The First Six Weeks of Breastfeeding Is the HardestDevan McGuinness
Over the past six weeks, I’ve seen the clock turn 4 AM more times than I have in the past four years. It’s not an uncommon sight for new mothers. And, for me, it doesn’t seem to matter that I’ve done this three times prior, the early newborn days are hard — especially when breastfeeding.
Before Silver was born, I knew that I would breastfeed. It was important to me early on and though I didn’t meet my own personal breastfeeding goals with my older two children, being able to breastfeed my third child, Bean, until she self-weaned herself just before she turned 3 years old, healed my heart in many ways.
I wanted that again with Silver. Him being my last child, I wanted to experience the amazing breastfeeding relationship for reasons beyond any health benefits — it is a very bonding experience for me.
Truthfully, the first six weeks of breastfeeding for me is full of frustrations. Baby and I have to work together to figure out how to latch so I don’t scream and so he doesn’t get too many gas bubbles. My breasts need to figure out just how much milk to make — where he has enough to eat and continues to thrive, yet I don’t find my let-down to be too forceful and painful. Those early days are filled with multiple feedings, every two hours, where he seems to be latched endlessly. And those fears of not making enough milk for him to continue to grow creep into my head at this delicate 4 o’clock in the morning hour when he’s crying and wants to be latched for the second hour in a row.
As I near the end of six weeks, I can already see it all take a turn for the positive. Yes, you can still find me awake at 4 o’clock in the morning consistently, each day, and Silver still wants to be latched for hours at a time, but I no longer have those fears that it’s not going to work. I can see him growing well, I can see that my breasts are finally figuring out the delicate balance between not being painfully engorged and making enough milk. Silver and I have mastered the side-lay position which helps us both get a decent sleep at night. And I figured out if we do a cradle hold during the day he will have less gas bubbles keeping him up later.
It’s starting to get easier and I am thankful because those first six weeks sure are hard!
Photo credit: © Devan McGuinness