On Sunday, I finally got my act together to go back to B.A.B.Y. Program. Led by an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), Irene, this support group for nursing mothers meets three times per week at Yale-New Haven Hospital, St. Raphael’s Campus. (Learn more about my experience at this program.)
As a working mom, I find my weekends easily become packed with things to do, people to see, homework (I’m currently taking a course at Quinnipiac University), and making sure we have some quality time as a family. This makes it very hard to commit to anything on a regular basis. For months I had been meaning to go back to group.
B.A.B.Y. Program was where I first really believed that we might be able to find success with breastfeeding. In the beginning, I was in pain and Leo wouldn’t latch. I was not making much by pumping, it was exceptionally hard to fit the pumping in while caring for a newborn, and we were supplementing with formula. Going to group and having women tell me that it would get easier and we could make it helped me a lot.
Once I went back to work, I was sad to miss out on the weekday sessions, and the Sunday session was nearly impossible to fit in (see above). Plus, we had finally figured out a great breastfeeding routine. I still periodically texted Irene with questions, but we were really off and running on our own.
But, I was determined that this would be the weekend I would go back. I wanted the chance to catch up with Irene and see some of the new babies in anticipation of starting this blog. So I planned my whole weekend around it.
When we walked in, my first reaction was disappointment that Irene wasn’t there. A wonderful woman named Heather was filling in. But, even without my friend, there were still two great things: new mothers and new babies!
Having my 17-month-old son walking around the room, playing with his toy car and jabbering about the babies, was surreal. I had forgotten just how little he was when we had first started coming.
Watching the mommies delicately handle their little ones who could barely hold their own heads put me in awe. Babies are amazing. And they grow.
When Leo and I would attend group, we would struggle to maintain a good latch. I awkwardly fumbled to hold him in place, not knowing how to position my arms and his body. He would slip off constantly due to him being so small and my breasts getting slippery from leaking milk and sweat (he was like a little furnace and I was very stressed).
But this time, when he did nurse for a few minutes, he sat in my lap, calmly latched himself and played with my necklace and looked around the room eagerly as I talked with another mom.
It was wonderful to have the chance to reassure other moms that things would work out. It was clear that a couple were overwhelmed with exhaustion and struggling to establish their breastfeeding relationship. I was able to offer some practical advice and also proof that you can overcome obstacles. Hopefully that kind of support and empathy was as reassuring to those mothers as it was to me more than a year ago.
Sometimes I miss Leo’s baby days, but I am so thankful we made it this far.
Who offered you support in the early days? What was some of the best advice you received?