Bubby just turned four months old! This milestone has left me reflecting on each day of his life and the joy he has brought me through his reaching developmental milestones such as the first smile, the first coo, the first laugh, sleeping longer stretches, reaching for toys, etc. Our little dude is the light of our lives and we feel so blessed.
I am not only celebrating his fourth month of life but I am also celebrating our four months of breastfeeding. This relationship was an uphill struggle to start. Around the 6-week mark, we began to find our way. When I think back to those early days, I can not help but shed a few tears. Talk about a tremendous learning curve! When I was pregnant, I found myself placing so much emphasis on the birth and delivery – I simply could not think past that monumental event. I must also plead ignorance. I assumed breastfeeding would simply fall into place. You just put the baby’s mouth over your nipple and then baby will take over because he knows what to do, right?
Yikes! There was so much more to it…clearly, I had a lot to learn.
I now regret that I was so focused on the birth. Yes, certainly a monumental event, but also, it’s just one small part of the whole picture. I regret that I did not explore the art of breastfeeding prior to Bubby’s arrival. And yes, it is an art!
I wish I had attended a La Leche League meeting in my area.
I wish I had studied Dr. Jack Newman’s website thoroughly.
I wish I had read some books (namely “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” + Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding).
I wish I had paid close attention to my sister when she was breastfeeding her baby girl.
The first month of breastfeeding resulted in tears every single day. Granted the tears of the first couple of weeks were likely more hormone related than anything else. And my poor husband! He played a huge role in supporting me through every day of our struggles. It was weeks of comforting hugs, back rubs, shoulder massages, encouraging words and wiping away my tears…I am certain I would have given up if it were not for my amazing hubs!
Our little Bubby was just that – little – during his first month. It took him nearly 4 weeks to return to his birth weight. This did not align with what all the books were saying. I read that babies should return to their birth weight within 10 days. Exposure to such pressure did not make my job any easier. Thankfully I had a fabulous midwife who helped me through the stress and worry associated with my son’s slow weight gain. I also began to see a Lactation Consultant (through my local Public Health Unit) when Bubby was about 3 weeks old. In hindsight, I wish I had gone earlier. My Lactaction Consultant gave me some confidence and affirmed that I was doing a good job. She also gave me a few tips and showed me a few tricks and before I knew it, I had the hang of it. Bubby still gained weight at a slower pace than the average, but he was meeting minimum requirements. So, I had to learn that if my midwife was happy, and my Lactation Consultant was happy, I had to find happiness as well and trust that breastfeeding was in fact going well.
Through this experience I have discovered that new mums are surrounded by an abundance of tremendous resources – especially in the area of breastfeeding. Looking back, I am so proud of myself for sticking with it for I know that I am offering my baby the best nutrition possible.
By: Amy Jewitt is a 30-something first-time mother navigating the world of modern parenting with a nod to old school tips and tricks. She and her husband welcomed their son, who they’ve affectionately dubbed, “Bubby” in October 2012. Amy and her husband are teachers temporarily residing in Kingston, ON.