A Letter To My Pre-Breastfeeding Self
Recently, a number of my close friends have given birth to their first child and started their breastfeeding journeys. This has got me thinking, and reminiscing, about the time following the birth of my first son nearly three years ago now. If I could send myself a message, perhaps late in pregnancy, about breastfeeding what would I say? What knowledge would I want to pass on to make those early days easier? Could I make those early days easier?
The start of my breastfeeding journey was a particularly bumpy one with an undiagnosed tongue tie and the aftermath of a traumatic birth. I wish I knew then what I know now about breastfeeding. We made it through and breastfed happily for two and a half years which, I believe, has positively founded my relationship with my son in care, love and respect. However, the early days were not happy days as they should have been. This is what I would have liked to say to my pre-breastfeeding self.
"Your body was created to feed your children. Have confidence in the wonder of your body. You can, and will, produce enough milk to feed your children. So relax, and enjoy those early days. Stroke your baby boy's head as he quietly drinks his milk, without worry. He will grow and develop and be strong because your milk is what he needs.
You are all he needs. You will naturally know when he needs feeding. Shut out the other opinions about how and when he should be feeding and sleeping. He wants to be close - always. He wants to feed - lots. Feeding for comfort is a wonderful thing.
It will get easier. There is so much change at first so be gentle with yourself. You both need time to learn about each other and about breastfeeding. Keep asking for help. Then keep asking for more help. That is ok. It is ok to need time and support. You are giving your son a marvellous gift - Nature's Perfect Milk. Your tiny baby will become an active, bounding toddler on your breastmilk and he will be comforted, and know love, through your milk.
Take one day at a time; you will get there. With support, dedication and following your instincts your breastfeeding relationship will be firmly established and you will both flourish."
What would you tell your pre-breastfeeding self? How do you think this knowledge would have impacted your breastfeeding journey?
I look forward to reading your letters.