I can hardly believe I’ve been at this breastfeeding thing for over 3 years now. Two babies have been nourished by me, not counting the babies we have donated our oversupply to. 

Nursing my own babies has been the single hardest thing to learn, which says a lot because I have always been academically inclined. I could read a thing or see a thing done once and master it so easily. Here’s what I learned on my breastfeeding journey:

Tayé K's adorable little one

Your New Little One Might Nurse Differently than the Last

All the reading and studying and researching in the world couldn’t prepare me for nursing my third child, my Tiger Lily. Her latch was long fought and hard won. She never had the voracious appetite of her brother and to this day still likes smaller portions. She also prefers to have a bottle during the day–her nanobébé!–whereas her brother preferred nursing all the time. She has been my little different flower. She has been my learning curve! 

Note: I use the word nursing because it is more involved than just providing milk. I am nurturing her along with feeding her. This is more than just food, for either of us. 

Don't Get Frustrated if the Bond isn't Immediate

She came bursting into the world after a rough pregnancy and a painful delivery–but she has been perfect ever since. She has kept me on my toes and despite my battle with postpartum anxiety and depression, she remains my little ray of sunshine. 

The bond with Tiger Lily was not instantaneous. I have loved her since I saw those two lines on that test stick, but bonding didn’t occur as immediately as I expected. 

…until her fourth feeding on her third day. She was a sleepy baby, so she literally slept every moment that she wasn’t eating. After that first hour we didn’t see those pretty eyes anymore for almost a full day! She would wake, root around for me, and scream if I wasn’t nearby enough to feed her immediately. I loved admiring her little starfish hands and impossibly tiny toes, but I may as well have been admiring a stranger’s baby because the connection seemed lost. I adored her, but it didnt click that she was all ours.  

Somewhere around her fourth feeding on her third day, I had a full “come apart.” I was sleepy, I was in pain, and this new little stranger in my bed didn’t even seem to notice I was her mom. I was in tears because I wanted that diaper commercial bond, that tender moment in the rocking chair with baby lovingly gazing at me as she nursed. I wanted that “aha” moment! 

Sorry to disappoint you–she still did not gaze loving at me.  

What happened was, I dried my face and fed her. While she didn’t gaze up lovingly, or at all really, the relief on her little face when she had her familiar again, my scent and my milk, I realized this was really what it was about. 

Our Reality

We were never promised a diaper commercial moment. Diaper commercial moments aren’t even real. The actors are paid well to create those. 

In that moment I realized that Tiger Lily was a brand new person. While I couldn’t force that diaper commercial moment, I could cut us both some slack and let things progress naturally. We were both new to this, and meeting for the first time. We had to learn to trust each other! 

We didn’t have perfect lighting and we didn’t have the perfect set–but we had each other. And we had time! 

We had our nursing sessions. 

We bonded in that exact moment because I put aside the expectations and just focused on giving what I had… 

…which happened to be precisely what she needed. She didn’t require fancy gadgets or designer crib sets. She didn’t need the fancy blankets and onesies. 

She needed her mommy, her warmth, and her milk. 

The bond with Tiger Lily was not instantaneous. I have loved her since I saw those two lines on that test stick, but bonding didn’t occur as immediately as I expected. 

…until her fourth feeding on her third day. She was a sleepy baby, so she literally slept every moment that she wasn’t eating. After that first hour we didn’t see those pretty eyes anymore for almost a full day! She would wake, root around for me, and scream if I wasn’t nearby enough to feed her immediately. I loved admiring her little starfish hands and impossibly tiny toes, but I may as well have been admiring a stranger’s baby because the connection seemed lost. I adored her, but it didnt click that she was all ours.  

Put Aside Expectations. Nursing is a Process.

That has been the defining moment for me with her. It gave me an ongoing courage to put aside my expectations for breastfeeding and focus on the present. 

It still wasnt instant and it wasn’t the diaper commercial moment–but that bond developed and strengthened, and my Tiger Lily and I are quite the duo now. We have been successfully nursing, and I know without a doubt that has helped cement our bond. 

My confidence in breastfeeding her was cemented that day. Even as we segued into more pumping than latching (she still has a poor latch–she has a growth restriction and as a result, a tiny mouth and shallow latch), I have learned to trust her and provide what she needs. Sometimes it’s snuggles and direct nursing, sometimes it is those same snuggles and her nanobébé bottle. As much as I thought I knew, I learned the most important lesson of all from a 3-day-old newborn: 

Nursing is a dance we are born to do, but we still have to learn the steps. 

*Nanobébé is thrilled to welcome guest bloggers. The views and opinions represented in these blog posts belong solely to the guest blogger and are not the legal responsibility of the company. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by the guest blogger and will not be held liable for any errors or omissions of information nor for the availability of this information. 

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