Dear Newly Nursing Mother…

This post is inspired by several friends who have reached out to me in the past for breastfeeding advice. Many of them have felt lonely or frustrated while trying to feed their babes and it breaks my heart. Since this is fresh on my mind with a new baby to nourish, I’m sharing the message I try to give them:

Dear newly nursing mom,

Hi there. Congrats if you’ve made it past the first latch! I truly hope it felt natural to you because it surely didn’t at first for me. I want to tell you that it’s not an easy choice to nurse your child. Truth be told, it’s a major sacrifice, but I promise it gets easier and eventually you won’t feel like it’s a sacrifice. You may even think it’s a beautiful blessing.

I won’t sugarcoat it — it may not feel natural for a while. You may sweat and get anxious trying to get the latch. You may need to use a nipple shield. You may have to exclusively pump. You might cry in the shower out of frustration, engorgement, or sheer pain. But I promise, give it a month, and you will be in a routine and it will be OK. I promise.

Nursing can be isolating. Some people don’t want to talk to you while you nurse — afraid it might bother you. And maybe you’d prefer to be left alone. If you don’t, let them know by saying “It’s OK. I’m still here! You don’t have to leave me alone in a room. I can continue our conversation while feeding my baby.”

If you feel alone, I want you to find support. A girlfriend. Your mom. A fellow new mom. Chat with a long-lost friend on Facebook. Ask your questions. Complain to them when you just want to give up because you’re  in pain and your supply is low. Join a community online or on Facebook like KellyMom.com. Follow a lactation consultant on Twitter and privately message them your questions. Just don’t rush to throw in the towel.

You see, I’m lucky. I have great friends who have helped me along and encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit, who have understood when I was running late or needed to make a pit stop while on an adventure.

Two of my literal BFFs and my figurative BFFs {breastfeeding friends}, Erin and Lindsey

I understand you’re tired. Dad CAN help. After a few weeks, you can pump a bottle and sleep longer at night if needed {baby may hate it at first, but keep trying!}. And gosh darn it, don’t feel bad for waking him in the middle of the night to change baby’s diaper or take care of the burping afterward.

Sometimes nursing isn’t meant to be, and that’s OK too. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to formula feed your child. You will still get the incredible bond that happens between mother and baby.

But if you do choose to nurse and are having a hard time staying the course, think of the benefits: A healthy child with less ear infections and risk of obesity and allergies. You will lose weight easier and have a lower risk of a variety of diseases, including diabetes and breast cancer. Cost savings — both from lack of buying formula and less co-pays due to a sick child. Sheer convenience. {You have enough to remember to pack in a diaper bag…Ta-tas travel everywhere and are with you at all times!}

Regardless of how you choose to feed your child, you are a great mom, and at the end of the day, YOU are the one who knows what’s best.

Rock on, girlfriend. And I’m here to be that listening ear if you need me.

What advice can you offer first-time nursing mamas?

Comments

  1. Great advice, Lauren! Nothing much to add except, if you really want to breastfeed and it hurts (engorged, blocked ducts, mastitis) – they’re all easy to sort out, don’t despair. BUT, if breastfeeding isn’t for you or the baby, it’s okay too. As long as the baby gets fed!

    And if you want to breastfeed for longer than 6 months, 12 months, 2 years – don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t/ should not. Do what feels right.
    Alison recently posted..PhysicalnessMy Profile

    • Mrs. Weber says:

      Great point, Alison! Almost all issues CAN be resolved, but it can feel frustrating waiting it out! And you’re right – don’t let others judge you for how long you choose to breastfeed. It’s a choice only a mother can make :)

  2. What a great photo of you three (six!). My sister and I were just talking about breastfeeding yesterday. I assume that when I have children, it may be difficult for me to breastfeed since a long line of women in my family are chronically low supply. I’m still going to try anyway! Glad I have you and other momma around me for help and support.

    • Mrs. Weber says:

      You know I’m here when that baby day comes :) There are lots of tricks for trying to up your supply (like pumping, drinking a beer(!!!) and herbal supplements like Fenugreek). The important part is trying them all before throwing in the towel. My mom had a low supply with me, but still made it work for 3 months, which was hard for her – esp since I was a big baby and hungry all the time. It definitely takes dedication, which can be hard to muster when you’re not sleeping (and most likely not eating) properly.

      Thanks for chiming in, Sarah! <3

  3. I was blessed to be a playgroup for new mom and we all nursed.
    JDaniel4′s Mom recently posted..Taking Time to Play- Creative PlayhouseMy Profile

  4. I don’t know that I could add anything more! And I love that picture of you guys! So cute!
    Jackie recently posted..Brica Review & Giveaway!My Profile

  5. Such great advice! I found it very helpful to have friends who were beast feeding. You are so right it isn’t easy, but then again nothing worth while is easy, right?
    Erin recently posted..I Just Can’t Win!My Profile

  6. they’re all easy to sort out, don’t despair. BUT, if breastfeeding isn’t for you or the baby, it’s okay too. I found this blog really helpful specially to all the mother..
    Jessica recently posted..bioteneMy Profile

  7. My advise would be use Lansinoh liberally & often! I remember freaking out with my oldest because she was spitting up blood…umm that would be because of my cracked and bleeding nipples. For some of us (including me) nursing hurts A LOT for quite awhile. But it gets easier to deal with and eventually it doesn’t hurt anymore. By my 4th I finally figured out to take Motrin a few times a day the first week or so to help with the pain. Also, don’t worry yourself sick about how much the baby is getting to eat. Been there too ;-) I never thought I’d say it, but I actually miss nursing my babies!
    Alysia George recently posted..So What! WednesdayMy Profile

  8. WONDERFUL article!!! I am going to share it with our Facebook fan page — new moms need all the support they can get!

  9. I love this!
    I had a hard time breastfeeding and it’s always nice to know that other women are there to support you, even if at first you don’t think so.

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  1. [...] will be OK. I promise. Nursing can be isolating. Some people don't … … View post: Dear Newly Nursing Mother… ← Healthy Breastfeeding Tips for You and Your Baby : Baby Care [...]

  2. […] {If you need some nursing encouragement, read my letter: Dear Newly Nursing Mother.} […]

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