Dear Me circa June/July 2010,
Brand new baby? Check.
Set of boobs? Check.
Read everything ever written about the benefits of mama’s milk? Check.
Steely determination to reap said benefits? Check.
Supportive partner? Check.
Smooth sailing breastfeeding? Erm, lemme get back to you on that one.
Oh, Glow, look at you. You’ve got that new mama look about you – the sleepy but serene look of someone so in love. You’re also got that weird crick neck thing going on from looking at your beautiful babe for hours on end – the books never warn you about that one, it hurts after a while so remember to swap arms.
You’re about to embark on a journey that at the time will seem like an endless slog of long painful nights, but in reality, it is only a blip on the radar. I’m talking about your first few weeks and months of breastfeeding.
There will be hurdles. Oversupply. Thrush. Golden Staph (don’t worry, it doesn’t look gross). Pain. They will seem insurmountable in your sleep deprived state. You’ll sit there at night thinking “just one more week” but not really be sure what you mean by it. One more and you’ll give up? Or one more and it will all be alright?
And then, one day you’ll stop and think “Hey, it feels OK. I wonder when that happened?” When it stopped being a chore and started being beautiful. And you won’t be able to pinpoint it exactly, but somewhere, after not too long, it just all started working. Which is so great because not only is looking at chubby star fish hands patting your breast while a toothless grin erupts over your child’s face (never dropping the nipple!) just adorable, but you’re more than a bit lazy and very forgetful so we all know you’d suck at remembering bottles and would complain endlessly about washing them.
One day, not far from now, when it has become second nature for you both, you will barely remember the hassles. No, really. I know you’re struggling right this second, dreading the next feed, but time goes so fast. Trust me. It will be fantastic when you get the right advice from a lactation consultant.
It’s important, though, to not hinge your worthiness as a parent on this fabulous milk producing malarkey your mammaries are capable of. Because when you become unwell for a few days and experience a massive drop in supply you’ll feel like a failure. And well, that’s just a bit bloody stupid.
Your aim, to get to twelve months? Girl, you’ve got that shit covered and then some so don’t stress. In fact, you’re going to feed your first born for almost triple that. Thirty two months. Some people will call you all sorts of names for doing it, but you need to trust in yourself and what you know about sustained breastfeeding and its benefits. Surround yourself with supportive people and ignore the naysayers.
But in saying that, remember to respect each mama’s right to choose how and when she feeds her precious bundle and for god’s sake share some of that abundant milk supply around to others who need it and become a milk donor sooner rather than later. Seriously, girl, your boobs don't fit in any tops, do it now.
Love Glow x
P.S. Then you'll do it all again and with that bit of confidence, you'll jump the hurdles so much quicker. Believe in yourself and believe in the power of the BOOB!
What would you tell your new mama self about breastfeeding?
This post is part of the Dear Me series being run to promote the new Online Breastfeeding Cafe. Developed by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, this new initiative aims to target women who may feel ambivalent about breastfeeding and encourage them to share, discover and chat about breastfeeding via a supportive online forum and resource centre. You can also check out the Online Breastfeeding Cafe's Facebook page.