As a brand spanking new mom, I had plans on keeping my little one swaddled in my arms for at least 6 weeks. We would not leave the house. He would not so much as breathe a breath that was not first breathed by me.
If you ask my husband he will tell you I am known for my Disney like fantasies.
This indeed was a fantasy. Reality hit with a bite from my precious newborn only an hour old. Nursing was not going to be an easy feat. In fact, it was harder than the morning/noon/night sickness that plagued me for 3 trimesters. It was harder than emergency surgery and bed rest. It was harder than 27 hours of labor. It was harder than pushing. It was and still is hard.
I was pumping every 2-3 hours which was a nightmare but I was grateful to be producing milk for bottle feeding. Pumping brought a whole new set of worries. What about nipple confusion? Will he reject me? He’d already been given a pacifier by a well meaning nurse, although I wanted to wait until breastfeeding was firmly established before offering one. I mean, that is what the experts say you are supposed to do after all. The pacifier turned out to be a blessing because my baby boy thought anything that entered his mouth was supposed to be bitten. OUCH.
On day 6 of my son’s life I bundled him up and I asked my husband to take me to the breast feeding support group offered at the hospital. I needed help!
I walked into the class late, of course. (I have not been on time for anything since my son was born.) The room was filled with nursing moms. Most had their boobs out and were effortlessly feeding their children. I wanted to be them.
My breast were full and sore as I listened to each mom introduce herself and her baby. What am I going to say when it becomes my turn? Hi. My name is Kim. I have no clue what I am doing. HELP!!!!!!
I had no pride. I felt no shame. I gave no care about what others might have thought.
I anxiously awaited my turn, fighting back tears of stress and anxiety. Then another mom spoke. Her baby was born one day before mine. She had the exact same struggles I had. She burst into tears.
And so did I.
The lactation consultant offered her a one on one. From across the room I said, possibly yelled, “Me, too! Can I go, too?” Sensing my need, her sweet reply was, “Yes, lets go into the consult room now.”
With the gentle but firm hands of the lactation consultant guiding me, I was able to nurse my son for the first time. I heard him swallow and in my naivety I asked, “Is he doing it?”
“Yes,” the consultant said, beaming with joy.
I cried. Oh, I cried an ugly cry. I am not sure how my baby stayed latched. And then…
The lactation consultant cried with me.
Oh the sweet joy of motherhood.