In our series, “Mom’s Story,” members of our community share snapshots of their real, personal journeys through motherhood. Every story is different. We ask all members to be respectful in their comments on these posts. Offensive or disparaging remarks will not be tolerated.
I recall vaguely those first two weeks at home with a newborn were similar to a long weekend (as a non-parent) in Las Vegas: little to no sleep, you don’t remember what you did the night before and you have no idea what’s about to happen next.
We were fortunate to have made a few decisions before the baby was born about what life would be like once we came home, so I had a foundation to work from when we arrived back at our house with our bundle of joy. I knew I wanted to breastfeed. We didn’t want him sleeping in our room. We wanted a night nurse. We wanted him to sleep in his own crib. We didn’t know that with all of those decisions made in advance, some wouldn’t materialize as we had expected.
Breastfeeding was really hard for me. None of my friends told me how difficult it would be in the beginning. I was ready to quit so many times. I would dread each feeding because it was another hour of stress, another hour of second-guessing myself, another hour of wishing I had it easy like my friends who spoke so highly of their own breastfeeding experiences. Man, that was rough.
My mother was staying with us at the time and it always puzzled me why she didn’t remember having the same difficulty breastfeeding me. I kept asking her how she did it, but she couldn’t remember going through trying times like I was going through . Somehow I thought that meant this was going to get easier. And everyone I spoke to shared the same sentiment: they had to be reminded of how difficult it was in the beginning because according to them, it got a lot easier as the babies got older. This gave me hope to not give up.
I had Linda Hanna come to my house to help me figure out how to get Cameron latched on properly and to help me with my milk supply. Within a week, we were one of her success stories. The thing I appreciated the most about Linda was that she was open to any feeding solution I wanted to try. Bottle feeding, sure. Formula as a supplement if I needed it, no problem. Breastfeeding on a schedule, well, if it works for you, great. I never felt judged for making these decisions, and as a new mom the last thing you want is to feel judged for any of the decisions you make in those early hours of the morning on very little sleep.
After about 6 weeks, things somehow fell into place with our new little family. Cameron was smiling and connecting with my husband and my mom. His sleep patterns started to become much more predictable and I was actually getting a good amount of sleep myself. We went to mommy/baby group, we started to play with all the toys we received as baby gifts and I was able to get out of the house without the baby for a bit and enjoy it.
I wish I had spent more time documenting those first 6 weeks because they are truly a blur for me now, but then again I’m glad they are in the past because they were really hard. I think the most important thing to have in the beginning is support. Having my mom and my husband around was amazing. Our night nurse worked wonders. And professionals like Linda Hanna helped me make those difficult decisions a bit easier.
Now breastfeeding is just another part of my day. Sometimes when I’m away from Cameron and someone needs to give him a bottle, I get a bit upset since I enjoy it so much now. I never imagined this day would come and I’m so glad I didn’t give up. A friend told me it was a steep learning curve and I couldn’t agree more. But once you’ve mastered it, it’s smooth sailing.
My advice to other moms would be to surround yourself with others who won’t judge you for your parenting decisions. There’s nothing worse than being questioned for something you are just trying to figure out yourself. Have a strong support network and know that a few difficult nights here and there won’t last forever.
Remember, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” and somehow what happens in those first few sleepless weeks with a newborn are forgotten and replaced with smiles, giggles and cuddles of the present.
Looking for more support during your newborn’s early days at home? Reach out to one of the healthcare professionals on our team for more personalized care for you and your baby.