Remembering Nursing and Witnessing Your Journey Unfold.
With so much information and education available now about “how to breastfeed” and “preparing to breastfeed” in communities and on the web, it can be easy for the mind to create a story about how difficult or complicated nursing a newborn will be. Perhaps that if it is not done properly, or if there is something wrong with the baby or ones body then the nursing relationship will fail.
Depending on what we experience, hear, see, fear - the mind can create a number of stories and beliefs (consciously or otherwise) about what nursing a baby should or shouldn’t be, feel, or look like.
When I was pregnant with my first son I really had never seen anyone breastfeed before (except in my only experience with breastfeeding that I remember, where the person nursed their baby in the coat closet!). I had heard a lot of failed attempt stories, though. In the hospital birth education course I experienced a very mechanical, disconnected demonstration of how to hold a baby to nurse and a bunch of numbers and other rules about how it should be done. So I held the awareness that it would be challenging and that it had to be done in a certain way, and I also held the awareness that all I needed to do was hang in there longer that others i knew had, not give up, and that it would all be OK, I would be successful.
In hindsight, neither of these awarenesses served me or my baby. I can see now, though, that I was very much looking outside of myself for answers. After more education, speaking with people who have nursed several babies, and having a subsequent nursing relationship that went so much smoother than my first experience, here is what I want to share…
You have nursed before, You have been nursed before. It is quite literally available to you in your DNA. It has been handed down to you through your ancestors and to your baby as well. If you believe in past lives, then your soul has experienced this before, and so has your babies soul. Your and your baby are in sync. You have the ability to tap into this ancient wisdom and KNOW how to connect with your body and your baby and surrender to the unfolding of the experience.
At the same time - you have never nursed THIS baby in THIS lifetime before, and your baby has never nursed in this lifetime before, either - you are BOTH learning a new skill, in THESE bodies, at THIS time. Be patient and kind, be curious and present. As adults Licing from the mind we do not give ourselves opportunities to learn many new skills without researching them first. The mind likes to be prepared, to know what do to, how to do it, how often, what it should look like, feel like, be like, and what it shouldnt. The mind wants to control the experience. And that‘s OK! It takes its job of keeping us safe very seriously. We can observe the fears, questions, and desires of the mind, and still allow our FULL experience to unfold.
You are getting to know your baby, and your baby is getting to know you! Remember, no matter how hard the mind thinks or tries to control, prevent, protect - it cannot choose the experience. Only YOU can choose how you show up for the experience.
If you want to know what to expect...
My advice is to not expect anything.
Your baby may nurse a lot, or not.
Your baby may nurse like clockwork, or not.
You may really enjoy it, you may not.
You may be up all night, you may get the best sleep you have ever had.
...You may experince all of these depending on the day!
There has never been any two nursing relationships/babies that are the same. Ever. Everything can be normal. And what is normal for some, may not feel right or normal to you.
Take the prenatal period to uncover the experiences you have had in regards to nursing a baby or being nursed. Write down the beliefs, fears, and questions the mind has. Be aware of what stories might pop up postpartum.
Of course it’s OK to ease the mind by exposing it to information and education about breastfeeding if it feels helpful! Watch videos of people nursing, go to your local breastfeeding meetings. Remind yourself anytime you hear or see something new that it is simply one possibility out If infinite possibilities. There are not any hard and fast rules about anything - and this applies to nursing as well!
And then - start to connect with your baby prenatally; visualize yourself nursing your baby, mesitate on the love you can feel for this baby as it is nuzzled into your breast, feel the gratitude you may have for your body for all it has done and is doing. Talk to your baby about how it may feel about this new experience. Whatever feels right and helpful in your heart - do it! This is strengthening your bond, and strengthening your connection to your internal wisdom.
Set up a supprt system prenatally! People in your life who will support you on your journey, they may be family, friends, or a paid professional. Anyone who believes in you and wants to see you unconditionally thriving.
Yes, its a possibility you may experience challenges when baby gets here - this is not uncommon (like I said, learning or experiencing something new can feel unsettling to the mind - and there are a lot of new experiences that come all at once with a new baby) The first thing to always do is to PAUSE. There is *always* time to pause, take a deep breath (or 7), and reset! Tune into your body and baby and ask what is needed. Are you well nourished? Are you well rested in body AND mind? Are there rigid beliefs or fears popping up? Do you actually need anything, or is the mind overwhelmed? What is going on? Who can support you to get what is needed in this moment? Lovingly and compassionately investigate. Maybe your nervous system is feeling too stressed to be able to tune in and listen....That’s OK too! That’s why you have set up support. CALL THEM!
You have got this!
....and if you ever feel like you don't have this - ...you still got this.....because YOU can call in someone to support you at anytime. (whether its in person, someone over the Internet, or your version of God/Source)