The other day I woke to find that one of our beloved cats had gotten into the bag which holds my pump, dragged out the tubing and chewed it all to hell. It was a sad sad morning because Bean was sleeping in for once but I was engorged and had to use the hand pump (for the record, the hand pump is NO FUN).
So that day we made our way over to a local maternity store to pick up some new tubing and, while we were at it, some milk storage bags. While we were buying our stuff, the man behind us asked me "Got any tips on breastfeeding?" I gave him a pretty generic answer, saying something along the lines of "It's a confidence game. Don't give up. Don't supplement with formula."
I wasn't really thinking much of it until he mentioned his son was just 4 days old. Poor guy!! On closer inspection, this man did have the glazed-over shell-shocked look of a brand new parent.
He went on to tell me they had just come home from the hospital the day before, and that his son had been nursing great until the circumcision right before they left the hospital. But, I thought, at 4 days, mom's milk was probably also just coming in and she was probably engorged as hell which is exactly when Bean and I hit our (thankfully short-lived) rough patch.
I gave him new advice, focusing on relieving the engorgement so his son could latch on well, and told him to make an appointment to see a lactation consultant in person as soon as he could. He promised he would, thanked us for our help, and we wished him luck. He fumbled with his purchases and moved up to the counter.
As we left, I thought back to when little Bean was brand new. How frazzled and scared and ecstatic we were. How overwhelmed and overjoyed. We were tired and happy and just trying not to do anything wrong. We were looking up advice, taking her temperature, counting wet diapers and BMs. We were keeping careful track of how long between each feeding, how often, which side. We were going to the doctor and calling the nurses. I was looking at the La Leche League website, reading our parenting books and keeping a close eye on her belly button. We had so many notes.
It made me realize how far we've come in the last (almost) 5 months, just in being able to trust ourselves a lot as parents. Of course we're still reading books and listening to advice and trying to be the best possible parents, but we're not frantic and afraid. We know our baby, and we know how to be the parents we want to be.
Anyway, it's pretty awesome now to look back and to see not only how much Bean has grown, but how much WE have grown.