You've had a baby...but you still don't have your body back
You've carried your cute little parasite for almost 10 months and they're finally here! Especially in the third trimester, you've really be looking forward to having your body back and being able to eat/drink what you want. Well, if you're breastfeeding guess what? You still don't get your body back! You have to watch what you eat because it can transfer in breastmilk to your baby and sometimes your baby will have an allergy and you have to give up dairy, eggs, nuts all sorts of stuff...Which leads me to
Breastfeeding is hard...really hard
I remember when I was pregnant with Ewan and took my breastfeeding class, the lactation consultant (if you even want to call her that) told us that if you do skin to skin, your baby will magically know where to go and will find his/her way to your nipple and nurse. Maybe some people get that lucky, but for the vast majority of us, that's a load of crap! It's a learning experience for both of you. I remember when I was finally brought to a postpartum room and reunited with Ewan (see Part 3 next week), I did skin to skin with him and, yeah. Neither of us knew what to do. I remember bawling my eyes out telling him I was so sorry that I was failing him already.
I remember my milk not coming in until 6 days post partum due to my c-section and bawling my eyes out yet again because he was hungry and crying himself hoarse because I had nothing to give him - that day started supplementation. I remember those countless days and nights where I cried and cried to Alan because I couldn't do it anymore. I remember the horrible pain when my milk finally came in and I had to use a nipple shield for the first month of his life because he couldn't latch to my engorged breasts. I was never able to really pump to save a stash because he had to be held all the time - I never had more than 30oz frozen at a time - and my supply took a huge dip when I had my gallbladder removed at 7 weeks postpartum and was in so much pain that I couldn't even hold him to feed him for close to a week (again, see Part 3 next week). I was able to give him one bottle of breastmilk a day at daycare and nurse him at home, and then the rest of his bottles were formula. My supply slowly dwindled until around 11 months where he was barely getting anything and we limped to his first birthday, when was the last time he nursed. I know most people would've probably given up long before that but it was really really important to me that I give him everything I could. I know he's a thriving little troublemaker now, but I still beat myself up about it and am determined to not have to give Cecily formula. So far so good. While it has been easier this time around, that doesn't mean we haven't had our issues or that I don't get frustrated with being her only food source. I had to use a nipple shield for a day or so when my milk came in, I've had blisters on my nipples and I've had many nights where all I want to do is tell Alan to just give her a bottle because I need to sleep (oh wait, I have - but this time with pumped milk!). It's not all roses, believe me. If I only knew the first time what I know now...there are many resources out there for breastfeeding moms if you know where to look, kellymom.com being one of the best. There's also the breastfeeding community on LiveJournal (if you don't mind the snark), as well as your local La Leche League. Not to mention utilizing lactation while you're in the hospital or going to a lactation consultant after you go home.
And now that I've shown you what a crunchy mom I really am...I will leave you waiting for part 3 next week!