Welcome to Motherhood
Updated: Aug 18, 2019
I have been reminded several times in the past few weeks how HARD being a new mom is. Watching friends and clients go through the ups and downs of the newborn period, I cannot help but wonder how any of us make it through and especially those whose babies struggle. I realize the following pieces of advice and information are not all original to me and many of us have heard them before, but I think it's important to say them again.
Let other moms help you. Whether it's your sister, mother-in-law, or friend, we have all been in your shoes and please remember that the best gift we can give you is time... to sleep, shower, or get out of the house for the first time in days. Trust us and let us hold your babies, crying or quiet, so that you can have a break.
Breastfeeding can be hard. It is not easily measurable and you forge ahead with blind faith that your body and baby's will do their jobs. It doesn't always go as planned. While breastmilk provides amazing benefits for your baby, a happy, satisfied baby is best and so is a mother who is enjoying the feeding process. Choose what is right for your family, carefully weigh the pros and cons, and give yourself permission to feed your baby in a way that is the best for both of you, even if it is not what you had originally envisioned.
It will get better. There are many wonderful people out there who can help you and your baby. That may be lactation consultants, pediatricians, GI specialists, allergists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, craniosacral therapists... the list goes on. Access resources if you can and push to get answers. If you are told that you just have a colicky baby and you feel in your gut something is wrong, talk to someone different.
You are still breastfeeding successfully, even if it's not full time. Exclusive breastfeeding is a goal for many mothers, however there are also many benefits of helping your baby learn to take breastmilk or formula from a bottle. It can be overwhelming to be the one person who can feed your baby and bottle-feeding allows for that bonding time with your significant other. Moving between breast and bottle can also be therapeutic for your baby and help him/her become a more flexible eater.
It is not your fault. If a baby is not gaining weight or screaming 24 hours a day, it is unusual that it is actually due to poor parenting skills or inappropriate feeding techniques. Take photos and videos to illustrate your concerns - they can be very powerful.
It will all be worth it in the end. You are strong. You can do this. That little tiny person that you created loves you to the moon and back. Welcome to Motherhood!