Sunday, December 1

Dear Me (The soon to be second time breastfeeding mum who thinks she has it all sorted)...

So you think you have this all worked out do you? 

This being a mum and breastfeeding and what not, is walk in the park is it? 

Don't understand why some people go on about it being hard work and hurting?

Living with a warm and fuzzy memory of being a breastfeeding guru on account of such a text book and perfect experience the first time around are you?

Well sorry to be the one to break it to you sweetheart but all will not be as expected and you will quickly be reminded of the fact that no two babies or breastfeeding journeys, are ever exactly the same.

Oh and yes, breastfeeding is actually a learned experience, one that each baby must learn, regardless of how much mum may think she actually knows. And on that note regardless of how much that mum does know nine times out of ten there is still more that she doesn't know.

Sure you may have managed to blitz through the whole breastfeeding thing the first time round with Lovely being a total booby fiend and suckling like there was no tomorrow the instant a nipple was anywhere near her little mouth, but that doesn't mean this next one is going to be like that. Especially since Lovely was just a natural sucker, given how much she loved her thumb and all. 

Mother with newborn babe at her breast

This next little baby will test and try your breastfeeding love in ways you could never imagine. Those first few days where you are still in that total new mum haze might seem blissful, enjoy them while you can, because once your milk comes in things will change in ways you never imagined. In those first few weeks months, your new little bundle of joy will enlighten you to the pain, trouble and difficulty that you have heard others speak of. The pain, trouble and difficulty, that somehow you managed to escape the first time round. (Or perhaps remove from memory? Five years is long time between drinks) 

Thankfully though due to some determination, magic cream and the wonders of time it will change and you will reinstate the belief that breastfeeding is pure bliss. The burning electricity that runs through your breast during those first few sucks will eventually start to fade. The cracks will start to heal and slowly but surely feeding your baby will be just as picturesque as it should be. Only now you will have greater compassion and understanding for the many women who don't find it as natural as the postcards make it to be.

You will slowly evolve into an experienced feeder who will be able to do all manner of activities while baby is attached. You will learn the wonders of feeding and laying down at the same time, something that somehow you never thought of the first time round. You still won't bother too much at all about expressing and putting into bottles so Dad or Big Sister can have a turn but with hindsight there will be a part of you that wishes you did. Mind you that hindsight won't kick in until well after you have finished breastfeeding and baby making.

You will also go on to feed babies for a total that exceeds seven years. Each baby staying on the boob for around two and half years. The third time round you will enter the journey more prepared than ever before. A good balance of reality and optimism in your hand. As well as magic nipple toughening cream to lessen the damage of those almost inevitable cracks.

You will also feel rather special when an Online Breastfeeding Cafe set up by the Australian Breastfeeding Association asks you to write a letter to yourself as part of a Dear Me Campaign they are running to help women who may be feeling ambivalent about breastfeeding and encourage them to share, discover and chat about breastfeeding via a supportive online forum and resource centre. They also have a wonderful Online Breastfeeding Cafe's Facebook page to help such discussion.

Love Me.

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