What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Nursing a Newborn

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Nursing a NewbornNursing is an amazing journey. It’s beyond amazing that our bodies were made to feed our babies. For me, nursing my daughter was difficult at first and then a treasured experience that lasted 13 months. For my son so far, it’s been a breeze. He is a chunky little guy who loves to nurse, anytime and anywhere.  Here’s what I wish someone had told me about nursing a newborn baby.

1. Latching on may not be easy.

I read the books. I went to the classes. My aunt was a lactation consultant. I have a baby and I’m ready for the first time of nursing. She won’t latch. I asked nurses for help and was told I was doing fine and it would take time. Fast-forward a few days, and she still doesn’t latch well. I now realize I was starving my poor baby. Latching on can be a difficult task for some babies. It’s a learning experience for you both. Trials like lip-tie and tongue-tie can make it even harder. For my daughter, we had to use a nipple shield to aid in her latch for 2 weeks. It really, really helped. Going back to the hospital and getting help saved us. Don’t be afraid to get help. We’ve all been there.

2. It may hurt.

You always see these angelic, beautiful photographs of moms nursing their babies. Where are the real photos? Nursing your first baby hurts. It hurts at the beginnings of the feedings. I can remember cringing at the thought that it was time for my baby to eat. Natural nipple butter was my best friend. Letting your nipples air dry and using Soothies gel pads also helped. The good news is that it doesn’t last. Getting through the awkward pain is sometimes part of the nursing journey. I’m thankful for a dear friend who warned me of the pains.

3. Nursing is a true labor of love.

When you are nursing, you are the one who feeds your baby-not your spouse, not a friend, not an older sibling. When the baby wakes in the night, they need you. When the baby is crying in hunger, it’s up to you to handle it. Sometimes it’s a tough job. But sometimes, it’s a truly wonderful bonding experience. Looking back, you will never regret being the one who had to meet your baby’s needs.

4. Nursing benefits you both.

Not only does nursing benefit you and your baby’s health, it also promotes an amazing bond with your child. Yes, it’s tiring. Yes, it can be awkward. But nursing is a truly life-changing experience. The hours spent nursing will pass away as your baby grows, but the love and care you show for them will never fade.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana. She loves nursing and is so thankful for the journey.

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