Sunday, May 31, 2009

Exhausted With a Newborn? Sounds About Right

Q: I have been breastfeeding my newborn since he was born 8 days ago. I am exhausted, and am not sure how I can go out in public, or have people over. Is it okay to pump for those types of occasions so early? Do I need to wait 3 weeks? I do not want the baby to like the bottle better than me, so that is why I am worried.

A: Congrats on your baby boy, and to you for going through the marathon of pregnancy and delivery. However your baby was born, you are recovering from a not-small event. Your body is going through huge changes, and dealing with the demands of a being that's totally dependent on you. Bottlefeeding won't actually change that (darnit!) :). I have four kids, and it's ALWAYS a shock how relentless the demands of the first months are.

Do you know how to nurse lying down? Since nursing at the beginning is pretty much what you do all day and night, get youself in a position to be half-asleep while doing it. Remember that your baby is heading into his 10-day growth spurt, and will be at the breast even more in order to build up your supply.

As for nursing in front of people, they're the ones who are at the home of a newborn, so it won't be shocking. I hate nursing covers with a passion (it looks like you accidentaly tucked in a tablecloth) and they're unnecessary. You don't even need nursing clothes. Just practice, which is hard to get in 8 days. Check out my blog for info on how to do it discreetly.

As for the pumping, until your body adjusts its supply at around 6 weeks, it's just adding more work to your already tiring day! And it's not any where as effeicient as baby. If you're lucky enough to have great household help or a hands-on, not-at-work hubby (which is the only way that considering pumping would save you time), have them make you food, buy you new clothes and otherwise pamper you like the princess you are. While you eat, nurse and watch tv or read. You're still a little bit pregnant, so be easy on yourself!

You are doing the best thing for your baby -- but almost more importantly, for you as well! Those hormones will help your mood, the contractions are making your uterus smaller, and the convenience (trust me) can't be beat. You need to talk to someone who's been in your boat, not just all your well-meaning friends and family who are visiting in their gloriously unattached, dressed-and-made-up states. Find a LaLeche League meeting or check out the Pump Station's support groups (in LA) and go.

Good luck -- you're the best parent for your child.

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