I miss breastfeeding a newborn.
Yes, I’m still breastfeeding my older kids, but it isn’t the same. They’re so big and squirmy! They do have generally good ‘nursing manners’ — they’ll stop if I ask them to, they will ask before touching, and they are always aware and concerned if I say they’re hurting me (which is usually just from the pregnancy sensitivity). But, I don’t know…they’re not babies.
A newborn, though…oh, I can’t wait!
I’ve always been big on breastfeeding, since before I had my first. I knew I would, and that I would go to any lengths to make sure I could. We did go through the wringer, so to speak, that first time. My daughter wouldn’t latch. She’d scream and refuse to nurse. Sometimes she’d latch for a few seconds and then stop again and scream. This went on for awhile. When she was just 4 days old, she cried almost non-stop from maybe 6 PM until 9 PM when I called the doctor in a panic (after crying along with her for awhile). At that point, though I’d attempted to breastfeed at least every 30 minutes, she just wasn’t having it and she was starving. The doctor told me to get her to eat something, whether that meant pumping and cup feeding (something I knew nothing about at that time, nor did I have a pump) or giving her formula. I broke down and gave her a few ounces of formula that the hospital had sent home with us, which she gulped down and promptly dropped off to sleep.
I cried for awhile after that.
The next few weeks brought more soreness, refusal to latch, round-the-clock pumping and bottle feeding (I took bottles of pumped milk with us when we went out…and somehow felt I always need to explain it or apologize for it). We supplemented with a few ounces of formula every night because I couldn’t quite pump enough to satisfy her.
At 6 weeks I decided I’d had enough, and was determined to get her to latch somehow. We tried different positions, and she was a little more mature, and latched pretty well. I spent the next 4 weeks sick (I had something like mono from 5ish weeks to 10ish weeks postpartum), tired, and sore, but — we made it work. We got through it. And she’s gone on to breastfeed for almost 3.5 years! I never wanted to give up even through the struggles because I loved to look down at her and snuggle her and watch her fall asleep, and know that I was doing the best I could — whatever was going on.
My son was a different story. I knew what I was doing this time around, so I put him to my breast within minutes after birth. He started to latch — stopped, corrected himself — and went on to nurse for 40 minutes straight. He was a dream nurser! We never had a single issue and I had tons of milk. I loved to snuggle him, too, and watch him nurse.
And now…it’s almost time to do it again.
There’s just something so sweet about snuggling a tiny, unaware newborn against you and breastfeeding. They have tiny little bodies, and tiny little mouths, which they have to open wide to be able to latch on at all. I watch their little jaws working as they snuggle in to me. Then they unlatch and they smile contentedly, milk-drunk. I love it.
Newborns don’t hurt to nurse. They don’t stand on their heads. They don’t blow raspberries against you. They aren’t so big and heavy that you can barely maneuver them. They do, however, take just about any shirtless opportunity to latch themselves on (much like the bigger kids do too!).
Nursing older kids is sweet in one way — knowing that they still need you and the comfort that nursing brings — but nursing newborns is sweet in a different way. You’re providing everything that they need. You are their sole source of nourishment, and possibly comfort (my daughter screamed often if handed to anyone but me, when she was tiny!).
Just a few more weeks…and I’ll be holding and nursing another sweet newborn. I can’t wait!
If you are expecting soon, what are you looking forward to?
Top image by sdminor81