Lisa: The Late Bloomer
Lisa had her first child at the age of 37. A self-proclaimed “late bloomer,” Lisa now finds it hard to remember what life was like before her daughter was born. So far parenting has been amazing, exhausting, frustrating, joyous, emotional and even hilarious - all wrapped up into one.
Saying goodbye to breastfeeding is like saying goodbye to an old friend. I should know because I've had to do both. Both were hard decisions. Both decisions involved guilt and second-guessing. Both decisions kept me up at night. But I knew both were the right decisions.
Two years ago, I moved halfway across the country to get married and start a family. And when I did, I said goodbye to my BFF of twenty plus years. And with breastfeeding, I said goodbye and weaned the baby I wouldn't have had if I didn't make that move. Isn't it funny how life works out?
Breastfeeding was good to me, good to my baby. It was there for me, there for my baby. It gave me a bond with my baby. It gave me memories. It gave my baby health and well being. But like they say, all good things must eventually come to an end. Or change.
The reasons I decided to stop breastfeeding might be considered selfish. And might cause others to judge me. But I can’t worry what others will think of my decision. Because it was mine.
I stopped because I was done. It had become too much work. Become too inconvenient. Too time-consuming. Especially when I traveled with and especially without her. And I travel a lot.
So as I weaned my daughter, I made sure to savor the experience of nursing. To record in my mind how I felt. To remember how great the experience was for the baby, me, my husband.
Just like with the good bye to my BFF, the weaning was an emotional and on-going process. And just like with my BFF, there's a part of me that will always miss it. But just like I know it was the right decision to move, I know it was the right decision to say goodbye to breastfeeding. There will always be a place in my heart for what it did for us. And I will be forever thankful.9:00am on Monday September 26
When I walk into a room and my baby starts giggling and smiling, it melts my heart.
When I go into her nursery in the morning and pick her up out of her crib and she wraps her little arms around my neck and gives me a hug, it makes my day.
When I hold her in my arms and she looks up at me with her big innocent eyes, it fills me with joy.
So I often think, will she always love me this way?
It’s been a summer full of sunshine, swim lessons and stroller rides.
For HH, it’s been diapers and t-shirts, bloomers and onesies and never even a pair of socks.
For me, it’s been sundresses, shorts and flip-flops and never a pair of shoes. To say we’ve been enjoying our summer is an understatement.
But with Labor Day just around the corner and back to school sales all around, there’s no denying that summer’s about to end.
But I’m choosing to live in denial anyway.
I’m in denial that…
Day Light Savings time will soon suck away the sun an hour earlier each day (hate that!).
That the warm air will turn cool and then really, really, really cold (did I mention really cold?).
That I’ll have to trade in my flip-flops for shearling-lined boots.
That before I know it, I’ll have to bundle the baby up from head to toe before I can even think about leaving the house.
That life will feel harder.
Things just feel easier in the summer. Less clothes, less stress, less mess.
And in the fall and winter, it feels like you have to work harder, get more serious.
More clothes, more stress, more mess!
When HH was born it was the dead of winter. It was gray and gloomy and the ground was covered with snow. And we were practically trapped in the house for two straight months.
So to say I was looking forward to the sun is another understatement. And maybe that’s why I’m clinging to summer and choosing to live in denial. At least for another month anyway.
It seems like just yesterday that HH was born. And suddenly, she’s seven-and-a-half months old. Where did the time go? (I think I lost a fair amount of it in the fog of those early months.)
And practically overnight, she went from being a swaddled blob (albeit a beautiful blob) to crawling to pulling herself up!
Before I know it she’ll be walking, then running, then driving!
Okay, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Or am I? Every mother I’ve talked to has told me that it goes by fast, too fast.
And as I watch her becoming more and more active (she’s trying with all her might to stand up!) and wanting to explore- everything- she seems like seven months going on seven-teen.
I can see the wheels in her head spinning as she surveys what I think is the perfect baby-proofed house. Then she fixates on the lamp in the corner, then her eyes move down to the cord. She crawls over and pulls. And even though I have the cord in one of those “protective” outlet covers, there’s still just enough for her to pull.
And I realize that she’s found the loophole. And even though I moved the lamp, she’ll find more loopholes in the years to come. Because my parenting will never be perfect. (Oh how I hate admitting that!)
HH is smart and curious and growing up. And these things make me equal parts happy and sad. Because no longer is she my little swaddled blob that eats, sleeps, repeats. She’s so much more than that.
I approached my labor day like I was going on a paradise vacation.
- Seven outfits
- Five pairs of designer slippers
- Four books
- Three magazines
- Two digital cameras, two video cameras
- A Laptop
- An iPad
- An iPod
- A journal
- And a partridge in a pear tree.
Okay, maybe not the partridge in the pear tree. But the nurses in triage said they’d seen it all and they’d never as much “stuff” as I brought with me.
The only thing that separated my seven bags from a vacation and a hospital stay was my birth plan. Oh and I guess my granny panties and bag of extra large, ultra absorbent maxi pads might have given me away too.
To say I over-packed is an understatement.
But the funny thing is, I thought I was prepared. I thought I knew what it was going to be like. Apparently, I thought I was going to be sitting around with so much time on my hands that I’d finish four books? I never even cracked a single one open. I opted for drugs so let’s just say the words would’ve been a blur anyway. And seven outfits? I lived in one pair of sweat pants practically the entire time.
What I would tell someone who was about to give birth is to think more about what it’s going to be like when you meet your little one. To mentally prepare yourself for the biggest gift you’ll ever receive. To be prepared to feel more love than you ever thought possible. The truth is, all you need to bring with you to the hospital is a camera and your heart. Because you are going to love this little baby more than you ever thought possible. And as soon as he or she arrives, the last thing you are going to be worried about is how nice your slippers look.
But I would also tell a mom-to-be that labor is a little like a vacation because you do get a very nice souvenir.
Before I became a mom, I had always heard of the unspoken language between mothers. It’s a language that until you become a mother yourself, you can’t speak or understand. In fact, you’re completely oblivious to it. But once you’ve given birth and carried a child around on your hip, you fully understand. It can be spoken with the nod of a head or a knowing look, a stare, a grimace or a supportive smile. And it’s often a non-verbal communication between mothers that don’t even know one another.
There have been several instances where I’ve gotten through a tough moment with my daughter in public because another mother gave me that I’ve so been there look that instantly made me feel like I wasn’t the worst mom on the planet.
Like the time I was in yet another bathroom without a changing table (what's up with that?) and changing HH by the sliver of a countertop next to the sink and a mother walks in and washes her hands without even a word about the poopy diaper sitting next to her. And as she smiles at me, I know she has a child of her own.
There was also the time I was at a restaurant and shoved in a corner, the high chair crowding my neighbor. But I know she’s a mom when she gives me that look that tells me she’s been there and moves her chair over to make room.
And there was the time I was at Target and trying to pay for my cart full of items (most of which I did not need!) and HH will decide she’s had it with her car seat and wants out now! I’ve held her in one arm while paying with my other. The woman behind me didn’t mind at all that I was taking extra time. And as I smiled at her, sweat dripping down my forehead, she gave me the look that told me she was a mom too.
And I think of the many times when I was frustrated that a child cried on an airplane or a woman and her kids came out of the bathroom stall I was waiting for and I want to slap myself silly. They were just moms trying to get the job done.
So I hope I’m making up for it now when I open the door for a woman with a stroller or I don’t mind a woman with young kids boards the airplane before me. I hope I’m making up for the past before I knew what it was like to be a mom. Before I spoke the language.
One of my favorite things about being a mom is watching my daughter grow and change every day. On Monday, she’ll start making a new sound. On Tuesday, she’ll get up on her knees. On Wednesday, I’ll swear she just said, Hi. And so on and so on…9:00am on Monday August 29
I travel between Chicago and Los Angeles a lot. And most of the time I bring the baby. (She’s become quite the expert traveler!) And it’s been interesting to observe the differences in attitudes, approaches and opinions about breastfeeding.
Disclaimer: These observations are based on the women I know personally. I’m not sure they’re representative of the cities overall.
The subject of breastfeeding seems to be more taboo amongst the moms I know in Los Angeles. I’ve rarely been asked by anyone there if I breastfeed. Even my nearest and dearest friends don’t engage the topic unless I bring it up first. And even then, the conversations don’t last long. But back in Chicago, it’s a whole different ballgame. I’ve written before that, was I going to nurse? was the #1 question I was asked while pregnant. And, are you nursing? was the #1 question I was asked after I had the baby. And I remember feeling like it was a very personal question to be asked. And maybe I get that attitude from living in California for so long?
Nursing isn’t as prevalent with the moms I know in L.A. In Los Angeles not as many of my friends nursed their own babies. And they had no qualms about admitting this. They weren’t worried about judgment. And I never thought twice about it when I was living in L.A. In fact, I’m not sure I would have nursed had circumstances been different and I’d given birth and raised my baby there. But in the Midwest, it’s been rare that a mother has told me she opted not to nurse. That she didn’t even try it. In fact, I can think of one friend who skipped it altogether.
The moms I know in L.A. don’t nurse as long as the moms I know in the Midwest. The women I know in California who did breastfeed didn’t do it for an extended period of time. Three to six months seemed to be the norm. I only know one friend in Los Angeles who breastfed her baby for a year. But back in Chicago, a year seems to be the norm.
I’m not sure why these differences exist but it’s been fascinating to observe them.
When I was pregnant, one of the questions I was most commonly asked by moms in my town was, are you going to breastfeed? And after I had my daughter, those same moms checked in to see how it was going, eager to offer advice and share their own stories- both positive (bonding!) and negative (biting!).
These moms were incredibly accepting and supportive. And although I appreciated the offers of advice and support, I was never comfortable reciprocating and telling my own personal stories about nursing. To confide in these moms I liked a lot, but didn’t know well, felt awkward.
I hadn’t lived in my town for long and was still trying to find my footing. All of my good friends were now halfway across the country and those were the people I was used to reaching out to when I had questions. But I knew I needed to find local friends with babies. I knew I needed to branch out into my community.
And in my own way I did. I took a prenatal yoga class while pregnant. And I met another mom, due just weeks before me. When we also ended up in the same breastfeeding class, we laughed that it was fate. And we became friends. And since having our babies, we’ve navigated the waters of breastfeeding and new mommyhood together. We’ve laughed at our mistakes and commiserated about our struggles. And we’ve cheered each other on.
And we’ve talked about how supportive the town is of breastfeeding. And although neither of us has chosen to breastfeed in public, we know that no one would bat an eye if we did.
And even though I haven’t chosen to join one of the many different moms groups, I know they are there. So for me, it’s just nice to know there’s support in my town when and if I should need it.
I'm not great at taking advice. Or at asking for help. So when I decided to breastfeed, I didn't consult friends or family. Instead, I signed up for a class. I did research online. I read books. I decided I was going to figure it out on my own.
Just like I'd done with so many other things in my life.
And after the baby was born, it was me, myself and I navigating the waters of breastfeeding. My husband was there too and incredibly supportive but he was playing just as many guessing games as I was. It's not like he had any first hand experience. He knew it and I knew it. But he wasn't about to suggest I ask for help. I was hormonal!
And deep down, I knew I should ask for help. There were many family members who told me should I ask for advice, they'd be happy to supply it. There were friends I knew had breastfed and knew could help me. There were mom groups I knew I could join- that I’d been invited to join!
But instead I chose to be a community of one. And in hindsight, I wish I'd allowed myself to ask for help. I wish I'd let myself be a little needy and vulnerable instead of wanting to be tough and "figure it out". Instead of being insistent that I prove to myself that I could do it on my own. Because that was just plain silly.
Thankfully I had (and still have!) the Bravado community. Bravado helped me understand that the breastfeeding community is a tight group- always there for each other. I learned that it's okay to ask for help. That it's okay to admit it's hard. That it can be frustrating. I learned that you don't have to be a community of one.9:00am on Monday August 8
There are many exacts in life.
Exactly how much flour you need to bake a cake.
Exactly how many feet there are in a yard.
Exactly how many hours there are in a day.
But when it comes to nursing there are no exacts.
9:00am on Monday August 1
In the beginning, it was challenging because I wanted to know exactly how much milk my baby was getting.
To be able to tell exactly how long she needed to nurse to get that amount.
To be able to know exactly when she’d drank enough to be able to gain the proper weight she needed to gain.
My mind would play tricks on me and I’d wonder if any milk was even coming out. I’d look down at her and she was definitely eating. Or was she? I’d feel the let down, but then I’d wonder if I’d imagined it.
I know this probably sounds a bit neurotic. Okay, a lot neurotic.
But I wasn’t just a new mom. I was a self-proclaimed control freak new mom. One that desperately wished my baby had come with a manual that listed her exact needs. (Again, why don’t they come with instructions? Would be a lot easier?)
But over time I learned that nursing is about instincts. Just like being a mom is about instincts. And about trusting that you know what you’re doing.
So now that I’ve been nursing for several months, dare I admit out loud that I kind of feel like an old pro. Which is strange considering not that long ago, I didn’t know up from down, right from wrong, the sleep deprivation and constant questioning and self-doubt taking hold. My eyes bleary from all the books and websites I’d read looking for answers about breastfeeding.
But now I feel like my baby and I have got it down. And I’m proud of that. I stuck with it and got over that hump- the beginning part that’s so hard because it hurts physically and emotionally. And everyone is giving you their two cents- mothers and mothers-in-law and other family members and friends who mean well when they tell you this or tell you that but then before you know it your head is swimming with too much of this and that. And you’re confused.
And now that I’m out of the fog and feeling good, I have other friends who are pregnant and asking for my opinion about breastfeeding. And I’m not sure what to say and what not to say. Because when I was in their shoes and received advice- solicited and unsolicited-- it was hard to know who to listen to and who not to listen to. So now I find that I’m censoring myself and over thinking and being fearful that I’ll say too much.
Inside I’m thinking, YES, you should do it! It will be amazing for you and your baby. You’ll bond! It will create memories you’ll never forget. It will be hard at first, maybe even painful, but you will figure it out. And you will be happy you stuck with it.
But instead I simply tell them that it worked well for me but it’s a very personal choice- one that they have to come to on their own because in the end, it should be their decision and shouldn’t be influenced by me or anyone else. And I’m not sure if that’s the right thing or wrong thing but it’s the thing I’m saying because it feels right to me.
First, remember that you're being asked for advice, not offering it unsolicited. Second, handle the request as you might with other parenting topics. Just as you might want to be helpful in telling a friend about an amazing meal you had, a great movie you saw or a vacation spot that you can't wait to revisit, imparting your breastfeeding experience can be a great help to a friend who is asking for your help. Since she is asking for your help you needn't feel like you're giving unsolicited advice. You don't need to be a breastfeeding cheerleader but sharing your general experience will be a great help to your friend as most moms don't make it as far as you have breastfeeding. Chances are you are one of the few people in her life who has even gone through this.
I agree that you should't give your friend advice about how to breastfeed but you also want her to have a happy experience with her baby The best, least harmful thing you can do is to tell your friend that despite some hiccups that breastfeeding has been a wonderful experience for you and HH, and point her towards the resources that you've found helpful (like the Breastfeeding Diaries!).
I’ve never breastfed in public. And I don’t think I ever will.
I don’t think I’m the type to whip it out at Starbucks.
It feels too private, too personal. Something that is for just me, myself and my baby. Not me, myself and the random guy ordering a latte.
In the privacy of my own home I can make the baby more comfortable and certainly I am more comfortable. It’s “our time”. (But don’t get me wrong- if a friend or family member is over, I will nurse in front of them because they are someone I know and trust.) I like the fact that when I breastfeed at home, I don’t have to worry that one of my nipples is inadvertently hanging out.
I guess I’d rather risk my baby getting nipple confusion than have some stranger get confused when they accidentally see my nipple.
And although I know there are plenty of wonderful nursing covers out there, I’m still not sure I’d feel confident enough to use one.
If I have to venture out with the baby during a feeding time, I take a bottle. And it’s no big deal for me to pump and store so I have milk on hand for whenever I need it. At this point, I’ve got it down to a fine science and packing the diaper bag is as intuitive as packing my own handbag.
Fortunately for me and the baby, I’m such an anal retentive organized control freak that I’ve never been without a bottle. I always have more than I need- just in case.
I guess I don’t feel comfortable nursing my baby out in the open. Is that so bad?
I’m not judging other women who do it. More power to the mom who can nurse with abandon. Who will feed her baby anywhere, any time.
It’s just not me. And I’m not sure it ever will be.
Don’t get me wrong. I would never let my baby starve because I didn’t want some guy to get a glimpse of my areola or because I feared some woman would start a Facebook campaign because I nursed in a spot she felt was inappropriate. But let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.
And for what it’s worth, the hubs is glad I’m not showing the goods all over town too! The idea of me nursing our daughter in public also makes him uncomfortable and I am definitely going to respect that.
Before I had my baby, I had grown quite accustomed to my sleep. Scratch that. Before I got pregnant, I had grown quite accustomed to my sleep. Eight hours a night, sometimes nine. Ten if I was really grooving. So then already exhausted from not having a solid night of sleep in gawd only knows how long, I gave birth. And I was my daughter's only source of food. And by the way she was eating, the food I was providing must have been really, really good. Like 3 Michelin stars good. Like winner of Top Chef good. She couldn't get enough and was coming back for seconds and thirds and is there such a thing as fourths?
And I was falling asleep on the job.9:00am on Monday July 11
Within the first month of HH's life, there were so many firsts that I hope I'll never forget. That I wish I could permanently etch into my memory. I want to remember not just the moment, but how I felt, what I said or did. Because each one changed my life, changed me.
The first time I saw her. (I cried my eyes out.)
The first time I held her. (I cried some more.)
The first time I kissed her. (Still crying.)
The first words I spoke to her. (You're beautiful, I love you.)
The first time I nursed her. (I can sustain her life. Amazing.)
The first time I was alone with her. (Heaven.)
The first time I watched her sleep. (Peace.)
The first time she curled her little fingers around mine. (Pure love.)
The first time she fell asleep on my chest. (A dream.)
The first time she smiled at me. (Excited. I swear it wasn't gas!)
The first time I gave her a bath. (So nervous!)
The first time I realized I was really a mom. (There are no words.)
I think I might have given up breastfeeding very early on if it weren’t for my husband. In the early weeks, I was tired and frazzled and frustrated because I could never seem to figure out if my baby was getting enough milk. The ultimate control freak, I felt out of control and threatened to quit.
But it was the hubs that gave me pep talks. Reminding me that this was something I really wanted to do. Urging me to stick with it. Making me face the fact that I wasn’t a quitter.
He coached me through the hard times.
I’d been thinking of him as a coach and even calling him coach since before the baby was born.
It all started when we took a breastfeeding class at our hospital and next to my name I needed to write down the name of my coach.
"My what?" I’d asked the woman behind the desk.
"Your coach, you know, your partner?" She matched my own confused expression.
"Oh," I said sheepishly as I looked at my husband. "That guy."
And from that point forward, I’d affectionately referred to him as my coach, but not having any idea that he would step into that role when it came to breastfeeding.
In the delivery room, sure. But when it came to nursing? How would he coach me through that?
I was guilty of thinking breastfeeding was between my baby and me. Between a mother and her child. Not understanding how my husband would fit in.
But he did. In so many ways.
Because he always saw us as a team.
From waking up with me in the middle of the night to helping me keep my eyes open while I nursed to coaching me through the frustrating parts of breastfeeding.
And as I look back now, I couldn’t have asked for a better coach, teammate or husband.
For me, there’s nothing like watching my husband with our baby girl. Whether he’s kissing her or playing with her or talking baby talk to her (so cute!), it all melts my heart. When she puts her little hand on his face and smiles up at him, it absolutely kills me. And maybe it’s the hormones, but it’s been known to reduce me to tears.
My husband has two amazing children from a previous marriage so I already knew he was a wonderful father. That’s why I married him. But seeing him with our baby girl adds another level of special. I’m watching him remembering what it’s like to hold that little life in your hands, to rock her to sleep, to make her laugh. And I’m watching him rediscovering so many firsts. Like changing a diaper (he forgot how messy it can be!) to giving the baby a bath (so slippery!) to burping her (she can put a truck driver to shame!)
And with each milestone and new discovery (for her and for him), I know it’s only going to continue to get better and become even more fun to witness. Because already - if this is even possible - she’s daddy’s little girl.
And as I watch him look at his little girl with so much love in his eyes, I’m learning from him too. I’m learning to appreciate every moment with her as I watch him recognize that it will go by faster than he wants it to. That in the blink of an eye she’ll be walking then talking then playing sports then doing math homework. I watch him make her a priority. I watch him find time in his busy day to talk her for a walk or read her a book or tell her a story. And to me this is what makes him such an incredible father. And I hope that I can learn from him and be just as good of a mother.
I'm a planner. Before I had my baby, I had all kinds of plans. Plans for feeding. Plans for sleeping. Plans for my plans. Back-up plans for the back-up plans. I had lists and charts and books and research. I had supplies and gizmos and gadgets. And I thought I had it all figured out.
Until I gave birth. And I actually had a baby. No longer just an exciting idea, but suddenly a reality. Suddenly, she was real and tiny and had her own personality.9:00am on Monday June 13
When we arrived home from the hospital, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Well rested and full of life. Energy for days. That first night taking care of our precious baby girl was a breeze. One of the easiest things I've ever done.
Truth is, I don't remember a lot of that first night. I had to have a c-section so I was on more pain meds than Rush Limbaugh. And although I was beyond elated, I was also beyond sedated.
So I actually had to ask my husband how that first night went. Because between my shoddy pre and post preggo memory and my illegible journal entries, I wasn't so sure!
According to the hubs, we pulled an all-nighter. We were high on adrenaline (him) and drugs (me) and full of fear.
Then we left the care of a twenty-four hour nursing staff only to arrive home scared out of our minds.
Could we really take care of this seven-pound little life?
We had no instruction manual. Just our guts. And we almost too scared to trust them.
Our night looked something like this:
Dad brought baby to mom.
Mom and dad checked umpteen times to make sure she was breathing.
It was hard.
It was amazing.
It was nerve wracking.
It was beautiful.
It was scary.
It was glorious.
It was an adventure.
And the next morning, we started the process all over again... with just a little more confidence and a lot more love than we knew we could ever feel.
Breastfeeding is VERY time consuming.
In fact, I had absolutely zero idea how much time I'd be spending sitting in the glider with my baby attached to my breast.
It was a lot of time. I repeat. A lot. Of . Time.
I read the books and I took the classes, but nothing prepared me for just how often I'd be feeding her. And how breastfeeding her would start to feel like Groundhog Day! Like Bill Murray's character, stuck in a time loop, except instead of repeating every hour, the loop repeated every hour. When you're running on limited sleep, the nurse-sleep-diaper-nurse cycle can make you a little nutty because all you have to look forward to is doing it again. And again. And again.
So after living this way for almost two weeks, I realized that I had to do something else with my brain. When you're nursing, your movements are limited because you're holding the baby, supporting her with at least one arm. I know some moms are able to use their computers or nurse while the baby's in a sling or walk and nurse but as a first-time mom of a very young baby, I wasn't comfortable doing that yet. So what could I do while sitting with one arm out of commission so I didn't go nuts?
It dawned on me! There's no short supply of reality TV programming plus using my iPad, I could keep up with my friends on Facebook, and stay up to date with the celebrity magazines. She'd be happily getting her milk and I'd be happily getting the things I desperately needed.
I felt slightly guilty. Wasn't I supposed to be gazing into her eyes, watching her nurse? Bonding with her? Creating memories we'd share for life?
Well, for some mothers, it might be enough to gaze and bond for hours on end. But for me, I needed more.
I needed TV. I needed Facebook. I needed celebrity gossip.
And sometimes it felt like I needed those things just as much as I needed to nurse my baby.
And I wasn't going to feel guilty about it.
If mama's happy, everyone's happy. Right?
Important things were happening in the world that I needed to keep up with.
The Royal Wedding was fast approaching! The Real Housewives of Miami had just started! Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were breaking up!
So I figured it out. I could use one hand to hold my baby while she fed. And with the other, I could navigate my iPad, write a status report and flip the pages of Us Weekly. It wasn't easy at first, but after a while, I was like an old pro. I had no idea I could be ambidextrous, but it turns out when a girl has to get her 'pop culture' on, she's capable of anything!
And the best part? The baby didn't seem to notice or care. It was a win-win. She got her milk and I got to occupy my brain and keep myself entertained.
HH woke up at 5:30 a.m. on Mother's Day, but I didn't care.
I was tired as all get-out, but I didn't care.
I hadn't had my coffee yet, but I didn't care.
I looked down at her bright, smiling face and smiled right back at her. I was looking at my daughter and she was looking at her mother.
It was surreal. Like in a pinch me is this real? kind of way.
I floated above my body and hovered over the room, staring down at this woman who looked a lot like me making obnoxious baby talk sounds and a beautiful baby girl grinning at her from ear to ear.
Was that woman me? Was that baby really mine?
When I nursed her for the first time that day, I felt it again.
When I opened my Mother's Day card and gift from HH, I felt it again.
When I went to the Mother's Day brunch at my BFF's house, I felt it again.
When people saw me pushing a stroller down on our morning walk and said, Happy Mother's Day, I felt it again.
That feeling that I may never get used to this motherhood thing- in a good way.
Before I got pregnant, I had two BFFs. A girlfriend I've known since high school and caffeine.
Caffeine and I were very close-maybe too close. I was a two, sometimes three venti bold coffees per day gal. But once I was preggo, I cut it out completely and after a week of separation anxiety involving terrible headaches and more than a few tears, I survived.
Cut to after the baby was born.
I had planned to keep caffeine out of the mix while I was breastfeeding. I hadn't ingested it in ten months, why would I need to start now?
Two words: sleep deprivation.9:00am on Monday May 16
Since I decided to breastfeed, I've been shocked by the number of people who are relieved by this.
"Oh good," has been the typical response.
And it makes me wonder. What if I told them that I wasn't? What would they say?9:00am on Monday May 9
My husband was breastfed. I was not.
Something about my mom and an inverted nipple.
So when I told my mom I was choosing to nurse she warned me that the nipple issue was hereditary as my grandmother apparently had it too. And to not get my hopes up.
Hopes up. Not exactly how I was thinking about my approach to breastfeeding. If it worked out, great. But if it didn't, that would be okay too.
Because, after all, I was bottle-fed and I turned out all right.
Didn't I?9:00am on Monday May 2
I never thought I'd breastfeed my baby.
I wasn't breastfed.
No one told me I should breastfeed.
And, honestly, the idea of it put me off a bit.
The thought of “whipping it out” in public definitely didn't appeal to me.
Just imagining my future baby trying to latch on, sucking for dear life and potentially chafing, cracking and gawd knows what else to that area, scared the H-E-double hockey sticks out of me. I'd heard so many horror stories...
And there's also the part about how I'm not a big fan of my breasts. I could barely get through a self breast exam, let alone spend that kind of intimate time with them day in and day out.
But then I got pregnant. And my belly started expanding. And it got bigger and bigger... and bigger. And I started to wonder if, after I gave birth, it would all go back into place.
And here's the part that might be controversial.
I read that breastfeeding helps the uterus contract faster. Helps you burn calories faster. Helps you get your pre-baby body back faster. And I was sold.
And that's why I decided to breastfeed my baby. For my uterus. For my body. For me.
So, no, I didn't decide to nurse for the reasons that might be more acceptable to other moms, to the pediatricians, to society. The bonding, the potentially higher IQ (for baby, not me- although after suffering from preggo brain for so long, I could use a boost in that area), the strengthening of the baby's immune system. Those were all secondary – things I learned about after I'd made my decision. Side effects I'd gladly take, but weren't my reasons why.
And I don't care what any mother says her reason for breastfeeding is. Whether she admits it or not, the part about the uterus contracting is a factor in her decision to put baby to boob. It just is.
But maybe I'm the only one willing to write about it.
Today, I'd like you to meet Lisa, one of our new moms from the Bravado Designs Breastfeeding Diaries Class of 2011.
Lisa had her first child at the age of 37. A self-proclaimed “late bloomer,” Lisa now finds it hard to remember what life was like before her daughter was born. So far parenting her 3-month-old daughter HH has been amazing, exhausting, frustrating, joyous, emotional and even hilarious - all wrapped up into one.