I like helping people. It makes me feel really good. My mom talked to me yesterday and said that my sister-in-law (my brother's wife), who just had a baby on Saturday (my new little niece!) was having some struggles with breastfeeding and she could probably use some encouragement and help from me. Of course, I jumped up to the challenge. I used my knowledge base to find out what I could say/do to best help her, I grabbed my "breastfeeding Bible", The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and we headed over to my mom's house. My mom was providing good eats anyway.
I gave her just a few helpful tips. She had been to the lactation consultants at the clinic the previous day, and the baby had lost a pound. Now, almost all babies will lose some weight in the beginning. This is normal. I told her this. I also told her that she was doing a very good job and to look at output (that is wet and dirty diapers) to guage how much the baby is taking in. Her output was great. She stated this biggest thing was having problems with her taking both sides. I simply suggested she use the cross cradle hold when feeding her on the left side -- that way, the baby would feel like she is laying the same way. My sister-in-law said, "oh, that makes sense". I gave her some tips on how to keep her newborn awake during the feedings. I suggested she strip her down and use some baby wipes on her back, and also, taught her about breast compression. I am going to lend her my pump so that she can use it in lieu of the rental she has now.
I told her that at this age, a baby's stomach is the size of a marble -- seriously, it's true -- a marble, and that because of this, it's normal for her to want to feed every hour or two, and that eventually, it would slow down, but to feed on demand.
Pretty soon, it was time for little Olivia to eat. My sister-in-law is so lucky to have my brother -- he encourages her and supports her and is there helping her every step of the way. When they came out of the room, they said it was the best feeding she had had thus far and that those little tips I had went a long way. She took both sides and ate well. I got tears in my eyes when she told me this, and my heart swelled.
It's times like this that make me feel so blessed. I enjoy helping others, especially with something as important as this. Those first two weeks are the hardest: Baby is learning; Mom is learning -- everything is new -- and I think it's vital to have a good support network -- someone who can help you get through those early days. I'm just a phone call away. Earlier in the week, my poor sister-in-law had been in tears, not knowing if she was doing everything right or if everything was going to be okay. I think she just needed to hear that she was doing everything right and that it was all going to be okay, and that it's normal to have some struggles in the beginning.
I feel this is my calling. And even if I can't do it professionally (yet), my ultimate dream is to someday be a postpartum nurse/lactation consultant. I want to help new moms and all new babies get a good start in life. Sometimes you don't know what one little thing you say or do can do to impact someone's life in a positive way, forever. ♥