It’s important to love yourself first even after welcoming a new baby. You might be thinking I’m totally crazy for saying it but trust me, you need to love yourself first before you can love your growing family.
I’m a mom of two with a third on the way and can honestly say that becoming a mom has been the ‘biggest’ self-development journey of my life. Every day I have to consciously make the choice to put ‘me’ first, tell myself that I am enough and that every decision I have made for myself, family and life was the ‘right’ one when I made it. I have also learned there is no one way of doing something and what worked yesterday, may not work today or ever again.
With Baby #3 on the way, I’ve realized I need to redesign my breastfeeding/pumping experience with each child. Who would have thought that breastfeeding could be so hard? Not me…it’s supposed to be natural – the baby just latches on and away you go…right? No. That wasn’t my experience.
As a first time mom, I was so excited to breastfeed; I set a personal goal of breastfeeding for one year. Needless to say, I quickly learned that what I thought was going to happen and what actually happened were vastly different. With M, I ended up with two infections (mastitis and yeast), bleeding/scabbed nipples and a lovely trip to the ER. My treatment included ice packs and warm compresses (one to stop the swelling and the other to loosen-up the blocked milk ducts). Eventually, it was time to go home but I wasn’t going home alone, this time I went home with a hospital grade breast pump – my new BFF for the next 10.5 months. I made the choice to continue to breastfeed and my new BFF (aka hospital grade breast pump) enabled me to do it. For the first 6 months I pumped exclusively 8-10 times a day…and then it was time to return to work. My new schedule included pumping 6 times a day on top of my full-time job. My role required a lot of travel, which meant it was time to invest in a pump that was easy to take with me on work trips. Together we began a journey…finding places to pump on-the-go (airports, the backseat of cars, store offices, coffee shops, yoga studios, etc.). Looking back, it’s a total blur…I remember certain moments that make me laugh and then there are other moments where I can still feel my toes curl and tears start to form because of how painful the whole breastfeeding and pumping experience was at times. I had to throw out what I ‘imagined’ breastfeeding was going to be and embrace what it was for me.
The first thing out of my mouth in the delivery room was, “I need to see a lactation consultant now!” My previous experience with M came rushing back to me and I could feel the fear creeping in… “Could I go down the same road again? Was I strong enough to pump for the next 10.5 months?” In that moment, I was holding a beautiful baby in my arms and I already felt myself doubting my abilities as a ‘new’ mom. Thankfully, I saw a lactation consultant within 6 hours after my request and she left me with a few words of wisdom… “No two babies are alike…you need to let go of the past…whatever happens, happens…you are a great mom.” I couldn’t help but shed a few tears after she left, then shared my commitment with Baby Q and began a new journey with her. This time around, I exclusively breastfed for 6 months (using a travel pump when needed)…Q loved my ‘boobs’ so much she became attached! I ended leaving my job and staying home full-time and at 15 months ‘I’ made the choice to stop breastfeeding – Q would have kept going well into her teenage years.
Here I am, pregnant with Baby #3, already a mom to two independent and beautiful girls. The only thing I know for certain, is I will be a ‘new’ mom for the third time and this experience will be its own.