self doubt and so much love: the diary of a breastfeeding mother
by Lisa Boettcher, of In Wild Hearts
I can’t even begin to describe the love I am experiencing. To finally have my baby in my arms and in this world is truly the biggest blessing I have ever received. She is so beautiful and tiny and I could just snuggle her continuously. They say to sleep when she sleeps, but I’m so preoccupied with watching her and worrying about her that I cannot fathom doing so. The first time she latched on to my breast was simply amazing. How she knew that I was her mother was confirmed with that little suck, suck, suck, and it brought tears of joy to my eyes. How is it that a simple latch can confirm it all? My milk has not yet come in, and I am trying to patiently wait and regularly nurse to ensure I have that bond with my child. I am hopeful.
She is here!
No one told me it would hurt this much. My milk came in full force and I’m not even sure what to do. My engorged breasts feel like piercing knives against any clothing that touches them and my nipples are so sore that I wince with pain + have overflowing tears in my eyes every time she latches. I even have to turn my back in the shower because the spraying water hurts them. The lactation consultants are so kind and are giving me sound advice, but I just want to empty these breasts of mine before they pop. I literally don’t even want to wear a shirt. I know I’m a first time mom and don’t know what is normal yet, but is it normal for her to want to feed every hour? I pumped for the first time to collect milk, not just encourage my supply, yesterday. I collected about two ounces of precious milk and carefully bagged and stored my harvest. I felt so empowered and defeated at the same time. Did I really just only produce two ounces of milk? I want to provide for my baby. Will I ever overcome this pain? Will this get easier?
I am one tired mama.
My little girl is growing too fast. She is already one month old! We are so in love and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s still not sleeping well, but our nursing sessions are getting easier. I secretly love those middle of the night, dark, quiet and one-on-one feeding sessions where all we have is each other. Surely I would love to go back to my regular full night sleep routine, actually I’m desperate for it at times, but for now, I’m going to treasure this. ‘They’ always said time will pass too quickly and I am experiencing that to the fullest. Before I know it, she won’t even need my milk anymore. I’m getting into a feeding and pumping routine that’s comfortable for me. My nipples have toughened a bit – I’m no longer crying every time she latches. I’ve asked countless other moms for feeding and pumping advice. I’m so thankful for them all.
I am loving the role of mama.
We have a sitter! My little love is sitting, smiling, babbling and bringing more and more joy to our lives every single day. Somehow we surpassed the every-hour-feedings, witching hours and middle of the night cluster feeds to move on to a new phase of much longer stretches of sleep, regular naps and easier breastfeeding. I’m getting the hang of it. I’m feeling so much more confident and comfortable. I’ve gotten the hang of the nursing cover in public and have mastered the art of pumping at work. Oh wow, that is a job. It’s been hard to return to work and pump to keep up with my supply. Plus, leaving her is so, so very hard. I cherish those bedtime, nighttime and weekend feeds that much more now, in addition to any moment I get to spend with that little girl of mine.
Feeling accomplished and “half way” to my goal.
How can this be possible? How can my little girl be turning one today? She has developed such an independent personality and has grown up right before my very eyes. She’s transformed from tiny baby needing me every second of every day to a person of her own mind and matter. She doesn’t want to nurse as much anymore, and it has taken some time for me to be okay with that. I’m going to let her take the lead – or so I keep telling myself. I’ve reached my goal of breastfeeding for the first year of her life but somehow I feel like I could keep doing this forever. I’ve come such a long way from those first days of pain and engorgement and uncertainty. It’s now just second nature to me. To both of us. I’ve provided nourishment for my child for a whole year in which she developed the most she ever will in her entire life. For that, I am proud. I know this motherhood journey is just getting started but within this short journey, now I know just how truly amazing it is.
Pinch me. I am a mom.
A breastfeeding mother
Lisa Boettcher is a Wisconsinite, residing in a small suburb outside of Milwaukee with her husband Mark, daughters Maven (04.04.14) and Sylvie (10.28.15) and blonde Goldendoodle pup, Nova. She’s madly in love with her family and is passionate about living a happy, healthy life. She writes over at In Wild Hearts for women who juggle the demands and desires of every day life and want to make the absolute most of it by sharing real, genuine content inspired by her world.