Long time no write! Turns out ye olde “babies sleep 20 hours a day, you’ll have so much time” is mostly spoken by dads who have no idea how much work a baby actually is. (And no, they do NOT sleep that long. Alas, when they do sleep, there’s all the pumping, sterilizing, or showering to do.
So, for all the new expecting mums out there, here’s what I learned from my first two months with my beautiful baby boy.
Breastfeeding doesn’t define you.
Once my pediatrician advised us to introduce formula as well, since my baby wasn’t gaining enough weight on breast milk alone, I felt miserable and guilty of not doing enough. I did do it, of course, and he was progressing better within a single week – but I would see all these moms in various forums adding “exclusively breastfeeding” to every sentence, even if it wasn’t related to the topic.
They are so proud of it – and they’re allowed to be! – but it made me feel like a failure for not being able to do that. It was only recently that I got over it.
It’s what you can purposely do for your child, not what nature does, that defines you as a mother.
If you’re struggling as well but want to give exclusive breastfeeding a go, here’s some advice on improving your milk supply.
It can get tough.
Between the lack of sleep, crying, and colic, I felt at times as if I made a mistake having a baby. His conception was planned and he is very, very loved, but all the tiredness will have you thinking stuff like that.
I also have enormous respect for moms fighting postpartum depression/anxiety – at times I was crying uncontrollably and thinking all sorts of stuff, and I didn’t even have an actual medical condition. Battling that plus raising a baby is hard as hell.
Bottom line is: thinking horrible stuff is normal, so long as you know they’re just thoughts.
That first smile changes everything.
It gets tough, but once the milestones like smiling kick in (at around 6 weeks no less), it makes everything so much more enjoyable and worth it. Plus, after that, every day’s a new adventure. They’ll start raising their head, cooing, grabbing stuff… it’ll never be boring again!
A good diet and time to relax are essential.
During the first few weeks, I barely ate, which for sure affected my milk supply. A 10 minute shower once every 3 days is what constituted relaxation. But as time went by, I started eating healthier and more often, and made it a point to relax every day, be it through yoga, a hot bath, a chapter of a book, capuccino… It improved my life, my relationships, my mental health, and my physical health as well. Speaking of…
Baby weight is normal.
You built it up for 9 months, you can’t take it down for a few weeks. That being said, it will take some serious work in terms of diet and exercise. I started exercising lightly maybe 10 days after giving birth, and more seriously as soon as I stopped peeing every time I jumped. I try not to miss a day – whether it’s mommy pooch exercises, yoga, langlauf, or just a walk. But if I just don’t have the time or the energy, I don’t beat myself up.
Bottom line here is, to lose weight but not lose your milk, you need to give it time, but you also need to focus on healthy eating and exercise rather than strict dieting.