I am 40+3 weeks pregnant now; this is the point in my pregnancy with Rosalie when she decided to make her rather swift arrival into the world.
The baby’s position, planning my home birth, fretting about the speed of my labour and whether Jim will get home from work in time, and whether Rosalie will be ok with our friends, have been monopolising my worries for the past month. But now I feel I am prepared as I can be, and whatever happens happens, we just have to deal with it as it comes.
But, that has left my worry-loving mind a little empty, and so I’ve been thinking more about the realities of having a newborn in the house again, and reminiscing about those first weeks with our tiny little Rosalie.
The biggest thing that worries me is breastfeeding. I did not have a good time with Rosalie, for at least the first few months – breastfeeding her was the hardest and most stressful thing I have ever had to do. It was painful, she would fall asleep, she wouldn’t latch, she’d get her hands in the way, she’d kick her legs, she was shaky and it took her a really long time to get back to birth weight.
I think I cried more tears in the first two months of Rosalie’s life than I have in the rest of my life put together. And it is making me anxious about our new baby girl, who is currently snug, safe and warm still in my tummy.
Breastfeeding second time around
What will feeding her be like? Will it be painful? Will I be more prepared and therefore more equipped to deal with the pain this time? How long will it take for my milk to come in? Will she put on weight?
I have discussed some of my worries with the midwife, and there are some things that, due to the circumstances of Rosalie’s birth, we are really hoping we can both do, and avoid, this time around.
I didn’t get any skin-to-skin with Rosalie immediately after she was born, and didn’t breastfeed her for several hours. This time around I am really hoping to have lots of skin-to-skin and get a first breastfeed in really quickly after the birth. I am certain I will need some support from the midwives with regards to latch, so hopefully I will get this straight off, rather than on day two.
I am as prepared as I can be for the pain – I have my nipple cream and my nipple shields ready! I’ve dusted off the breast pump and the bottles. And this time around I am not going to beat myself up if we have to give the baby a bottle of formula; I was way too hard on myself last time and it didn’t make for good bonding or a healthy relationship.
Happy mummy, happy baby
I am really proud that after our initial struggles, I continued to nurse Rosalie until she was 13 months old, when she chose to stop. And actually, I was really sad when she had her last breastfeed.
But it is so much more important to me this time that I treasure the newborn days, rather than be in a constant state of either pain from feeding or dreading the pain of the next feed. Happy mummy, happy baby will be my motto. It really doesn’t matter how she is fed, just that she is fed, and is growing, and we are all happy.
I am anxious for what this new breastfeeding journey has in store for me, but I am prepared to be more relaxed if things don’t go to plan.