letter about breastfeeding…to myself. This letter would have helped me immensely three years go, when I was hugely pregnant and just about to welcome my firstborn daughter into the world.
Here it is – a letter from the post-kids me to the pre-kids me.
Please keep in mind that this is a letter to me and may not necessarily apply to your particular situation or experience. This is not medical advice. It is, quite simply, what I would have wanted to know way back then.
You are about to embark on the most incredible journey of your life. Motherhood is going to change your life in ways you can’t even imagine. You’ll scream when you feel your baby’s head crowning. And then – in that moment – you will be forever changed.
The love that you feel will be overwhelming, glorious, miraculous, mesmerizing. I know you think you know what that will be like, but you don’t. You really don’t.
You’ll be amazed when your newborn is placed on your bare chest, skin-to-skin. You’ll look up and smile at your husband – joyful, triumphant. And then – miracle of miracles – your baby will move her head to your chest and begin suckling as if she’s done it one hundred times before. It will be natural. It will be beautiful…
But then it will be painful. You will bleed. You will crack. You will cry. Your knuckles will grasp your chair and you will bite your lip to keep from screaming.
But it will be worth it. It will be amazing. Nursing will bond you to your baby deeply, so deeply. You’ll soon begin to regard milk as “magic” because it calms your baby, soothes her, nourishes her, protects her.
It won’t be a piece of cake in the beginning though.
To make things easier on yourself, be sure to have the following products on-hand:
|Lansinoh Lanolin Nursing Cream|
|Lansinoh Ultra-Soft Nursing Pads|
|3 Good Nursing Bras:
– Melinda G Tee-Shirt Nursing Softcup #2115
– Melinda G 2160 Glorious Contour Tee-Shirt Soft Cup Nursing Bra
– Bravado Microfiber Nursing Bra
|Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover|
|Majamas MJ Maternity/Nursing Pajamas (or another nursing nightgown/PJ set)|
|My Brest Friend or Boppy nursing pillow|
Also, remember these things:
- Forget the nursing logs and ignore the clock. The nurse will give you a chart to “record” all of your baby’s feedings and peeings and poopings. Put it aside and sleep instead. Feed your baby whenever she seems hungry. Don’t try to feed her by the clock. Relax.
- Learn to nurse lying down – pronto. The sooner you can learn this technique, the more sleep you will get. If necessary, call up one of your friends who is a nursing mama and have her demonstrate.
- Co-sleep without shame. Co-sleeping is a boon for nursing moms. You don’t have to tiptoe around the subject. Co-sleeping is good for you and your baby. You’ll sleep better. She’ll sleep better. Do it proudly.
- Nurse in public without hesitation. There’s no need to feed her in a roasting car or in a locked bedroom. Wear a nursing-friendly top or a camisole under your tee, bring your nursing cover along, and you’ll be able to nurse discreetly and modestly with ease. Anywhere. Anytime.
- Don’t feel pressure to leave your baby. You will prefer to have your baby with you. Your husband will feel the same. But “outside sources” will try to convince you that you should go on a date night or attend a Christmas party without your baby. Just smile and say, “no thank you.”
- Enjoy every single moment of baby bliss. Babies are only babies for a little while. You won’t be able to imagine it now, but pretty soon you’ll blink and a beautiful, bright, compassionate preschooler will be in front of you. She’ll be gorgeous. She’ll be kind. She’ll be a great conversationalist and a deep thinker. But now – right now – she’s your baby. Hold her and kiss her and stare at her all you want.
An older, wiser, more experienced YOU
P.S. It’s okay to let your baby sleep on her tummy (she is right beside you, after all..and you are totally tuned into her breathing patterns). She will sleep so much better that way – and so will you.