I think nursing is the one of the most misunderstood aspects of mommiehood. Some people find it annoying and disgusting (take the moron who recently said Maggie Gyllenhaal should have been nursing her baby in the bathroom somewhere – how gross is that – maybe the paparazzi shouldn’t have been snapping photos and he should eat his lunch in the bathroom) many are realizing the it really is the best nourishment for a baby and then you have all the others somewhere in the middle. In the past year I’ve come across both in the medical field, thankfully more pro than con. I’m grateful that early on most of my interactions with Dr.’s and nurses were pro-nursing since it’s one of the most difficult and challenging things I’ve ever embarked on. I am very glad I was determined and had a great deal of professional help (from lactation consultants, a homebound nurse and several mommie friends) in the first week the since nursing Stephan is also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s also great for losing weight, who needs dieting?
Some things I’ve learned along the way … I stress way too much about how much and how often Stephan eats. Just go with the flow. Lanolin is a necessity, especially for the first month or so. While pumping can be an annoyance it’s really not that bad. With the right job you can continue nursing and head back to work. Formula is ok. Pacifiers are tiny miracle workers and help you get sleep. While nipple confusion may not be a myth it’s not something to stress about. Take care of yourself since nursing is like a full-time job. When you have questions consult the best nursing book I found, and I read almost every one I could get from the library before I had Stephan, The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins. This book has saved me an awkward call to the Kaiser helpline more than once and kept me from stressing that a minor problem was a more serious one. Reading the section that matches the age of your baby when you have concerns is immensely helpful and encouraging.
Most important, get through the learning phase of the first month or so and ENJOY the amazing and special bond with your baby … and if for some reason nursing doesn’t work out or you can’t nurse as long as you had hoped, your baby will be healthy and happy and won’t lose any IQ points!