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I’ll never forget my first introduction to the wonder of breastfeeding. I woke at 2 AM to find two nurses, one standing on either side of my hospital bed. One nurse was holding my boob and the other was holding my new son. Medicated though I was, I caught on to what was expected of me; so I slurred my intention of taking over and flopped my almost useless hands in the direction of my poor, hungry baby.
They wisely insisted I just let them handle this and continued trying to feed him as if I never even woke up. I’m not sure how two people can pull off the feat of infantile feeding they were shooting for, but they made a good effort in any case.
Sounds awful? I thought so, too.
That was only the beginning. Baby son and I had a rough time with feeding for quite a while. There were nights where we would lay down and cry together – him from hunger and me from helplessness. I remember all too well watching the clock as I tried over and over to latch him properly, and then how happy I was when it only took an hour to latch him on. Progress!
The thing is, although breastfeeding is natural to animals and humans, it doesn’t always come easy.
Breastfeeding is the natural way for newborns to feed. Every mammal species nurses their offspring, so why couldn’t I pull this off? Why was it so hard for me?
In short, I didn’t prepare. Honestly, I didn’t really think about it at all before he arrived. I intended to breastfeed, but that’s as far as my thoughts went. Because after all, momma cows don’t need lessons on nursing their babies.
Of course, they also get to stand still and graze while the baby does all the work.
Humans don’t have quite as easy a time. Don’t be like me and assume because you have a breast and a baby you have all you need. This is a natural thing, but it may not come naturally for you.
I learned it’s essential that a mom not only decides how she’ll feed her baby, but also that she learns about technique, positioning, and scheduling (or not scheduling). This knowledge will make breastfeeding so much easier. Don’t get caught up in trying to know everything because you won’t. Ever. But you can have a good grasp of the basics to help get through the toughest parts.
You can totally learn to do this on the fly. I did. Regardless of how unprepared I was, my resilient little guy turned out healthy and decidedly chunky.
We muddled through, but it was a lot harder than it had to be.
There are so many things that we new moms freak out over, but feeding really doesn’t have to be one of them.
What’s your biggest breastfeeding hangup? I’d love to know!