They say breastfeeding is the most natural and beautiful bonding experience you could have with your baby. The thing is, it doesn’t feel like the most natural act in the beginning for most women. Most of us do not have these easy stories. It can be difficult. Tiring. Draining. Complicated.
I wanted to breastfeed. It was my preferred option. But it was not “easy”.
The very first thing they make you do when you have a baby is to breastfeed them as soon as possible. I laid propped up, braced myself for this maternal moment. I placed Harper on my chest and she took to it with ease. As if we were both experienced. I felt elated and grateful.
BUT by day 3, I started feeling uncomfortable and sore. The nurses were not worried because they said they had seen her latch and it was perfect. “You just need to toughen up”.
I heard those words too often.
But it was not just uncomfortable. It was sore. Painful. Eventually excruciating.
I remember dreading the hours where it was time to feed her. I knew I would have to go sit somewhere by myself and feed – I wasn’t comfortable feeding under a cover in public because I was still getting the hang of it. And it would take long. And of course, as a first timer, you worry about how much they are drinking, if you have enough milk, if they are full. How do you know? All boobs should come with a fuel gage – now wouldn’t that be helpful!
My sister arrived from France my second week. And we sat in the lounge as I cried tears on Harper as she latched.
Push through. Breast milk is the best for your baby.
Put her on formula. You need to take care of yourself.
So much advice. All so different. Truth in them both.
I always thought before I became a mom that I would be chilled. If she latches she latches. If I need to use a bottle I’ll use a bottle. But at that moment I felt guilty and stressed. And I had to learn to shake off those emotions. I guess the post-baby hormones didn’t quite help. But I knew I needed to heal. I needed to reteach Harper as her latch regressed. And so I took a week’s break.
I expressed milk and we introduced a bottle to her. And I researched and watched videos about latching. And I prayed.
Don’t cry over spilt milk. Unless you expressed it. Then you can cry all you want.
After a week of healing, I braced myself for the first latch. And it went well. And since then I breastfed my daughter. It got quicker. Easier. And I no longer had to position her in certain ways because we found our groove. I learnt. She learnt. We journeyed together.
It is not easy for everyone. But it is so helpful to have people in your corner, helping you persevere for the best path for both you and your baby. I am so grateful to have had such amazing mamas in my life at that time.
Those who helped me do what I wanted for me and my Bambi girl.