Monday, September 9, 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed...

When I was 18 weeks pregnant with Harold, I wrote about my new outlook on breastfeeding.  For a lot of reasons (which I wrote about in that post), my outlook on breastfeeding completely changed as I anticipated the birth of our baby.  A lot of it had to do with my world being rocked when I miscarried Thérèse and my whole perspective on parenting changed--for the better.

After writing that post about my new outlook, I received an overwhelming response from my friends.  They called, texted, e-mailed, Facebook messaged, or contacted me some other way to let me know that they were in my corner, that it was awesome that I was going to try breastfeeding again, and to let them know if there was anything they could do to help.  Several offered great resources for breastfeeding moms, put me in touch with support groups, and gave the inside scoop on things veteran breastfeeding mamas know.  I am so very grateful for the outpouring of support I received during pregnancy to build me up and make me believe that I could breastfeed successfully despite feeling like a failure with Jane and Walt.  So, I want to offer a big heartfelt thank you to all of you awesome ladies who continue to be in my corner, rooting (no pun intended) me on!

I am overjoyed to share that Harold will turn one month on Saturday, and breastfeeding couldn't be going better!  At his two-week check-up, he had surpassed his birth weight, and my pediatrician said that he was the "perfect specimen of a term breastfed baby."  When she said that, it was one of those mom moments when the clouds part and you hear the choir of angels singing!  "Perfect specimen"?  And it's because breastfeeding is actually working out this time?  Music to this mama's ears!!!  

Harold's happy about it, too!  I was able to snap this picture of his first smile in a milk-induced  3 a.m. dream.
Aside from a fantastic support network (especially Philip, aka Hubby of the Year), I know there are three main reasons I've been successful this time around:

1.  I'm a better advocate for myself and for Harold

  • I asked the nurse at the hospital to act as a bouncer and to put a sign on the door whenever we wanted a few hours of uninterrupted rest.  Oh, it was glorious!  
  • I safeguarded our time those first few weeks so that I wasn't over exhausted and Harold and I could figure it out together.  We turned off our phones.  When visitors asked to come over, I chose the times that were most convenient for us or asked if we could reschedule for a time that wouldn't interrupt naps, lunch, etc.
  • When we have visitors and Harold is hungry, I'm confident getting out the cover and nursing right there.  I could still use A LOT more practice juggling everything--especially when I leave the comfort of home where I have pillows, a couch, etc., but each day it gets easier. 
2.  FOOD, friends, and

  • Since having Harold, we have had at least 13 different families bring us meals (and a few even brought extra casseroles/dishes for us to eat another day!)!  How amazing is that?!  
  • I had friends from different groups I'm a part of offer to bring meals.  Rather than having to coordinate all of it with a bunch of phone calls/e-mails, I created a "registry" on  This site has been a lifesaver!  After you create a user name and password, you pick the dates you want people to bring meals, enter your info (phone number, e-mail, address, hours you want people to drop things off, how many people the meal will feed, food allergies/aversions, etc.).  Then, you send the link to family and friends.  They "sign up" on the digital calendar on the free days, and you get an e-mail every time someone signs up.  This way, you know who is coming, when they're coming, and the person bringing the meal can see what meals you've already received so that you don't get 5 nights in a row of chicken alfredo.  Awesome, huh?!
  • Without having to worry about grocery shopping or making meals, I had more time to focus on figuring out breastfeeding.
For whatever reason, I never brought it to prayer when I was struggling to breastfeed Jane and Walt.  I somehow thought I should compartmentalize that part of life from the "big stuff."  Silly, huh?  When I was pregnant with Harold, I started praying that God would give me wisdom and an open heart to breastfeeding.  

Well, let me tell you, the Big Guy really came through!  I never thought I'd say this, but I LOVE breastfeeding, and it's going so well!  By taking it to prayer, God was able to free me of the stress and anxiety I had attached to breastfeeding and replace it with a new heart.  God is showing me through the gift of our precious babies--Thérèse and Harold--that parenthood is pure gift and motherhood is an opportunity to give your life in sacrifice for your family.  I find myself looking forward to the next feeding, and I get lost in Harold's gaze.  I'm enjoying each feeding as a timeout to our day to just be with each other.  I'm not trying to be productive while nursing.  I sit on the couch and "just" feed Harold.  This change to my usual go, go, go routine is something that Jane and Walt are loving, too.  These forced timeouts are great pick-me-ups.  Most of the time, I end up on the couch with Harold, Jane, Walt, and our dog, Monty, all snuggled up around me.  

Burping Harold with my helpers after nursing
Camping out with Mom and Harold in the nursery
Those moments remind me why I'm home in the first place, and they bring me so much peace.  Harold is eating every 2-3 hours during the day, so we're getting a lot of quality time in these days!  Before Thérèse and Harold, I would have looked at that time as being unproductive.  Now, I know it's the most important time of my day.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to try again, and I'm so grateful for my changed heart.  Breastfeeding is bringing our family so many blessings, and I hope God will continue to open my heart to the other blessings He's pouring upon our family during this special time.  

St. Thérèse, continue to pray for us!  


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