“Few new parents have accurate expectations of how much their lives will change after the birth of their first child. The physical and mental exhaustion, and the constant attention newborns require, leave virtually no time for the individual pursuits or relationship activities that had characterized their lives previously,” wrote Guy Winch, PhD.
First time moms have many fears, and one of these is the fear of breastfeeding.
“A mother’s milk currently reigns supreme in the ebb and flow of what is the scientifically-supported, publicly favored infant feeding practice in our country. “Breast is best” is the ubiquitous chant that joins the chorus of physiological benefits supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics,” wrote Lauren Montgomery, MA.
Hours after giving birth to my eldest child, I woke up with a feeling of heaviness in my chest. I panicked and called the nurse immediately. She came and told me that I had produced milk. It was time to breastfeed, and so she brought the baby to me.
I’ve read some stuff about breastfeeding, but reading was very much different from me actually doing it. My anxiousness made me forget about those things, and I suddenly didn’t know exactly how to do it. How will I hold my baby? What if I fall asleep, I was still feeling exhausted at that time, and I was afraid that I might not notice his fall off the bed, or I might accidentally lie on him. Crazy thoughts began to play tricks on me.
The nurse might have sensed my nervousness, and so she guided me and reminded me of what I was supposed to do.
Benefits Of Breastfeeding
To calm me down while I was breastfeeding, she told me some stuff about breastfeeding.
- Colostrum found in the early milk that mother feeds his child in the first few days of life is the source of antibodies which protects baby from diseases as his immune system develops in the first year of his life.
- Breastfeeding allows the uterus to get back to its size before pregnancy.
- It reduces bleeding after delivery.
- It can delay the monthly period (but not a guarantee that you are safe during intercourse, so if you’re on family planning, you must still use some form of birth control).
- It’s practical as it can save you a lot of money because of the high price of formula these days.
It worked! I was able to do my first breastfeeding session without falling asleep because my nurse stayed by my side throughout the process, reminding me of stuff I should know about breastfeeding. When the baby fell asleep, I felt some relief in my breast. The nurse told me she would send someone after I got some rest.
Hours had passed, I got my nap, and another nurse (I thought) came in, a lactation consultant they called her. She re-oriented me about breastfeeding so I will be more comfortable with it. She told me that it’s natural for the first-time mother to feel anxious and panicky, but she said I would eventually get used to it.
The Pain of Baby Latches
Latching may be one of the most excruciating pains of motherhood, but a good latch is crucial in a mother-baby relationship. It helps lessen the mother’s risk of developing sore, bleeding, and irritated or abraded nipples. A good latch allows the baby to suck effectively, feeding himself an adequate amount of milk.
Help Your Baby Latch On
It is essential to know your baby’s feeding cues. Giving your breast at the early phase of hunger cues will make it more convenient to get the baby on the breast properly. There are steps you can follow to get a good latch.
- Sit with the baby where both your tummies are touching.
- Hold your breast near your baby’s mouth.
- Touch your nipple on the lower lip of your baby.
- When your baby opens his mouth, pull him in so he’ll latch on your breast.
Hearing my baby cry still puts me into a panic even after a week of feeding him. So once my baby latched on to my breast, I made sure that I hear him swallowing to be assured that he’s sucking the milk. Seeing him relaxed after feeding makes me calm down, too.
The pain a first-time mom feels often puts her in a state of anxiety and panic, especially when it comes to baby feeding. The lactation consultant who re-oriented me on breastfeeding helped me much, and as days passed, I got used to breastfeeding. There may still be some pain at times, but the joy surpasses all the pain.
According to Robert Muller, PhD, “Every woman’s situation is unique. Lifestyle habits, medication use, and medical and psychological history can complicate the post-partum experience. With this context in mind, the healthcare team should provide a comfortable environment — free of judgement — when discussing post-partum issues, including how to provide an infant’s nourishment.”
Every mother should look at breastfeeding as a beautiful experience, a great bonding moment with her baby that she will treasure forever.