I am enjoying breastfeeding. It’s not every day you get to say that and I may be jinxing myself, but it has really been a pleasure feeding Audrey this week. First of all, everything is easier the second time around. Plus, her home birth set us up for success by making the transition to nursing as simple as possible. One of the main reasons I chose a midwife was because I was determined to have a better experience than the first time around.
Last year, I repeated all the benefits of nursing to myself like a mantra. I had to in order to overcome the emotional and physical pain, but I stuck it out. Now all those same mantras are just icing on the cake, because feeding my hungry little angel baby is rewarding enough. Wonder why people do this until their kids are four? When it’s good, it’s that good.
For instance, the Mommy High of the oxytocin rush is incredible. As if it’s not already rewarding enough to stare at a little baby all day, she physically triggers a good feeling just by drinking her milk. A relaxed, happy Mom during postpartum is a good thing- even if it only lasts 5 minutes before the emotional roller coaster starts back up and the night sweats kick in.
My body feels exactly like it’s supposed to. A little beat up, but going through a healing process that is aided by my baby. Each time I feel contractions while nursing, I’m reminded that I’m one step closer to normal and that my belly is shrinking (woohoo!)
Having an enthusiastic eater is a delight. I’m feeding her on demand so that she gets what she wants when she wants it. She rarely cries, even during diaper changes, because I try to pace them just after a meal. This is the time when we’re finding our groove and both learning. I’m not worried if she falls asleep at the breast because I know she’ll wake in a half hour to finish. When she heartily drains every last drop a few times a day I breathe a sigh of relief.
There are a few things that are making this time around work so well besides just the on demand meals. I take a deep breath each time she latches and try to make eye contact whenever hers are open. I am also using Lanolin like it’s going out of style. Finally, I’m taking a hot shower each day and using the time to massage out any clogs. I don’t cry over milk down the drain because it just means there will be more tomorrow.
Sure, I knew all these things the first time around, but I didn’t have the experience or confidence to do them. I hid behind a breast pump, nipple shield, and TV remote waiting for my body to catch up and produce as much as the formula Hannah became accustomed to in the hospital. I had infections, clots, and pain that surpassed childbirth, but then it all cleared up and we enjoyed a few quick months of unhindered nursing. I know the highs and lows of breastfeeding, so I am not taking this for granted. Breast is best for babies, but it’s best for Moms, too. If you’re not feeling great about breastfeeding- ask an expert or sit and nurse with a Mom who is doing well. It is so worth it.
Don’t let the title of this post mislead you. It’s important to let you Moms know that I was a small B pre-pregnancy. Production has more to do with rest, stimulation, nutrition and hydration than anything else.