The nursing journey with your baby can be emotional. A variety of feelings can evolve for many reasons and if your a new mother, the added uncertainty of doing breastfeeding the first time. Before I blog a series about the benefits and ease of reusable nursing pads, I thought it would be helpful and supportive if I share my nursing journey, and things I wish I knew when I first had Abbey.
After four gorgeous babies, I have experienced some of the following challenges on my nursing journey:
- nursing in public toilets due to no suitable facilities,
- issues with attachment with Dan so he would feed,
- sore nipples from long and constant feeding,
- under and over supply,
- nursing while baby is ill or myself,
- wet, milk-laden shirts in public from a ‘milk waterfall’ as bub was due for a feed, but was sleeping, and
- inappropriate comments and looks, even rude unsolicited advice.
Looking back I loved nursing, even through all of the trials. But before I proceed, this is not an article about breasfeeding being the only way to go. I did what I could with what I had. For all my babies, I had to stop nursing at around nine months and start bottle feeding so that I could care for Abbey.
The challenges of feeding a baby from a bottle I found were similar to breastfeeding; the leaking bottles, no where to heat up, sick babies, forgot the formula and the accidental spillages on clothes.
The amazing similarities between the two methods, besides we are feeding our children, is dealing with a fussy child at times. Neither method was the cure-all for a fussy or upset baby.
The beauty of both methods to feed baby is the increased bond between mum, dad and baby. I love the look my kids would give me, the holding of my hand, bonding with James and sharing the care of the new member of our family with the other kids. James would the nappy before and/or after a feed, even at midnight.
For all of my children, the nursing journey was different in the bonding for each. I learnt about their needs and their personalities while breastfeeding. Being in the moment, listening to their coo-ing or crying and physical movements to understand how best to soother them before feeding. Now I respond to each child in a pattern that we established during nursing.
Abbey likes to be held close. Danny likes to be looked at intently and spoken to in a soothing tone. Nate does not like to be held close, but loves a song. And Ali needs full attention and hand holding.
I want you to take this moment to listen to your baby. If you have a niggling in your heart or head about something someone has told you to do, ignore it. Feel free to experiment with what will bring your baby comfort. Is it holding, is it nursing, is it being allowed to cry for just a moment longer while swinging, then falling asleep so serenely?
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance, for advice and to even make decisions that may not suit the values of someone else. Care for yourself, in whatever capacity you can find.
Share with me a moment where you have listened to your baby with your heart and discovered their soft spot.
The Cloth Nappy Doctor.