The Joy of Breastfeeding

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.

This is the formula that we tried.

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.

Me and my doula/sista healer Ellenie at my baby shower

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.

Homemade butternut squash pops

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

 

Ask for What You Want

Many of us may be used to helping others and being hesitant to ask for help in return. Or we may not ask for that promotion and instead wait longingly for it to be offered to us.

Give yourself permission to ask not only for what you need, but what you want.

As a new mom, I also get caught up with doing things for my little one and forget to do things for myself.  In order to take care of others, we need to take care of ourselves as well.  So there’s no guilt in me taking time to go to a yoga class, read a book or go to a coffee shop.  These are wants that are important to me and give me joy.

I’ve also been putting this idea to use more frequently in business matters as well.  I ask for sponsors and donations or yoga classes and even trips.  A lot of times I offer different trades of services as well.   I’m surprised at the positive responses I’ve received. All I had to do was ask.

We may not get a yes every time, but there’s no harm in putting in the request and letting the universe do the rest. So go ahead, ask for that promotion, raise or even time with that special someone.  You’re worth it!

XO,

Valerie