One of the things we talk about here at the LMLD virtual kitchen table is babies!
I have the urge right now to say a couple more things* about nursing babies. (You know why it’s on my mind.)
Before we can even discuss this lively issue, we have to touch on the reality of how you are feeling after you have the baby. So today’s post could be called “the reasonable postpartum time” and tomorrow I will get to those nursing thoughts. (Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten the wedding posts. We’ll resume shortly with those!)
Now, Kate Middleton apparently feels so great after having a baby that she can put on Barbie-worthy high heels, stand with fabulous posture for the length of an entire royal photo-op holding her baby with no more support than the lightest touch of her husband’s fingertips under her well toned arm, wear a fabulously light dress, and not be seen with any knitting of her perfectly shaped brows.
We have two theories about Kate. (By we I mean Sukie but I
am obsessed have turned this over in my mind quite a bit as well.)
1. She actually had the baby a week before. (It occurred to Sukie when little George was born. It wouldn’t have entered my mind, but this time around I’m very conspiracy-minded.) I can barely imagine looking that good after a week. Barely. It’s possible. (Not for me — but for her.) The baby herself looks at least four weeks old in the photos I saw, but let’s posit a vast plot to hide the actual birth for a mere week to give them the chance to toddle out there. I still call a substantial load of manure on the heels. I guess you’d run into issues with birth certificates and such — I mean, the baby will have this putative birthday, but surely someone will cast a probing eye on the documentation.
But Sukie points out that it’s hardly worth being a Royal if you can’t fudge something like a birth certificate.
2. She really is superhuman. The evidence in support of this theory is, well, everything. Her hair. Her glowing skin. Her preternaturally elongated body, so suitable for displaying form-fitting fashions. Her wildly inappropriate footwear choices for traipsing over lea and brea in New Zealand or Scotland, emerging later not looking like she is going to brain someone with the business end of a stiletto’d pump. As we would do.
Either way, can we forget Kate? Let’s just put her out of our minds.
Also, let’s put far from us that friend we all have who ran a road-race three days after the baby arrived. She shouldn’t have done it. Not that she couldn’t (she obviously could), but that it wasn’t good for all the rest of the ladies that she did.
Like Mario Andretti observing speed limits, her aim should have been to serve the common good. And that means not running that race just then — or for us to banish her from our minds if she did.
In order to get a good start with this baby, you need to assume that you won’t be running any races in high heels and that you will be wearing your maternity clothes for six weeks. And that each and every thing you wear will be nursing-friendly. Everything. Yes, even the pretty outfit you wear to the baptism.
Pro-tip re: clothing postpartum: Assume your wardrobe will go in reverse order from your pregnancy. You don’t have ever to look at those things you wore in the last four weeks, thankfully, other than the next time you procreate.
Isn’t it terrible how little fits at the end there? When you are seven months pregnant you think “Okay, this will be okay, I’ve got this, my belly isn’t crazy big.” But no. Unless you are over 5’6″ — which of course Kate is (if you really want to torture yourself you can wikipedia her body measurements) — No. By 36 weeks your belly will be outrageous and your clothes will be a) nonexistent or b) somewhat absurd.
But you will need your maternity things from just before the extreme belly days after the baby comes. And, if you are just pregnant now, it’s worth it to try to find loose clothing that opens in front. Because you will need loose things to nurse in.
What I want to tell you here, across from you at the kitchen table, is this:
Postpartum does NOT mean “the day after you have the baby.” It means “one week after,” “six weeks after,” and also “six months after.” Those are your milestones. When you are in sight of one, re-adjust and think of the next. Keep moving that target out.
At 18 years postpartum, I’m willing to let go of some of my expectations.
Well before you hit that six-week mark with baby (still postpartum, remember), you will find that you can dip into your looser things that you wore earlier in pregnancy, and then one day (not soon; again, because not Kate) you will be wearing normal clothing again.
Two points (ignore if your initials are KM, Duchess of Cambridge):
1. You will almost certainly never wear your skinniest things again — not because you are fat, but because your actual bones have moved further apart, as we like to put it, and
2. If the season has changed, this all becomes more complicated, but still.
Think maternity/loose, not skinny/tight — for sanity’s sake.
Far better to discover that your maternity pants are falling down — yay! than that your skinny jeans are still too skinny — boo.
In general, make it easy on yourself to postpone any reckoning of bodily changes by what you are wearing and what you choose to do, physically speaking.
So now you are coming home from the hospital in your fairly attractive, loose clothing, with easy access for nursing. You can sit up for a bit if you want, but what Auntie Leila really wants you to do is… go right to bed or at least lie down on the sofa. Later you can sit up. You will know it’s time when you really want to sit up! And likewise, you will know it’s time to move around when you can’t stay put any longer. I am hoping that some of your lovely friends have set up a meal train for you…
If they haven’t, struggle through as best you can and resolve to start a St. Greg’s Pocket as soon as you are able, with dinners for all your friends. You will see, your turn will come. Until then, muddle through somehow and accept any help you are offered.
Does it make you anxious to think this way? Can you examine why? Do you not like the thought of needing and accepting help, of resting, of letting things go? Can you know that it’s for a good reason, that is, getting a good start with the baby, which is what we will talk about tomorrow — and that I will bet you that even KM, D of C, went home and rested, out of the camera’s eye?
Here is a little note for your husband: Make sure your wife is rested. Read tomorrow’s post. Tell her she’s beautiful. Figure out what is for dinner and give it to her on a tray in bed. Very soon she’ll be up and about. For now, help her let go of her anxieties.
Tomorrow: What I really want to tell you about nursing the new baby.
*You should nurse your baby. You should breastfeed your baby if you can, and I think you almost certainly can. Maybe you really can’t breastfeed. But every mother can nurse her baby. That means cuddle, hold, and in general understand that nursing the baby isn’t reducible to a delivery system for nutrition — rather, the milk is a vehicle, if you will, for getting to know and love your baby. It also happens to make him grow.
I’ve already posted a bunch on this topic. You can go read or re-read the posts for some nitty-gritty details (and lots of the comments are greatly informative as well). But the key learning here is this: Hold your baby and nurse him. If you are feeding with a bottle, make up your mind that you — and only you as much as is humanly possible — will feed your baby in your very own arms.