Welcome to Mommyhood!
Over the past two weeks I've been thinking about all the things that have changed and how I've made my "Transition to Mommyhood." There are so many things I've wanted to share with my friends who are expecting their babies any day now that I've found helpful. Maybe some of these things will be helpful to my friends who are already mommies too. Either way, I've decided to share these things as a series. It just seems like the cool thing to do on your blog these days. Plus I could write them all as one post, but it would be time consuming to do all at once, and it would make one super-long post for people to read all at one time (not that I'm a stranger to writing those).
So, let's begin!
The first topic I want to cover in the series is NURSING! It's one of the first challenges you encounter when you reach Mommyhood, if you choose to nurse. If you choose to bottle-feed then this topic will not be so helpful (that I know of). There are all kinds of things people will tell you about nursing, just like they've been telling you throughout the entire pregnancy. You'll hear the horror stories, the stories of how simple it is, and all kinds of advice on what to do and how to do it. Armed with all those stories and pearls of wisdom, you should go into nursing with the understanding that it's still going to be a challenge. Like a cartwheel, someone can explain to you all about how to do it, but until you're trying it yourself, it's really hard to fully understand.
I felt confident going in because I had gotten lots of pointers from my sister who has four children. However, it was still a learning process for me and the baby. What helped me with this part of the transition to Mommyhood was listening to my instincts and reading cues from the baby. Nurses would inevitably come into the room for something when I was trying to feed her, and they would want to offer their assistance if the baby was fussing at all. I always welcomed their help. Being a first-time mommy, chances are they knew things I didn't. What was the worst that could happen? They offer me advice that didn't work and I try something else. Unfortunately, more times than not, that was the case. I explained to every nurse who tried to help me that my baby had a stuffy nose and she had a hard time breathing when she was latched, so she kept unlatching to breathe and then latching again. Maybe it was because I was a first-time mommy, but they all seemed to disregard this information. They told me to stuff the breast into my baby's mouth as far as I could, even if she was screaming and struggling. This was nothing short of traumatic for me and the baby. She was turning bright red, shaking and screaming, not to mention gasping and snorting for breath every time she could pull her face away from me. I didn't want feeding to become this terrifying experience for her when she thought her mommy was trying to suffocate her. So when the nurses left I would hold her close to let her calm down and then go back to letting her latch and unlatch as needed. It was painful, I won't lie. But that pain was more than bearable in comparison to the look on her face when the nurses would smash her face against me.
It took a few more days after we got home for her to really get the hang of latching on and staying on. The stuffy nose was no help, and we're still battling that. It got more painful before it got better. But once the real milk came in she didn't have to work as hard to get it and things have been on the upswing from then on. The bottom line here is that nursing is a learning experience. I gladly listened to the advice that the professionals offered, and then did what I felt was best. I had to hang in there when I felt like I couldn't possibly let her touch me, and I'm glad I did.
I hope my friends who are about to enter Mommyhood have great nursing experiences (if they decide to nurse) and are able to use my story to help them transition to Mommyhood!