I was lucky to have a book on breastfeeding on loan from the midwives when J happened to be born, and it was awfully handy as a reference during those first few difficult days. My midwives are very well informed on lactation, and the hospital where J was born is “baby friendly”, meaning all the nurses have basic training on feeding babies.

It took till the fourth day after J’s birth for my milk to really come in, and he was pretty dehydrated and down 9.5% of his body weight at that time. He ate pretty much continuously for about 36 hours, and was obviously getting more and more dehydrated, as his wet diapers were increasingly pitiful. I was pretty much convinced he wasn’t getting anything at all and was pretty worried. Z thought I was insane. J finally spat up some colostrum which made me very happy; if he spat something up that meant he was eating something! And then my milk showed up and everything got so much better – immediately, and over the next days.

If we hadn’t had such great information and caregivers, the first few days would have been much harder.  Even though my milk showed up a little later than average, I think our experience was about as stressful as average, because J was a pretty skilled and enthusiastic eater from day 1 and lots of babies aren’t. Thank goodness my kid loves to eat.

J asleep in his favourite spot in the whole world - draped over my boob and using it as a pillow.

We still have ongoing challenges of supply and demand, which I might get into another day (stay tuned for a fascinating potential post about green poop and sleeping on towels) but things are so much better. J is thriving, and I benefit from the inspiration of friends with older babies who breastfeed them effortlessly, often while multitasking. One day, I hope to be able to feed J in the carrier while also doing laundry. But for now, I’m getting to watch a lot of TV, and J is getting nice and plump, and my boobs don’t hurt (much anymore) so all is well.

So come all ye pregnant ladies: take out a book on breastfeeding from the library, read some stuff online, or talk to someone about their experience.  There was about 10 minutes about breastfeeding in my prenatal class, which is not nearly enough. Also, get a spill-proof cup with a built-in straw so you can drink water with one or no hands while nursing a little tiny baby. And maybe some trail mix which you can eat with one or no hands…

That part where you first learn to feed the baby is really hard! Then it gets easier.