Recently in our closed breastfeeding support group on Facebook, mum Lyndsey Wray posted an open called “Hello New Mum”. Lyndsey’s words generated a lot of interest within the group, where there are many new mums, and she kindly gave us permission to reshare it here on our website. Lyndsey is a high school teacher, and describes herself as a “Not so new mum”.
Hello new mum
Hello new mum.
I picture you right now with your 1 week old in your arms. You’re exhausted, you’re vulnerable, you’re emotional. You’re trying so hard to breastfeed, but it’s a battle – you read all the books, joined all the groups. You wanted to try and see how long you could feed your baby for. But, it’s 10.30pm, your husband is fast asleep snoring on the couch and your baby is unsettled, squirmy and you see that little head turn toward your swollen, poker hot nipples and your heart drops a little in fear. I hear your thoughts… ‘I just fed you!’, ‘how are you hungry again’, ‘not another night of 40 minute feeds per breast every 2 hours! ‘I want to stab my husband in the larynx for sleeping right now’.
You grit your teeth, and try to remember the positions the nurse showed you in the hospital. You coax baby’s mouth open and quickly help her latch. Too quickly? She’s probably swallowed half a litre of air and you’ll be paying for that during burp time. Is the latch right? The nurse said it shouldn’t hurt but the pain makes your eyes water. You spend the night up and down, feeding, burping changing nappies and onesies till the sun comes up. Your well rested husband, feeling helpless suggests one feed with a bottle of formula, you burst with tears at the thought whilst holding back the urge of scratching his eyes out.
The weeks drift by. Some days are good, some not so much. Your wracked with self doubt – is baby getting enough? My boobs feel soft – I’m drying up! Should I make lactation cookies? WTF is fenugreek? The weekly baby weigh ins at the clinic gives you anxiety as you pray Bub put on enough weight this time. You see other mums feeding their babies so easily with bottles that your so tempted but immediately feel so guilty at the thought of stopping breastfeeding you almost cry.
The months drift by. Your support network isn’t so supportive after all. Mothers, MIL’s, strangers give you their advice. ‘Why isn’t that baby on a bottle, I want to have her overnights soon’, ‘you’re spoiling her for everyone else’, ‘she’s so tiny compared to bottle fed babies’.
Through your many hurdles, you still persist. You persist so well that now when you want a night out with the girls, you can’t leave as baby refuses all 13 types of bottles you have purchased specifically for the lead up to your big night out! Oh the irony.
Sorry this is long winded Mum. I just want you to know you’re not alone. Your questions aren’t silly, you’re doing a fantastic job and one day those long nights and sore nipples will be a distant memory.
I’m a veteran breast feeder now. My 1.5 year old is still what we affectionately call ‘a titty girl’. She makes up her own positions now (mostly vertical ones where my nipple is stretched into a bizarre shape) and the only time I have sore nipples is during a teething frenzy. Some nights she sleeps through, others I feed her 5 times a night. That’s our norm, there is none.
So new Mum, from a not so new mum. Regardless of how long or short your breastfeeding journey is, please remember this overwhelming time in yours and your baby’s lives is just a drop in the ocean of what lies ahead. Do what you need to do to get through the hour/ day/ week and please be kind to yourself. You are doing the most important job in the world – being someone’s mum.”
To see posts and discussions like this one, please join our closed breastfeeding support group on Facebook – Breastfeeders in Australia