Breastfeeding Tucy: The First Days

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I was so inspired to read about Amanda’s journey of breastfeeding her boy that it inspired me to write my own. Don’t miss her story, and if you are inspired, then please share yours!

Here is PART ONE of our (epic) breastfeeding journey.

Growing, birthing and breastfeeding my beautiful girl has been the most difficult, life-altering, mind-altering, world-shattering ride I’ve ever rode (by the seat of my pants). In my first two years as Tucy’s mama, breastfeeding was the healing balm that soothed, guided and nourished me more than anything else in my role as mother.

Note: As always, I deeply honor and respect every woman’s path and journey into motherhood.We are all different, make different choices and I respect that. This is my journey, and it is a honor to share it with you, as I hope you will share your journey with others.

BIRTH

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Tucy and mama, an hour or two after birth. Note: why she is fully clothed and hatted I have no idea! Skin-to-skin would have been just fine.

Tucy was born at home. As soon as she was born, my midwife placed her straight against my skin. They stood back and watched, and let me be the one to touch her. I’m so grateful for that. They let her cord finish pulsating, and really barely interfered with us for several minutes after birth (note: many midwives wait even longer to cut the cord, or don’t cut it at all). My hands were the only hands that helped her to the breast.

Since learning about the Breast Crawl, I realize the importance of letting the baby find the breast on her own. It’s funny to me now looking back how my “nurse” instincts kicked in after she was born and within minutes after her birth I was getting her latched on the breast. Luckily she didn’t care 🙂

Read more about the Breast Crawl

SKIN TO SKIN

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Ah, skin-to-skin. The healing salve of new motherhood. Tucy was skin-to-skin most of the time for the first days, weeks and months of her life. The first flood of true love that I felt for her was two days after her birth, in the middle of the night as the two of us lay awake and skin-to-skin. I swear to goodness, she smelled just like … raw HONEY. It was the sweetest, most heavenly smell. (I kept asking Mike if he smelled it, but he said he didn’t.)

Read more about Skin-to-Skin

ENGORGEMENT

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The only reason I’m smiling … my severe engorgement was finally gone! Tucy, age 3 weeks old.

Oh Lord, Engorgement. At the time it was happening, I believed that I was the only woman on earth who experienced this horrible problem. Everything I read said that it would naturally subside in a few days.  Lies, all lies! My breasts were rock-hard before and after breastfeeding. They were more painful than the cramps or the tear from giving birth. I couldn’t lie on my stomach. I had no idea what to do to help myself. I hadn’t purchased a breast pump yet, and I had never learned to hand-express. (This makes me so angry, I was a labor and birth nurse for four years already and no one had ever taught me hand expression? These days, I teach it to every breastfeeding mom I meet).

It was my dear husband who saved my life. He was the only one who had the guts (or the pleasure) of squeezing my rock-hard breasts to express the milk until they got a little softer. My mom went out and got me a nursing bra, which I didn’t realize I needed until after I had one. Cabbage leaves (fifteen minutes twice a day), also felt like heaven on earth.

RESOURCES FOR ENGORGEMENT

Managing Milk Oversupply: The MDR Method

Kelly Mom on Engorgement

EMBRACING MAMA-HOOD

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There were so many moments, hours and days when I felt inadequate as a new mother. Then I breast-fed my baby, and reminded myself that I could give her whatever in life she needed. When I felt especially stressed, I would run us a bath and get in with her, letting her nurse if she wanted to. She would always stop crying, I would relax, and her soft skin felt so good next to mine.

WHAT SAVED ME

Stay tuned for more of our breastfeeding journey:

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