Newborn babies are so much more complicated than I thought they would be. After growing in the perfectly safe environment with no irritants or foreign foods, baby is born and their instinct to eat is immediate. Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, this can become a stressful time for both mama and baby. Some babies latch right on without trouble, but some babies have a harder time learning the ropes of feeding.
My second baby was born a pro but that wasn't the case with my first. It took me almost two weeks and a million tears from both of us for him to feed well. When he couldn't latch, I pumped milk and tried just about every bottle on the market. We tried nipple shields, spoon feeding and droppers. I visited a lactation consultant. I went to a Le Leche League meeting and I cried on the phone to my friends.
Basically I was a mess.
Looking back, I wish that there were some things I knew before my first was born. I wish someone would have encouraged me to calm the heck down and gently remind me that everything would be ok. I wish they would have told me over and over again that it was going to be OK. Because of course, it did turn out OK. Eventually he latched and learned how to nurse. If he hadn't, and I had to continue pumping milk and supplementing formula that would have been OK, too.
But it sure was emotional and stressful those first few weeks.
That first milestone for both mama and baby is just learning the basics of feeding for the very first time. It's exhilarating, exhausting, scary and wonderful all at once. And the best advice I can give to any new mama is simple. Just feed the baby. However that works for you, just feed the baby.
What advice do you have for getting through those first days at home with a newborn? What do wish someone had told you?
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