Lesson in First Time Motherhood #3 Daddy’s are Important!

20140729-095015.jpgI am very fortunate. I not only have a husband, I have the best husband on the planet. I know a few single mothers. Some the dad’s are in the picture and some the dad’s are not. I am amazed by these women. I lean on my husband A LOT. There is no way I could do this parenting thing without him. I’m eternally grateful to have such a wonderful supporter and partner. He works tirelessly to make sure that Mo and I have everything we need. For you single mothers out there, I applaud you and I marvel at your abilities. I’m not sure I could do what you are doing for your kids. For those of you ladies that do have Daddy on board, this one’s for you.

You are a team regardless of who has chosen to take care of the kid’s full time or if you are planning to have childcare a part of your day, you are a team. Daddy’s job started right when she came out of the womb. Since I had a C-section Daddy was in charge of all diaper changes, helping me to the bathroom, passing the baby to me when it was time to eat, walking and bouncing baby to sleep, etc. He was very busy as I was not able to move much and I was taking some pretty powerful painkillers. It was also Daddy’s job to watch Mommy closely so if I fell asleep while holding baby he could come in and put her in a safe place. There were many times I fell asleep mid feeding and he was there to make sure that both mommy and baby were safe. His job was never ending.

We had many challenges with breast feeding and continue to have challenges. My husband’s job in the beginning was to put together and then wash my pumping supplies for every feeding until I could muster up enough energy to get out of bed and do it myself. I can honestly say with all of my heart and without a doubt, I would not be breast feeding my child if it wasn’t for the constant support I received from my husband. Now that our daughter is 8 months old his job is still going. She is not the best eater so I pump frequently and regularly which means that a lot of the housework and cooking falls on my husband because I’m busy being hooked up to the “mechanical parasite” (as my husband calls the breast pump). He is not happy about this but he does it because he loves us.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Daddy’s are important!

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Lessons in First Time Motherhood: Lesson #1 Breast Feeding is HARD!

I was asked “What is the most difficult part of being a mom so far?” Breastfeeding. Hands down. No arguments. My husband agrees with me and he’s not even the one doing it!
Breast feeding was one of my non-negotiables going into parenthood. I planned to be a stay at home mom which means that my role changed from making money to conserving it. It was and is important for me to keep my milk flowing to conserve finances. Formula isn’t cheap!
Before I gave birth I spent countless hours watching You Tube videos, reading online forums and asking questions to my lovely sisters about breast feeding. I’m so very glad that I did. You can ask my sisters, I asked and continue to ask A LOT of questions about breast feeding and quite frankly I’m still not an expert.

The #1 lesson I’ve learned is: Breast feeding is something a Mom and dad have to be proactive about. (yes I said dad too) There is a small window of time where you can fool your body into thinking your baby needs more milk than it does. I found this little supply and demand trick extremely useful as I had to give Moriah a bottle to supplement her feeding because she had a hard time latching on for the first few weeks of her life. When she was first born I never gave her formula. I stocked my freezer full because you never know what could happen. And if you’re planning on going back to work after you have a baby and want to give your baby breast milk you REALLY need to be proactive!
My little bits of advice for first time mom’s is buy all the supplies. Get it all. I had a Brest Friend AND a boppy and I used them both. I had wonderful sisters who stocked me full of things I didn’t even know what they were and it was so wonderful to open up my drawer and see everything that I needed just waiting for me. I had no idea what a nipple shield was, or storage bags, or covers, or pads, the list goes on. I have used every single bit of it. True, I used a majority of it in the first 3 months of her life but I used it all. In my opinion, breast feeding supplies are not where you want to conserve your baby budget.

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Daddy: the champion bottle feeder.

Another lesson I’ve learned in this new motherhood experience is: Daddy’s are a big deal. I never thought I would have needed so much help from my husband and I’m very thankful for my husband’s servant heart. I would never have succeeded in breast feeding if it weren’t for his constant support and encouragement. I really thought when it came to breast feeding the responsibility would fall completely on my shoulders and I couldn’t have been more wrong. He was right there with me. While I held our upset hungry daughter he was right here to keep my frustration at a minimum. The lactation nurse taught him how to put together the breast pumping equipment and how to clean it while we were still in the hospital. She also taught him how to suck up the colostrums that I pumped out into a syringe and then expel it into my breast shield so that Moriah could eat it with little effort on her part. It came to a point where trying to eat was burning too many calories and she was losing weight at a rapid pace and needed to be bottle fed. Bottle feeding was his responsibility as I was again, hooked up to the mechanical parasite (aka breast pump).

Another shock: babies lose weight after they are born. I didn’t know that, but it makes sense as they are learning how to eat. One of the nurses on the night shift felt my pain as I struggled to feed my baby and went to get me a breast shield and I’m so thankful that she did. Most mothers don’t even know what a breast shield is and that’s a good thing. It’s really a last resort type of thing, and that’s because you will have to re-teach your baby how to breast feed if you use it as regularly as I had too. Moriah was small, had a shallow gag reflex, and wasn’t born through the vaginal canal. All things that were stacked against us, thankfully she was never jaundice. That was really the only thing working for us. That was truly a miracle.

Despite all that was mentioned above one bit of advice I got was spot on. It’s totally worth it! I was going to breast feed her if it killed me (and I think it almost has several times, but that may be another post). There’s nothing like the bonding time you get with your child. It’s a little piece of heaven on earth when your little one stops feeding, looks up at you and smiles as milk drips down both sides of her face. It’s like she’s saying “Oh wow, my mommy is so pretty and I love her so much.” After 3 visits to lactation consultants after we left the hospital and two visits to the chiropractor to give Moriah adjustments to get her to have the sucking reflex. She’s now 8 months old and breastfeeding. She’s distracted, but that’s because she’s 8 months old. Breast feeding is messy, painful, frustrating and can be incredibly difficult but I still maintain that it’s totally worth every hurdle you may face. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to drinking my Mothers Milk tea.

 

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Milk Coma’s are so adorable.