In this house currently, we are preparing for our second baby. One of the things that our two year old has become really interested in is looking at photographs of himself when he was born. It turns out my husband took more photos than I realized of me during labour and in the few days following A’s birth, and A is absolutely fascinated by it, “See the photo of mummy laughing in hospital.” (Not quite how I remember it son but…)
Anyway, we were going through these pictures, and I came across a photo of me breastfeeding A for the first time. My original hope had been that this would be almost immediately after the birth, but due to some complications, this wasn’t meant to be. The first time I was able to feed A was around 36 hours later, once he had been discharged from the NICU. When I think back to that time, I don’t remember it being a wonderful experience. I was crying, he was crying and I so desperately wanted to be able to do it properly but felt like I couldn’t. I felt like I was getting it all wrong. It’s such a natural thing to do and yet at the time it just felt so very difficult.
But as we looked at the photograph yesterday, that is not what I saw at all. I saw a mother lovingly feeding a baby whose tiny hands and arms grasped exactly what it wanted and needed. Even writing this now, my eyes are prickling with tears.
I do so hope that I will be able to breastfeed my next child. I was lucky and able to enjoy breastfeeding A for the first 14 months of his life and I hope to repeat that second time around. If things get difficult, particularly at the start, I am going to remember that photograph and how it made me feel yesterday and today.