When you first found out that you were first expecting, one of the most exciting tasks that you might have thought about is nursing your new baby. The joy of having baby that close and being able to offer baby the best nutrition possible. They say that when you nurse your baby, this is the time that all of the really close bonding takes place between mom and baby. But what does that mean if you can’t nurse baby?
Unfortunately, not all moms are able to nurse their baby. This can be for a number of reasons, including baby’s preference, poor milk production, or maybe you have had a surgery that has made nursing impossible. This doesn’t mean that you will not be able to bond with baby. This doesn’t mean that you and baby are not going to be as close as you would be if you were able to nurse them. It simply means that you are going to need to do other things that will help you and baby bond.
Speaking from personal experience, I know that not being able to nurse your baby can be one of the most devastating things in the world. At least it was for me. Our latest little addition will be the only baby that I have not been able to nurse. We have two older children; I was able to nurse both of them for six months. It is a wonderful experience, one that I was looking forward to with our new baby. I knew that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t be able to, because after the birth of our son I had to have reduction surgery for medical reasons. While my family doctors, all of them, told me that I should be able to nurse deep inside I had my doubts. You would think then that I would be prepared for it not happening. I wasn’t.
The lactation consultant told me that it was most likely because during my surgery they didn’t make sure that everything was lined back up the right way. I swelled, I am sure that there was milk there, there just wasn’t any way for it to come out. I cried… a lot. I was sad, and worried that my new daughter and I would not have that special bond that I had with my other two children. The lactation consultant told me that I shouldn’t worry. There are a number of things that you can do to make sure that you and baby bond.
First, let me say this. If you are like me and are also considered that your baby is not going to be as protected being formula fed instead of nursed, there are formulas that are as close to breast milk as possible that you can put baby on. Talk to your doctor, or the lactation consultant about what they recommend for you and baby.
Now, to help you and baby bond there is a device that you can wear to simulate breast feeding. I have not tried any of these but I have spoken to women who have and it helped them connect with baby. One of the best suggestions the lactation consultant made to me was that whenever you feed baby, or whenever baby is fussy undress them down to their diaper and lay them on your skin. Make sure that you and baby are skin to skin. This helps support baby’s immune system as well as develops the bond between you and baby. It helped stop my crying as well, to have baby that close and cuddle for awhile. It was and is our little mommy daughter time.
Another recommendation that I have is making sure you and baby have cuddle time. During one nap a day, lay down with baby. You can watch baby sleep, stroke their head or face. After two months, when my daughter is ready to sleep she will turn her face into my hand so that I can run my fingers softly over her face. She is asleep in minutes, it is wonderful. I also hold her a little longer then “normal” once she falls asleep… just so that I have her close to me.
I also rock and sing to her. You can do this when your family is around, but especially when it is just you and baby. Really all you have to do is look for ways to make the most out of all the time you have with baby. You will never get this time back. Housework can wait, dinner can be ordered in or hubby can make it. Make the first year all about baby.