6 Hard Lessons I Learned Nursing the First Time Around

Breastfeeding is not for the faint of heart. Something that seems so natural is actually really freaking complicated and for most does NOT come natural. It takes practice and patience.

my first experience with nursing was messy, hard but I learned so much. Those hard lessons I’ve learned have given me much more confidence nursing this second time around. Here is what I learned the hard way nursing my first born.

1. Your emotions affect your baby’s emotions

Yep. Looking back on my time nursing the first time this makes SO MUCH SENSE.

When you’re postpartum you’re of course super emotional but when you are nursing your baby you have to be in a calm state. Think of it like being around a horse (I know weird analogy stay with me). When you ride a horse they always tell you to stay calm because horses sense fear and anxiety. The same for your little one.

It’s so easy to be on edge. You’re tired, hormonal (that’s probably an understatement) and sure you probably have anxiety about feeding still. But staying calm and knowing when you take a break will help you tremendously.

2. Less is more

When you’re at the hospital they make you write down when you fed, which side and for how long. They also make you track wet and dirty diaper and what the poop looks like. So, when you get home it can be overwhelming to do all that on top of, I don’t know adjusting to life with a tiny human!

With my first I obsessed over every minute he fed, the time between feeds and what his diapers should look like. It was exhausting.

My best advice the first week or two track it. The doctor will want that info and it’s hard to recall it all. But once your babe is back to birth weight relax and go with the flow. Make sure they nurse a good amount but don’t obsess. Forget the clock and soak up the bonding.

3. Let baby take the lead

Since breastfeeding is natural a lot of it just happens. Baby knows what to do (in most cases). Let them nurse as long as they want to. Nurses made me believe if my baby didn’t nurse 20-30 minutes he wasn’t getting enough. False.

Of course always make sure baby is swallowing and nursing. A good amount of time but some babies are more efficient and will nurse less. There are also other factors time of day, mood, age. All these things play a part in how long a nursing sessions last. Let baby lead and as long as they’re making diapers, are content and satisfied you’re doing great.

4. What works for one mom, may not work for you

This one is hard and honestly it applies to more than just breastfeeding. As a new mom people will have so much advice for you. Take it with a grain of salt.

What works for one mom may not work for you. Maybe, Sally really loved nursing on demand for a year, good for her. That might not work for you, maybe it will. Who the heck knows! Only you can make that call. My advice is try it. Try Sally, Megan’s whoever’s advice. If it works, great! If not, great! Do you, momma.

5. Build you stash early and wait on the bottle

With my first I would pump and freeze it (even as a SAHM) but then I would let my husband use the frozen milk to feed at night. Which was fine but I did it too often.

If you pump and only use it when necessary then when it’s time for date nights, meetings, or simple mom time you have it. Even if you’re a stay at home mom, make a stash, you’ll thank me on date night when you can stay out that extra hour or so.

6. Your journey is your journey

This one is most important. If you’re scrolling and didn’t read anything stop and read this….

It’s your journey! It doesn’t matter if you nurse 3 years, if you exclusively pump, if you nurse part time, or if you supplement. It doesn’t freaking matter!

Breastfeeding is hard, it’s taxing emotionally and your journey is yours. Do whatever it takes to keep you and baby happy and healthy no matter what that looks like or what anyone thinks.

What lessons did you learn through your first nursing journey? I’d love to hear them below.

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Becoming a Mom For the First Time: Killian Jasper’s Birth Story {with photos}

Like Most Moms Do

I was counting down the days like most moms do.  I was also frustrated after each appointment that I had no ‘progress,’ like most first time moms do. I had planned to labor naturally but I also was open to inventions if that is what I needed. The day leading up to Killian’s birth were NOTHING like I thought they would be.  AS IF it ever is for first time moms.

The weeks leading up to becoming a mommy were hard.  Each night around 1 am I would have false labor for about 2 hours.  It would start with a few small contractions and then they would progress into very strong, painful ones.  They were never in a pattern and never got closer than 6 minutes apart.

Every night for 3 weeks this was how it went.  I would end up in a warm bath with my sweet husband falling asleep in the bathroom floor until the contractions would cease and I would get some rest.

I was mentally exhausted hoping each night that our baby was on the way.

Waiting. . .

Until one night the contractions didn’t stop.  We were up all night, Alex called off work and that morning was spent on a medicine ball, with a popsicle waiting till baby was ready.

9:00 am: While sitting on the medicine ball I realized that the blanket I was sitting on was getting damp.  I went to the restroom and it looked like I had peed my pants.  I called my doctor and she suggested I come in so they could see if it was fluid or not.

A quick visit to the doctor later they said it was NOT my water breaking… (insert doubt here)

The difference between pads and panty liners..

12:00 pm: So, we went for lunch.  While, sitting at lunch I continued to leak “not fluid.”  When we were finished with lunch we decided to go looking for patio furniture.  I had asked my husband a few days before if we could get a patio set for the front porch.

1:00 ish: We found ourselves at Big Lots hoping they would have cheap patio furniture.  We walked to the first isle and it felt like I peed myself.  My water had 100% broke. Standing in the clothing isle I quickly bought some boxers and asked my husband to grab some pads and I headed to the bathroom to change.  My friend Laura was with us and was standing at the bathroom door waiting for my husband to throw her the pads so I could finish up.

He throws her a pack of pads… that weren’t pads they were panty liners (haha) so I layered those puppies in the boxers and tried to dry my pants under the hand dryer so we could make it back home (absolutely no shame in my game).  All mind you while having mild to strong contractions.

Let’s have this baby

3:00 pm: We got the green light to head to the hospital.  They put me in triage in L&D.  I had indeed lost my water and was ready to be sent to a room. I was still only sitting around 2 cm so we knew it would be a little while. 

7:00 pm: No progress.  I was so discouraged.  I was still having light contractions but nothing too painful.  They decided they would use a pill to help my cervix along.

9:00-10:00 pm: I would say contractions started to pick up intensity. We were in the room we would be in for the night.  I quickly realized all the things I brought to use from music to techniques were going out the window.

Back labor.. what’s that?  You don’t want to know.

10:00 pm- 2:30 am: In this window of time I learned what back labor was and honestly thought I was dying. We never got a remote for our TV so Alex and I sat in a dark room while he held my hand.  He watched the monitor and would help me through a contraction “It’s almost over babe, you got this.”

I was in the most pain I had ever been.  My darling husband then started telling me stories through each contractions.  Funny memories I may have forgotten about over the years to help me through the pain.

2:30 am: I threw up from the pain.  Alex looked just about as scared as I felt.  We decided it was time for the epidural.  He grabbed a nurse and they all helped me sit up to get the epidural.  I felt so lucky to be at a hospital where they could adjust my dosage.  (I am absolutely terrified of being completely numb). At this point I was told I was 4 almost 5 cm.  The doctor was confident that once my body could relax I would make some progress. I called my photographer/doula and said we weren’t very far along and that I was “fine.” (I thought I was so strong and that I didn’t need any help.  Don’t do that first time mommies asking for help doesn’t make you weak I promise).

3:30 am ish: She was correct in less than an hour I went from 5 cm to 10 cm. Nurses and doctor were checking on us more frequently and checking to see how baby was doing.

The almost accurate account of the rest of the story

(this is where I might be blurry on details)

5:00 am ?: Somewhere in this time frame nurses started setting up the room. I called my birth photographer and we started to prepare to become parents.

6:00 am: The doctor tells me that it’s time to start pushing.  Which, at this point I was totally fine with because I could feel baby low and I wanted to meet them so bad.  I was also a lot more relaxed at this point.  The doctor ask if I could give her to the count of three for a push.  I said ” I can give you 4.” We didn’t know the sex of baby and with each push I wanted to give it all I had to find out (if you haven’t already read here why we decided not to find out the gender).

I pushed for about an hour.  Alex by my side.  Talking about how we got to this point in our lives.  How we had waited for this moment for so long.

After the fact our wonderful photographer quoted me in this photograph saying “Did you ever imagine you’d be having a baby with your prom date?” (so lucky to have Stacey there to recall what we wouldn’t remember later on).

One more push after that and HE was here.

7:03 am May 2, 2017:

Killian Jasper Biggs

6 lbs 12oz -20 inches long was born making me a mommy and Alex a daddy. After almost two years of waiting, crying, injections and so much doubt we had our tiny human we had longed for.

And then, all the mushy stuff

After, he was born he latched on like a champ. Alex got to do skin to skin and loved every second of it. My heart melts every time I see this photo.Then our families practically knocked down the door trying to find out if the new member of our family was a girl or a boy.  Here were some of the reactions we got.

So much of his birth story is crazy.  As a first time mom I had no idea how it would go and I definitely didn’t except this to be our story.  BUT it is and I love every moment of it.

Did your baby’s birth go “as planned,” or do you have a wonderful crazy story to tell?  Drop me a link below to your birth story or tell me about it here.  I would love to hear all about it!!

{Beautiful photography by Cincy Birth Stories }

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What to Get a Mom to Be for Her Baby Shower?

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What to get a mom to be for her?

I don’t know about you but I am really big on handmade gifts or gifts that are helpful. So, when I got invited to my first baby shower since becoming a mom I wanted to make sure my gift would be helpful. I knew that this mom to be had lots of family who had made sure she was covered for baby essentials.  So, I wanted to make sure she had a few items that made all the difference to me. Which led to making a mom to be care box.

Making a care box

Once I decided to collect a few items for the mom to be and skip the traditional baby shower gift. I knew I wanted to add items that were useful.  So, I added the following “somethings”:

  1. Useful- an item that I used a lot once I was a new struggling mom.
  2. For self care- beauty, bath, an item that would make her feel good about herself.
  3. Sweey/cozy- who doesn’t need to feel cozy after baby is here.
  4. Helpful- an item that you wish you would’ve known about sooner.

Something Useful

Think of a gift that helped you get through those early days of being a mom.

For my something useful I went with this laundry backpack.  I was so sore after I gave birth and with our laundry on a different floor I couldn’t hold a basket against my tummy.  I found something similar to this on clearance when I was  postpartum and I LOVE IT!  It made getting laundry done so much easier.

Self care

At my baby shower a close friend made me a little hospital goodie bag of things to pack. It was a super sweet and useful gift and full of things I would’ve never thought of.

Two of those things were dry shampoo and face wipes. So, so simple but made me feel so human after delivery. These were my two self care items for this care box.

Just try and think of the thing that made you feel clean or fresh while at the hospital or when you got back home. What helped you feel “put together?” Include this as your self care item.

Sweet and cozy

This one was easy. What is something that would make your mom-to-be feel cozy or sweet? Maybe she likes a certain kind of chocolate or is she a coffee lover?

For my care box I got her a coffee mug that had a cute Mom saying on it. This is her first baby and I always love getting mugs that make me feel good when I read them. So this seemed fitting.

Helpful

Who doesn’t want something helpful as a first time mom? Think of an item you discovered or were introduced to when you were a new mom that you wish you knew about sooner.

My something useful was Mother’s Milk Tea. 

My friend wants to nurse and doesn’t have any moms around who have nurses so I wanted to include this tea.

This particular tea helped keep my supply up when my son and I were struggling with nursing. Such a simple gift but a game changer I wish I knew about before beginning my nursing journey.

Finishing touches

After I collected all my gifts I bought a super cute box that could be used after she opened the present and of course added a small hand written note explaining my gift.

There is something about personalized gift that always made me feel special and hopefully my friend I gifted this to felt that way. Small things can go a long way.

What would you include in your mom to be care box? Let me know in the comments.

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