I am a seasoned breastfeeding mother. I have been through the trenches not once, but twice. I have spent hours trying to get my babies to latch correctly, silently clenching my teeth, tears streaming down my face as stabbing pain shot through my raw, bleeding nipples. I’ve rocked hysterical babies through the wee hours of the night as they struggled with reflux, and sat in a zombie-like state for days, during marathon cluster feedings. I have a permanent scar on my left nipple from a newly sprouted tooth. I spent hours attached to a machine, urging my body to produce milk via pump, often with very little luck. I’ve compressed clogged ducts in the shower, painful to the slightest touch, and have woken up to rock hard breasts and drenched sheets. I’ve been there, Mama. I’ve been through it all. And I just want you, the new breastfeeding mom who’s struggling to get through the day, to know, it’s all going to be ok.
Breastfeeding can feel so incredibly isolating. You’ve just brought this new baby into your home, you’re filled with hormones and beyond exhausted, and on top of it all, you are the one person who is solely responsible for feeding and nourishing this little person for the next year. That is a lot to take in.
But Mama, hear me when I say, this is a short season in your ever-changing journey with you baby. This too, shall pass. I want you to know, that it’s going to get easier. With persistence and dedication on your part, your baby will eventually master the latch. Your nipples will heal, and toughen up. Your hormones will balance themselves. And soon enough, dear mama, breastfeeding will feel like second nature to you.
But if for some reason none of that happens, that’s ok too.
Here’s the thing nobody tells you when you have a baby, at least not on the internet, anyway. You can’t do it all. You can’t have a baby and expect to jump back into your old life and schedule, managing your household, cooking 3 meals a day (ok, who are we kidding – one meal a day!), taking care of daily chores AND breastfeeding round the clock. I don’t care how many super moms you follow on Instagram. I promise you, they’re not doing it all either. If your goal is to succeed at breastfeeding, your one and only job during those first few weeks with your new baby has to be breastfeeding. During those first, vital weeks of your baby’s life, only focus on what’s absolutely necessary.
Remember that your remarkable body has just been through, arguably, the most drastic change of its lifespan. You have created a fetus from a single sell, and over the course of mere months, housed, nourished, protected and grow that fetus into a human being. And now, you’re responsible for keeping that human being alive with nourishment from that same miraculous body. Give yourself some credit. And give yourself a break.
I understand. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. And unfortunately, I think a lot of what feeds that sentiment is society’s old-school, tainted, and ignorant perversive perception of it. For that reason, you might find it unnerving and even awkward to breastfeed your baby – especially in public. But, sweet mama, whatever you do, please don’t give up because of someone else’s ignorance. You have made the decision to feed your baby in the most natural way. Nobody gets to have an opinion about that except you.
Remember dear mama, this too shall pass. This is but a short time in the story of your life – the story of your child’s life. You will get though it. You will persevere. You will be loved by your baby no matter how your breastfeeding journey begins… or how it ends.