Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dear Amanda

Photograph provided by SarahCole Photography

As we approach our one year anniversary (eh hum, Harper's birthday) of our breastfeeding journey together I can't help but reflect. Lately, I'm thinking more and more about what I would tell my pregnant self about breastfeeding. So here it is, a letter to my pregnant self from my almost one year postpartum self.

Dear Amanda,

I'd like to tell you that this is going to be easy. And I'd like to tell you that it'll always be just like the images you see of new mother's nuzzling their newborns. I'd also like to tell you won't be tired. The truth is, though, that it [breastfeeding and new motherhood] is hard. You won't always feel the warm fuzzies at the thought of nursing your sweet girl. And you most definitely will be tired.

There will be times that you will feel like you can't move forward, as if you're suspended in time. The pain from mastitis, plugged ducts, cracked nipples, nipple blebs, and engorgement will seriously push you to your limit. Your tears will sometimes stream down your cheeks, to your breasts, and down onto your little nurslings face.

There will be days that you just want your boobs to be just your boobs. You will search to find a nursing bra that fits you like your old standby VS one, and you'll be disappointed when it simply doesn't. You will find yourself defending your choices and answering questions you shouldn't have to.

You'll out-grow the nursing cover and breastfeed in places you never imagined. People will probably stare and maybe even give you dirty looks.

I know, you're probably thinking that this doesn't sound real awesome right now. The thing is, I know you and you're a realist. So I started with the tough stuff.

Harper at 11 months old

Remember when I said you won't always feel the warm fuzzies when breastfeeding your little lady? You won't, but a very large portion of the time you will. The reason you see those soft images of new mothers is because you will have moments of being completely consumed by the love and joy that fills you while nourishing your baby girl. And yes, there will be days that you feel like you haven't slept in a week, but then it happens. That time comes when your little one has a full belly and just sighs the softest, sweetest little sigh. Just those few seconds in that moment will get you thru hours, maybe even days.

The pain. Oh, the pain. You've never been great at dealing with pain. You are, however a fighter. You can and will get thru this. Laugh at yourself and celebrate each and every triumph. Once you've surpassed the pain and the back-to-back night wakings, you'll want to shout from the rooftops that you've made it. You'll want to scream that you are victorious! That is ok to feel.

Don't worry about the bra. You'll have the rest of your life to wear a "sexy" bra, but you'll only have a couple of short years to wear the one that carries your fondest memories. And they WILL end up being some of your fondest memories. Sometimes you'll glance at that bra slung over your desk chair and remember that time you both giggled from her latest gymnurstic move. Or you'll be about to throw it in the wash and have a quick recollection of her grinning up at you while having a snack.

Harper at 11 months, having a snack!

Now for the questions about your choices… Breathe. The questions will not get easier to answer, BUT you will learn to answer them with grace. Just remember to breathe first, talk second.

You will become comfortable in your own NIP skin. Be happy that you can breastfeed anywhere and not have to wait for milk to be warmed.

Finally, once you've mastered the tough stuff and settled into your own nursing rhythm she will be about to turn one. She will be signing for "nummers" (aka milk) and astounding you with her intelligence.
Before you know it you'll be wondering if this is when she starts to wean and your heart will ache for those early days. You've done well. Be proud and savior every moment.


1 comment:

  1. ** takes your breath away beautiful**
    You have captured this amazingly. Its the one thing in motherhood no-one can teach you or take away from you.