I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I just wasn’t sure how it would go. During my prenatal visits I promised my midwives, my doulas and myself that I wouldn’t give up and would trust the process.
Nursing is a Team Effort
It was a definite challenge breastfeeding Marley that first week. in the delivery room, one of the hospital staff told me basically that my boobs were too big and that I needed to take extra precautions to nurse. This is definitely not something to tell a new parent. We are already so open and vulnerable and can use all of the positive support that we can receive.
Luckily the hospital’s and my own lactation staff assured me that was not the case. My boobs are amazing and they showed me how to hold my little one to nurse while also checking to make sure her air ways weren’t obstructed. Those first few days, I still fumbled with comfortable positions to hold her and did not take it seriously that I needed to use boob cream and warm towels. Well after about 5 days, my boobs were incredibly sore and it hurt for Marley to latch. Kim, my lactation specialist of Nola Doula came over but I still felt like I was doing something wrong.
By day 6, I became worried that Marley wasn’t getting enough milk because she kept crying around 10 pm and wanted to nurse back to back. I was ready for the cluster feeding but it seemed as though she wasn’t getting satisfied at all. Although I felt a twinge of guilt, we decided to give her some formula. The poop she had after was enough to step away from the formula. Breastmilk poop is a watery light brown and yellow with seeds. Formula poop is dark, thick and smelly. Everyone’s decision whether to give their little one formula, breastmilk or a combination is unique to their journey. The continued use of formula just wasn’t right for us.
Self-Care is Primary Care
The next day I checked back in with my doulas Kim (Noula Doula) and Ellenie of Asc3nsion Art and really heeded their advice. I used warm compresses on my boobs and gently massaged them. I returned to nursing and the soreness lessened. We were back in business. It still took a while for me to feel comfortable getting Marley in and out of nursing positions. Our journey got a lot easier over time.
Now I feel comfortable nursing while leading a yoga class, eating at my favorite restaurants, or sending emails. Nursing became our precious time where me and my little one were present with each other. Nothing else going on around us really mattered. Marley just made 9 months yesterday and is also enjoying table food. Her faves are plain yogurt, fresh avocado and butternut squash soup. More info on preparing food for infants soon.
To my new parents, enjoy your journey. Give yourself permission to release some of the new parent guilt that creeps up in our heads time to time. There’s no perfect parent or perfect way to parent. Taking care of our little ones is a lifetime commitment. Create a nursing community before your little one arrives if you can. If you are unable to check out La Leche league and the Nola Breastfeeding Center.
Share your journey and learn from others. You are not alone. Join our community! If you’re in the New Orleans area, check out our weekly Baby and Me yoga and tea classes. We would love to have you. Click here for more info