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From a biological perspective, a mother’s instincts and her baby’s responses are naturally designed for breast-feeding. Sometimes it might feel unnatural — at least right away. New moms may experience soreness and difficulty getting the baby to latch correctly to the breast. They may worry about the baby getting enough milk and if they are making enough. These concerns may cause frustration for anyone, especially a sleep-deprived, new mom. But if a baby could tell mom anything to make it all go smoother, what would it be?
A baby’s perspective
“The first drops of milk you make are all I need to start my body growing. The colostrum contains directions, amazing nutrition and protection to last a lifetime.
Don’t worry about making enough milk for me. If you hold me so close our skin touches and have patience with how often I have to practice finding my place, I can actually help tell you how much food I need.
My tummy is my happy place. It takes a few weeks for me to stretch out and unfold. On my tummy, on your body, is the best place for that to happen. Our hormones rise, more milk is made, I learn to feed even better and we are both happier.
Making milk is your superpower. The five different sugars in breast milk protect my tummy from germs, keep all of me healthy and even tell my brain to grow. No one else makes food that is just right for me.
You can get tired learning something new. We both need to rest a lot, and in order to have energy to make milk, you need to eat too. Supportive relationships give you energy too, so introduce me to your family, and take time to share your new adventure with your friends.
So, keep me close, feed me your milk often, let me practice until I find the right place to nurse comfortably for both of us and trust me to order up the right amount of milk as our eyes meet while you watch me grow.”
Anne Beckman is a registered nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, Minnesota. She specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding and is a founding member of the Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties Breastfeeding Coalition.