Hi mommy, it’s me! In case you can’t tell by my all my stretching, kicking, and squirming, I am anxious to get out of here! Any day now, I will be in your arms and we will begin our journey together. I know you’re anxious too, not just to meet me, but about so many things. You have probably wondering for many months what it will be like when I’m in your arms, what it will be like to breastfeed me, how to know what to do when I cry, so many things to wonder about. You’ve never been a mother before, and I will be so very new to this “life outside the uterus” experience. I thought I’d let you know by way of reassurance that we are going to be a great team! Your touch, your voice, your smell, your fabulous milk will be my everything. It will be the starting point from which I learn about my world in the comfort I will return to over and over again.
Some things to know about me, and that wonderful milk you’ll be making, might be very reassuring to you. Our Lactation Consultant can go on and on (seriously) about how wonderful your milk is, like how there is 3 million live cells in every teaspoon, how researchers are learning more every day about multipurpose molecules, long and short term immunity, and how your milk changes to meet my needs as I get older. Did you know that your milk even changes throughout the day? In the mornings when I’m really hungry and thirsty (after sleeping for a few hours-more about nighttime sleep in a bit, I promise we’ll get there together), there’ll be so much milk that you’ll feel reeeeally full. It will be loaded with lactose, which is such a delicious carb, tastes like melted ice cream! The lactose reduces unhealthy bacteria and helps me absorb calcium phosphorus and magnesium better.
When I’m just learning how to latch, you’ll probably need to use a lot of physical supports, because at that point I won’t know how to reach or hold onto the breast. We might even try “laid back” nursing together. I love to be in full body contact with you and I can use my newborn reflexes to help maintain a good latch. I promise I will get better and better at this latching thing. It’s hard to believe in the beginning, but later in the year we will learn how to do “aerobic breast-feeding” together, lol. I will be able to latch with one foot up by your ear and one finger in your nose : ) Breastfeeding is really not supposed to be painful. When it is, it’s because my mouth is compressing your nipple. A bad latch doesn’t work for me either because I don’t get as much milk. So please don’t hesitate to call our lactation consultant. She wants more than anything for breastfeeding to go well for both of us. She has many, many interventions, “tricks up her sleeve” and a ton of information to share with you.
One last thing I wanted to talk with you about is sleep. You may feel that I’m nursing 24/7 in our early days together. I actually learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding, and being at your breast honestly meets most all of the needs that I have. I will get more efficient, so much more efficient, that when I’m four months old you might be calling our lactation consultant to ask her if I can really be finished in seven minutes, lol. At the end of the day when I’m tired and crabby, I will want to “cluster feed”. Your milk is lower in volume then but much higher in fat, which is fabulous for my brain development, and soothes my little nervous system much like a bowl of Häagen-Dazs does for yours : ) Those frequent, high fat meals will take me a while to digest and get me ready for that first big chunk of sleep at night, which could be 3-4 hours. Doesn’t that sound fabulous!
I sure do love you, Mommy. I will show it in so many ways, and I can already feel how much you love me.
See you soon,
By Theresa Hardy, MSN, CPNP, IBCLC