How Breastfeeding Brought Me Peace of Body
Breastfeeding has been such a joy for me. But initially, I had a lot of anxiety around it before giving birth— would I be able to?
I was very worried about my ability to do it because in my early twenties I opted for a breast lift (no implants). At the time I was young and eager to find a reason to love my body. I knew there could be complications with breastfeeding down the road but I was too eager to change my physical appearance to worry about kids (which felt very far away at the time). I had heard stories about women who had my surgery who couldn't breastfeed and heard about a few that could. It was a toss-up and something I wouldn't know the answer to until she came.
Would my supply be enough? Would she latch? And it was rough for the first 48hrs. She didn't latch right away and it was unclear if my supply was up to par.
Luckily, I worked with a great nurse and lactation consultant that helped me learn how to hand express my colostrum. From there we learned how to give it to her via syringe (it was like feeding a baby bird!). My lactation consultant urged me to keep trying to get her to latch every moment she was awake and not to get frustrated or upset, that these things can take time and every baby has her own path. So that's what I did—I kept trying and trying and it wasn't until the end of the 3rd day that she really learned how to latch. It was such a huge relief and my entire body kicked into gear once she latched properly. And I'm happy to report, my supply is bonkers!
Physically, it was such a beautiful experience as it allowed me to really connect with her. It felt like we were speaking to one another for the first time as two individual people rather than how we communicated while she was growing in my womb. Now that she's 3.5 weeks old I cherish the moments she's awake and I just get to nourish her and hold her close. These days are already going by so quickly and having these quiet, still times with her are allowing me to stay in the moment and just be present.
To relieve the anxious feelings I had about the unknown, I did a lot of meditation and visualizations while pregnant. Visualizing myself breastfeeding. I also had to forgive myself for deciding at such a young age that my breasts weren't good enough and that I had to undergo major surgery just to find an excuse to love the way I looked. It took some time and a lot of work but I know now that that young girl needed it, and the woman I am now needed the lesson of working through forgiveness. I know a lot of mothers struggle with breastfeeding, so please know I do not take it lightly that it's come so easily for us.
For all you mamas out there, I highly recommend a lactation consultant from day one. I didn't fully understand how important having one would be, but she really helped take the pressure off and allowed me to keep my faith that all would work out. Both mama and baby are learning how to feed for the first time and having a pro really helped me relax into the process rather than being anxious and nervous about how it would all turn out.
What a wild, beautiful journey this is! Sending love and blessings to all mamas.