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Forget the sleep and bond

December 26, 2011

Since I’m a little out of my personal breastfeeding loop (although that will all change in six months!), a topic has been coming up with most of my clients and new moms I know. The new baby’s eating habits. I think I’ve heard from almost every new mom “this baby eats constantly!” or “there’s no way this baby is still hungry!” especially in the middle of the night.

Two things all parents should know: babies eat. A lot. All the time. In fact they only do three things really, eat, sleep and poop. And 2. The baby will be hungry whenever. It doesn’t know or care that its three o’clock in the morning or 9am and just ate half an hour ago. Babies don’t do schedules. As new parents you should recognize that children will never conform to your schedule. Sure, they can be “trained” but would you like be helpless, completely reliant on someone else and then forced to eat, drink, sleep when that someone else wants you to?

So yes, I tell moms. Babies will eat a lot. All the time. It’s probably one of the biggest challenges for breastfeeding moms. You don’t get a break, your nipples are sore, you just want a moment to yourself and then it’s time again.

The best thing to do is to use that time to bond. Only you can feed your baby like this when it’s hungry. You have an excuse to sit and be still and watch tv (Judge Judy was my preferred show when we had no cable and she came on morning, noon and night. I swear I could have gone to law school after my baby weaned), read a book, make lists for your partner to do, or just stare at the awesomeness that is your baby, nursing.
Arm yourself with a giant bottle of water (those mugs they give in the hospital are perfect and I envy mothers who have them), maybe a snack, your favorite DVDs, the remote (key!), books, paper, pencil, iPad… Whatever should go in your basket of breastfeeding-to-do. Because you will be sitting still for awhile.

Look at this time not as torture or lockdown, staring at everything that needs to be done but as the best kind of break time. Where it’s just you and your baby. Hanging out. And trust me, breastfeeding was not easy for me. I had awful pain, soreness and D-MER ( But getting to the good part, after the latch and let down, it was some of the best, most relaxing, blissful times. You won’t have them forever. Embrace them and love them. Figure that you’ll deal with a few hours less sleep. It’s totally worth it.

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