This blog post may be somewhat disconnected and not flow too well. I'm just typing out thoughts as they pop into my head.
Everyone says that the first 2-3 months with a new baby are the most tough and I believe it's because everything is so new. Unfortunately babies don't come with manuals but there's a veritable amount of useful information out there that is definitely helpful. And more than that there are people out there who have been through the same experiences and their advice is worth its weigh in gold.
Maureen of Island Fairy shared this blog post with me and there are contributions from several mothers who describe their experiences. The theme that stood out the most for me was that most women said that they needed to remind themselves that they are doing the best that they can, and that is so true. We're all doing the best that we can and nothing is either black or white. Parenting is definitely a very grey area because everyone does it differently and that doesn't mean that one way is better than another (I'm obviously assuming that no one is beating the shit out of their kid). Unfortunately there are the puritans out there who believe in an all-or-nothing way of parenting that puts unnecessary pressure on parents. And sometimes I believe there are mothers who do this to themselves.
We all want things to go perfectly and 'according to plan' but perhaps in such a delicate situation that is, ultimately, out of our control it's best not to have a plan. I remember not paying much attention to the Cesaerian lecture during our pre-natal class, because I assumed that I would just have a normal delivery. Well I was wrong there. But because I wasn't hell-bent on a particular delivery I wasn't affected and I think that helped. When it came to feeding, I started nursing in hospital and all was going well because I had help when it came to latching him, but it was a different story once I got home. Reality kicks in and life becomes somewhat overwhelming and breastfeeding was becoming more and more painful with each feed to the point that I was hunched over and miserable. I spoke to people who all said 'stick with it. The discomfort will pass' and all I could think was 'Discomfort? Do they not remember the sheer pain?' It turned out that I had likely got a fungus that set in the very deep nipple cracks so every time I was latching him on the cracks were re-opened and the fungus was being stimulated. It was a difficult time because you always want to give the best to your baby, but at the same time being a depressed new mother doesn't help anyone. So that evening we bought formula and a breast pump. As luck would have it, the breast pump that I bought had a faulty motor, only I didn't find out till a few days later. I simply thought that it was going to take me ages to pump a decent amount of milk - yet more nursing disappointments. But then I came to the conclusion that the most important thing is that my baby is being fed, whatever the method and that was probably the healthiest train of thought that I had.
And that's what new mothers need. Healthy and supportive thoughts and decisions that are good both for their baby and for themselves. If I were forced to continue breastfeeding life would be very different right now, and not in a good way. That's not to say that I won't breastfeed when/if we have another child. I will definitely give it another go, I'll just be more prepared and aware of what can happen and what I can do to avoid a recurring situation.
What I'm reminding myself each day is that not only does it get better, but to also appreciate each and every day because he's already grown a lot since Day 1 and he's only going to continue growing so I need to make the most of him at this age/size.