I could remember how I was so eager to breastfeed my first baby. You know the feeling every expectant mom gets to wanting to hold and latch her new-born baby? That was exactly how I felt. At a point, I prayed to have my baby earlier than the expected due date. The pregnancy felt like forever to me and I was beginning to lose my patience.
Time came for me to put to bed and it was exactly on my due date. A handsome baby boy was welcomed and in no time we became a three-some family. I ended up with a third degree tear and had to be stitched while the mid-wife took my baby to a dressing room. Forty-five minutes later, my baby was returned back to me only to discover he was asleep. I attempted to wake him up for feed but the midwife asked me to let him have some sleep while I rest from all the stress of labour I went through.
I tried to sleep but it wasn’t forthcoming. The joy of being a first time mom didn’t allow me to sleep. Tell me, how do you expect a new mom who had just given birth to her long awaited baby to have some sleep while baby is sleeping? I found it impossible and decided to stay awake until baby wakes up. Little did I know that I was not going to find it easy with breastfeeding my son.
My experience with breastfeeding became a struggle. My nipples started to crack and peel due to my son’s frequent feeding. At this point, I began to have a change of mind to withdraw from breastfeeding. I couldn’t bring myself together to what it felt like having a sour and painful nipples. I had no idea on what remedy could help relieve the pains. I just kept enduring until the pains subsided with time.
I had planned to exclusively breastfeed my baby for the first six months of life without the interference of solid food but on seeing that the journey wasn’t easy, I thought of quitting earlier before he clocked six months. My baby was so fussy which was one of the reason I couldn’t proceed further with exclusive breastfeeding.
To make matters worse, he hardly sleep at night. He would stay awake all through the night and finally sleeps off at six in the morning. This made things much difficult for me as I was deprived of sleep for three months. I became emotionally depressed which also led to an intense hatred for my son. Yes, you read that right! I hated my son for the fact that I wasn’t able to enjoy sleep the way I used to, I wasn’t able to have time for myself even if it was just for a few minutes. He would latch on my breast for three hours at a stretch without a single break. Hey!
That was too much for me to bear. I couldn’t figure out why my son was never satisfied. I thought something was not right somewhere so, I decided to ask for medical help. It came to my realization that my baby wasn’t lactating properly which was one of the causes of not producing enough breast milk.
Are you currently breastfeeding or you are looking forward to breastfeed your new baby? I’ve good news for you. Breastfeeding is the best food your baby will ever need for optimal growth and development. Inasmuch as breastfeeding is important, you have to bear in mind that it is not a struggle like I experienced. The issue with mine was that, I thought I was fully prepared to master the skills of breastfeeding. However, if you really want to enjoy breastfeeding as a first time mom, you’ve got to relax your mind and master those skills. It gets easier when you put your mind on something you want to experience and have fun in doing so.
You may be thinking how is that possible when I haven’t had such an amazing experience before. I’m glad to let you know I have. Before I gave birth to my second child, I had fully prepared to put my body and mind together to make breastfeeding enjoyable. In fact, I breastfed my daughter for two years and three months. I had the urge to continue but because I had made up my mind to stop when she clocks two. I didn’t know when I exceeded the proposed time. I must confess breastfeeding is not a struggle. It is only when you allow unnecessary things to interfere that is when you begin to find it difficult.
Now, if you want to enjoy breastfeeding your baby, you need to practice at heart the following tips which I believe you will find helpful:
1. Prepare your mind towards breastfeeding your baby. Have it in mind that baby will need that food coming from your body to grow healthy. Think about how you find it easy to feed yourself when hungry. Do the same for your baby without seeing it as a struggle.
2. Be ready to lose your sleep: Not every one will tell you this or probably they must have told you to take enough rest while you are yet to give birth. Even if you have enough sleep during pregnancy, how about when you lose those precious sleep as a mom? So, no amount of sleep you will have now will further sustain you when you give birth. You will still need more sleep to rest your body. Just in case you are going to have a fussy baby like mine, have it in mind that you are in for it at any time. This was exactly what I did prior to having my second child. So, breastfeeding became so easy throughout.
3. Avoid distraction: There are times you will feel distracted from continuing breastfeeding. Assuming you have a baby who feed more frequently than other babies, you may be tempted to quit breastfeeding too early. Instead of that, avoid distraction whatsoever. Don’t allow yourself to give up too easily. Also, avoid counting days and time or how many more months left for you to conclude breastfeeding. I used to do this during my first time breastfeeding. Everything about breastfeeding became boring that it affected my milk supply. You wouldn’t want to have same boring experience as I did with my first child. So, learn to avoid distraction at all cost.
4. Prepare a healthy meal plan ahead: Yes, you are going to eat not just any kind of food but healthy ones so you and your baby remain healthy. It’s going to cost you less or money to get food that are of high nutrient to sustain both mother and baby. You are not going to watch your weight which should not be a top priority. You will need to eat more calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and so on… and at times you are going to need some snacks too and non-carbonated drinks including non-alcohol. You are going to eat enough and healthy. This is very important if you want your baby to double his weight and if you want to maintain a healthy weight.
5. Get a suitable chair: You will need a comfortable chair preferably the ones you can rest your hands on and the ones that will help straighten your back in the upright position. Poor sitting position can make you lose balance or have a back ache. Make sure you get a chair or seat that is most suitable for you. You may decide to get a rocky chair that will help rock your baby to sleep while breastfeeding. Whatever choice you will make, just make sure you have what will be most comfortable for you and your baby.
6. You need a stool: This will be surely needed to relax your feet during breastfeeding. When you feel your feet are getting tired place them on a low stool for better relaxation.
7. Keep stress at bay: Don’t get easily stressed as this is what will hinder you from continuing breastfeeding. You must not involve yourself in stressful activities or chores. A little thing done is better than draining your entire energy when that is required to keep you going with breastfeeding.
8. Take care of your nipples: you don’t have to wait till you give birth before caring for your nipples. Start by cleaning your nipples with a clean face towel or by moisturising it with olive oil. This routine will help prevent your nipples from getting cracked.
Now you know! Breastfeeding can be fun and more enjoyable when you follow the above tips. You can go on to add to this list and tell what will work best for you. If you are working, take time to plan ahead on how you can make breastfeeding hassle free for you. I’m already emotional now because I felt like going back to breastfeed my son. I regretted my actions later and I wish I could turn back the hand of time.
Don’t end up like I did, mamma!