I didn’t realize until almost a year after the first time I nursed my son that my history of sexual abuse would play a huge role in how I mother(ed) my first child. I had no clue that it would affect the physical and mental way I felt about nursing him. I didn’t even realize there would be a mental and physical way to feel about breastfeeding, I just knew this was how I was to feed to children… What more to it was there?
Here’s a glance at an abuse survivors first experience with nursing, everything I wish I would have known, I wish I would have considered, and I wish someone would have told me, Because it does matter and I wish someone would have told me that.
Breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally. Probably the biggest lesson I have learned. I was determined, I never gave up, and I totally forced any positive feelings I pretended to have about breastfeeding in the early months. I had to remind myself over and over that this was not only mama’s first time, but also baby’s. It’s OK that I wasn’t a pro the moment he entered our world.
It will take 4 full months before we officially get the hang of it. So hang in there.
It’s painful but I will forget that pain as quickly as it comes.
Co sleeping and breastfeeding go hand in hand. It’s OK to want things to be easier, and to chose the easier path.
Always trust your mama instincts. If I had listened to the hospital staff, home nurse #3, and our first pediatrician I would have never stuck with it. They encouraged supplementing and suggested I wake my sleeping baby to ensure he’s ” getting enough ounces.” There was no medical reasoning for these suggestions and I chose to ignore them. Eventually finding a pediatrician we were able to see eye to eye with and trust, she assured me that following those crazy instincts was the best thing I could have done for my child.
If it happened to me it happened to another first time mama before me. Do not hesitate to ask a fellow mama for advice or help.
I will not enjoy breastfeeding like the rest of the world. As a survivor I had no idea the effect breastfeeding my child would have on me. It often made me very very uncomfortable yet proud because I was pushing through the negative feelings. I reminded myself daily that “This is how baby eats. This is perfectly normal.”
The rest of world doesn’t really love breastfeeding 100% of the time.
My baby would nurse around the clock, every two hours until after 12 months of age. He would refuse a pacifier and bottle and this was perfectly OK.
Nursing will exhaust me. I will be tired, oh, so, tired.
Sleep WILL find you.
When I finally do decide to nudge my nursing 18 month old in the direction of weaning I’m going to be really sad. It’s a decision that will take months and months to make. It will be the right decision.
My nursing journey will continue to inspire me, make me a better mother, and a better friend to a fellow breastfeeding mama. I’ll carry that mother-child bond with me always. I will never forget that amazing smile and those beautiful eyes peering up at me as my child nurses.