Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

What I Wish I Knew as a First-Time Mom

Leading Lady is proudly sponsoring our good friend Kristen, founder of Birthing Beautiful Ideas, at the BlogHer 2012 conference, which kicks off later this week.  In the guest post below, Kristen shares some helpful and meaningful insights for first-time moms:

What I Wish I Knew as a First-Time Mom

As a birth doula and a mother of three who has breastfed all of her babies, sometimes I wish that I could go back in time and talk have a talk with my first-time-mom self.

There is so much that I’d want to talk about, like how I should be savoring (and not wishing away) the newborn period, and how I shouldn’t worry because some day I will sleep through the night again, and how the years will start to fly by so fast.

But I’d also want to talk about breastfeeding.

I wouldn’t necessarily want to discuss any complex science, nor would I really want to demonstrate any complicated techniques.  Instead, I’d want to impart these five simple bits of wisdom to my first-time-mom self.

1. Put the baby on the boob early and often.  That’s right: early and often.  Because when the nurse tells you to “nurse the baby at least every three to four hours,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should put the baby on a nursing schedule.  In fact, in these first few days, you might be doing cluster-feedings, nursing your baby every hour (and seemingly ‘round the clock).  But you know what?  All of these frequent feedings help to create a great milk supply for your baby.  What’s more, these cluster-feedings sometimes lead to four to five hour stretches of sleep down the road.  (Woohoo!) And don’t wait until your baby is crying to start breastfeeding: if baby roots, sucks his fingers, squirms, starts to fuss, PUT. HIM. ON. THE. BOOB.

2. The first time that a woman breastfeeds, there are two people trying to get the hang of the whole nursing gig: both the mom and the baby.  And sometimes getting the hang of it takes a little time.  And that’s also okay.  And also normal.  Your little one does have a suckling instinct, but that doesn’t mean that getting a perfect latch is going to be easy for him in the beginning.  And yes, your body is producing breastmilk without you even knowing it!  You’re lucky—breastmilk-making is easy!  But this doesn’t mean that breastfeeding will be easy for you in the beginning.  Accept that you are both learning.  Be patient with your baby and with you.

3. Yes, some day you will be able to breastfeed with your eyes closed.  Sure, it seems like a giant production every time your baby is ready to eat.  You prepare your breastfeeding pillow just-so around your waist, you delicately place your baby into the perfect position, and you crane your neck to get the perfect view of your baby so that you may guide him into a spectacular latch.  And sometimes you spend the whole nursing session wondering if you’re doing it right: “Am I?!  Am I doing it right?!  I don’t know!!!  Help!”  No joke, this is a lot of work.  But I promise you, in the months and weeks to come, you will one day find yourself lounging back, cradling your breastfeeding baby in one arm, holding a glass of water in your free hand, and reading a magazine that you have propped on the arm of your couch.  And sometimes, you’ll even lay your head back and breastfeed with your eyes closed.

4. The same person who cried in pain during those first few nursing attempts can cry wistful tears as she treasures those last few nursing snuggles when her child is weaning.  Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, and it might have taken you and your baby to get a good latch that wasn’t causing you any pain.  But you will grow to love this special bonding time that nursing gives you and your baby.  Believe it or not, you might even miss it some day.

5. Not all nursing bras are dowdy, unsupportive, and unattractive.  That’s right—you don’t have to give up your love of cute, sexy, and supportive bras when you make the transition to nursing bras!  In fact, one day, you’ll have a wardrobe of nursing bras that you actually adore.  And thanks to Leading Lady, your nursing wardrobe can include the Lace-Cup Wirefree Nursing Bra and the Striped Nursing Cami from Leading Lady, now discounted 20%!

by Kristen Oganowski, Birthing Beautiful Ideas”

Thank you for these inspiring words of wisdom, Kristen!  Follow Kristen on Facebook and Twitter.

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