Breastfeeding is my life. No literally… it’s my entire life right now. I am a Lactation Consultant. I help people breastfeed all the time, and yep, that’s right, I am also breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a BIG part of my daily life, and until about 5 days ago, my nightly life too!…but that’s another story.
Between my 3 children, I have nursed over the span of 10 years for almost half that time. Actually for over 59 months (you have to use months when talking about anything to do with kids right?) so just about 5 years….and I’m not done yet. There will be no more kids here, of that I will make sure, but I am still nursing my son, who is almost 20 months old (yup, that’s him with his ‘digger’ in the picture)…
I’ve thought about how my own experiences have helped me to help others breastfeed. Of course I can give them tips about comfortable positions, how to latch and making a comfortable ‘nest’ to hang out in (with all your important supplies nearby, like snacks, water, cellphone, tv remote, diapers, wipes and more snacks)…but really, I think the most important thing that I have now that can help my clients, is my memory.
It was almost 4 years between weaning my 2nd child (at 2) and the birth of my 3rd child. My memories of the first 3 months of the newborn period (also called the 4th trimester) had begun to fade. Sure I had images in my head of my snuggly baby, holding her skin-to-skin, wearing her in a baby carrier so I could make lunch for her big sister, trying to fix her latch because she had a tongue tie (again, another story)…. But really I didn’t remember the intense first few weeks with a newborn anymore. I had forgotten the reality of it, how it feels to feed again and again and again, and to hold that baby all.night.long.
I remember now.
I think that having this new, fresh experience in my head helps me to relate better to new mothers because I can say out loud what they’ve been thinking and they feel like they’re not alone. I joke about how moms cry on day 3 or 4 after the baby is born and they look at me with relief that they’re not losing their mind. I mention how we all have the ‘what have I done to my life?’ thought in the middle of the night when you would pay a million dollars just to sleep for three hours in a row. I tell them how I co-slept with my son from the first night in the hospital (just like 70% of the world) and then I tell them how to do it safely. They feel like I’m in their secret club when I mention that I have to go and nurse my son before bedtime, and they know that I’ve been where they’ve been and I made it out alive.
Being a new mom is hard. Learning as much as possible about what to REALLY expect from a newborn, especially how often they want to breastfeed, that they don’t want to sleep anywhere but ON you, and that your need for a shower or a hot meal is NOT something that your child will EVER care about. Sorry.
It’s ok. Hang in there. Let me show you how to get comfortable, and let me get you the tv remote.
I don’t know how long it will take before these memories start to fade, but I’m going to do my best this time, to keep remembering. I want to be able to help mothers know the realities of having a newborn, so they know not to expect a baby that sleeps all night (for a VERY long time), or wants to be put down…ever! They get bigger, they need you less and less, and things change, I promise. They always do.